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Gormenghast

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  1. So, while elsewhere I use to sing praises to Erikson I'm also one of the rare cases of readers thinking Erikson is not good at worldbuilding at all (or at least not specifically remarkable for that). In fact I'm always contrary to ideas such as making an RPG with the setting or some encyclopedia. It just wouldn't work. The problem is Erikson has a terse style of writing and there's very little space left to flashing out all the aspects that correspond to good worldbuilding. I'll probably write more about this when I write my review of The Bonehunters, but the way Erikson strings events and scenes, the fragmentary constant cycling of PoVs, they all lead to a lackluster feeling of a believable, solid, alternative world that continues to exist even when you're not looking. (besides, above I read about "aspects of daily life", in Malazan there's essentially NONE of it) For me Martin excels at that, and he excels specifically because he has a rich style of writing, with flowing descriptions that help sinking in the fictional world and immersion. And because dialogue and characters are so natural, the resulting picture is the most believable out of any other writer I can think of. Besides, Martin obsesses over details. The world and characters continue to exist off the page. The only problem with Martin is that he writes mostly historical fiction that was slightly warped to look like fantasy, so as an exercise in invention and creativity it's fairly poor, and that would be an area where Malazan wins and hits it out of the park. Janny Wurts main series is also excellent. Jordan I guess is another with a rich style of writing, though the overall worldbuilding is fairly questionable. Sanderson does interesting things too, even if a bit "plain" as everything else. Bakker is, I don't know, very limited in scope, but what he does he does exceptionally well. But still, it's not the worldbuilding the reason why you'd read his books.
  2. Gormenghast

    Here's Sanderson's recent update to Stormlight #3

    No particular or personal hate about Gaiman. It happens all the time in comics book world, only that it usually happens with the artists. After they got famous guys like Madrueira, McFarlane or Jim Lee learned to make others do their job and simply enjoyed drawing the occasional cover or concept art. It's a "fandom" type of deal and it happens every time some writer reaches some elevated state. Rothfuss is basically there too. It's just that Gaiman is a perfect example. It took him two full years to release the latest Sandman mini-series. That's 6 issues. For something he probably planned for a long time. The same happened when Whedon was writing X-men, he just couldn't write the scripts on time. The super-stars play by different rules and Sanderson is quickly getting there.
  3. Gormenghast

    Here's Sanderson's recent update to Stormlight #3

    I too don't believe it, but it's a different matter. Between Stormlight 1 and 2 he did write Memory of Light. So he can definitely, and easily, write 1 big book every two years. One Stormlight every 18 months is not plausible, but one every two years is definitely something he can do. But it's not age the threat to his speed. It's popularity. Popularity kills EVERY writer. See Gaiman who now can get away writing a 100 page book in huge print. The more friends he makes, and the more conventions he goes to, the more he learns he can achieve as much by writing a fraction of what he writes now and make others do the work for him. So I can see that trend that already began: see him sidetracked to a number of smaller, low-maintenance side-projects. Like comic-books and the like.
  4. Gormenghast

    Here's Sanderson's recent update to Stormlight #3

    So, Sanderson in 2021 is 45. If Mistborn books can fit within the Stormlight part 2 writing cycle, and he keeps the pacing, then Stormlight is finished around 2032, Sanderson would be 56. Which is still "plausible". That leaves time to write the Hoid book and then the Dragonsteel series, assuming that's some sort of wrap-up. It's a close call and can work only if Sanderson really sticks to the plan. The problem up to this point was that Sanderson decided to plug in multiple new projects instead of sticking to Stormlight. So if he doesn't add more stuff he could still hypothetically match the plan. (Stormlight book 3 is relatively on time, since he could finish the writing relatively early in 2016, and he could already begin writing book four within the same year, if he wanted to. Book 2 was delayed because he still had to write Memory of Light.)
  5. Gormenghast

    Board Issues 4

    Come on, this cannot be reasonable. "Removing all options, make everything bigger" can't be seen as an improvement. One needs to preview and edit a post. It's not possible under this new version. This can't be considered a minor issue. If this is the default of this engine gone nuts I'd advise using some forum engine that is not so broken. They are all better than THIS: XenForo, vBulletin, Simple Machines. If instead it's a configuration thing, PLEASE enable again options, ability to preview posts, and edit them properly.
  6. Gormenghast

    Board Issues 4

    So, is there no more any way to preview a post, or see and edit the code? This forum has become simply unusable. I tried to quote something and ended up with a bunch of blocks created automatically that couldn't be edited in any way. What a mess. Also, all forum layout options are removed.
  7. Gormenghast

    The Books That Have Just Come Out: New Release Thread

    Re: Jemisin I had the book on order since the week before release, but it will only be delivered tomorrow, because in Europe failed to arrive after the US/UK side of the market went out of print very soon. So, I haven't read it, but this is the one book coming out this year that is without a doubt MUST READ, my sixth sense says. Jemisin first trilogy as one omnibus was released a few months ago, and I had it on my wishlist for a while, mostly because I remembered some of Larry "Blog of the fallen" reviews. And I finally bought that a month of so ago. Only read 50 or so pages, but it's good. Good enough to see a writer that is on the right path with enough talent backing it up. I'm reading it with the awareness "it can only get better, and it will", as an appetizer, because I know of this new trilogy coming out. Then I read Neth review about this new trilogy, and especially Jemisin own words. There are a few things that can get my attention and make me click on "buy" button very quickly:   And then I read that a part of the book is written in 2nd person, and for a reason. So, the point is that a writer that was on my radar for a while kicked up the ambition another lever. I only wait for those kinds of things. Something that has ideas, has ambition, takes risks, goes off the beaten path, exploring. The general themes and scope of the book seem amazing, and the reviews I've read confirm it's successful. I could still read it and then be disappointed, but I doubt it.
  8. Gormenghast

    Here's Sanderson's recent update to Stormlight #3

    While it's automatic to think that, or to blame the "editor" for various things, there's no actual proof that the speed of writing of a writer does affect quality. What I mean is that for all we know more tinkering may as well bring worse results. It's one of those arguments where we don't have enough elements to judge, yet we pretend having the solution.
  9. Gormenghast

    K.J. Parker (a.k.a.Tom Holt) - Part II

    Well, then it doesn't convince me as a storytelling medium. Reading something like 47 pages a month for an ongoing story isn't going to be so "satisfying". Could you imagine reading something like ASoIaF that way?
  10. Gormenghast

    K.J. Parker (a.k.a.Tom Holt) - Part II

    Not too convincing. A 150k book is roughly 400 pages, or slightly less. So when all 8 parts are published you have, like, a book of 375 pages with "many viewpoints". That's not enough space for a story where you really have a number of POVs. 300k would look more reasonable to me.
  11. Gormenghast

    K.J. Parker (a.k.a.Tom Holt) - Part II

    Yeah, it's likely a 300k thing, split in two. And then split in four each. So each of the eight is roughly 35k.
  12. Gormenghast

    K.J. Parker (a.k.a.Tom Holt) - Part II

    So that's the Orbit project: http://www.staffersbookreview.com/2014/05/kj-parker-a-glimpse-behind-the-curtain.html And now: How many of these "chunks", because if the whole thing is 8 parts then I doubt it's 150k each. That would be definitely "epic" sized. 1 million words is roughly equal to 2500 pages... Or it might mean that the 150k are split across 8 parts, and so that it goes on?
  13. Gormenghast

    Nobel Literature Prize Speculation 2018 Cancelled

    I tracked two interesting books: Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out The Republic of Wine The first is apparently his best work. 544 pages in English, written entirely in 43 days, by hand (for people who always think it's all about the "editing" and "drafting"). I already ordered that one. The second is coming out for cheap in a couple of weeks. Noteworthy points that drew my attention: "there are three major features in his works: extraordinary characters; language with absurd local flavor (or somewhat black humor of the absurd); and plots with symbolic meaning." "Whatever the subject matter is, a torrential flow of rich, unpredictable and often lacerating words remains his trademark." "Today's most revered, feared, and controversial Chinese novelist offers a tour de force in which the real, the absurd, the comical, and the tragic are blended into a fascinating read." "He flouts literary conformity, spiking his earthy realism with fantasy, hallucination and metafiction." "This "lumbering animal of a story," as he calls it, combines the appeal of a family saga set against tumultuous events with the technical bravura of innovative fiction. Catch a ride on this wheel of transmigration." "use of multiple narrators" "Much of the book is very funny, especially when the narrator is one of the animal reincarnations Of Ximen Nao (he returns as a donkey, an ox, a pig, and a dog) commenting on the foibles of humans and the many reforms of the Mao era." "This book is written masterfully and encompasses a half century with sorrow and wit." "Set in the fictional province of Liquorland, this tall tale begins with a rumor of cannibal feasts featuring children as the delectable main course. In response, Chinese officials send special investigator Ding Gou'er to look into the allegations. He arrives by coal truck at the Mount Lao Coal Mine, where he meets the legendary Diamond Jin, Vice-Minister of the Liquorland Municipal Party Committee Propaganda Bureau, a man known for an epic ability to hold his booze. Almost at once, Ding's worst fears seem to be realized when he is invited to a special dinner, given enough alcohol to stun an ox, and then served what appears to be "a golden, incredibly fragrant little boy." Despite his hosts' explanation that the boy's arms are made of lotus root, his legs of ham sausage, and his head from a silver melon, Ding remains suspicious--until he is rendered so addled by wine that he ends up eating half an arm all on his own." "A lesser novelist might be satisfied with just this one narrative thread; Mo Yan, however, has bigger ambitions. The correspondence between fictional character and author allows Mo Yan to wax satirical on the subject of art, politics, and the troubling point where the two intersect in a Socialist society: "One of the tenets of the communism envisioned by Marx," the hopeful Yidou writes, "was the integration of art with the working people and of the working people with art. So when communism has been realized, everyone will be a novelist."" "only a first-rate artist like Mo Yan could pull off such a subversive and darkly comic metafiction." "he waxes metafictional in this savage, hallucinatory farce." "The novel grows progressively more febrile in tone, with pervasive, striking imagery and wildly imaginative digressions that cumulatively reveal the tremendous scope of his vision."
  14. Gormenghast

    Glen Cooks The Black Company series

    I was thinking that reading Glen Cook after Erikson is like reading Pynchon after David Foster Wallace: you see everything everywhere.
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    Glen Cooks The Black Company series

    Only 2 things I disagree with. The first is that it's not really in medias res. The history of the Company is, but the story offers a neat starting point: the first chapter describes the Company being hired by Soulcatcher. So it works as a good "beginning of story". It's a significant beginning that determines all that follows, while pretty much nothing that "precedes" it comes into play. Gardens of the Moon starts REALLY on the deep end, previous stuff comes into play all the time and the PoV switches all over the place. So it's much, much worse and better deserving the "medias res" flag. In The Black Company the medias res is merely a fabricated illusion. Even LotR beings in medias res if one considers Bilbo and the ring. But it's still a perfect starting point. The other thing is that the bad guys ARE bad. Glen Cook didn't anticipate the trend of grey characters with motivations. He didn't revolutionize the classic paradigm. What he did was using it in a interesting way: the good guys (Black Company) get stuck doing the dirty work for the bad guys. It's a very interesting PoV the one they get stuck in. They are trapped in a bad situation and having pressure on all sides. Much of the first and second book is about them coping with that situation and trying to come out alive. It's characterized by being with the wrong side AND being subordinate and lacking decision power. This is also the part Erikson tried to carry over: the Bridgeburners caught amidst crossfire and trying to get out alive. Which "works" because it comes out the Vietnam war. Soldiers stuck in a war they don't understand and only trying to survive another day. "Good" or "bad" aren't as relevant as what one can do that day. What IS new in this series and that appeals to a modern sensibility is the complete lack of wishful thinking and idealization that one often identifies with the fantasy genre. So the heroes are rather blunt and ugly, and the bad guys can be admirably efficient.
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