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

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Yeah, totally agreed. I read Shadow ages ago and thought it was ok, but a bit confused and nothing special. So, I didn't feel any urge to follow up with his work, but then I read one of his shorts on a whim about five years later and loved it. Then I read The Folding Knife, and most of his shorts, and when I went back to his trilogies I enjoyed them much more and just got them more (though I still have to read the Fencer trilogy).

The Fencer trilogy is interesting.

The first one, Colours in the Steel, was disappointing at first, in no small part to the overload in technical description. But it's still a series that I love (I'm hella biased when it comes to Parker, so yeah). The magic system still eludes me, I don't fully understand it, but everything that went down was awesome. :D

~~

So, let me see if I have this right, so far as upcoming Parker books are concerned: there's the Two of Swords series; Savages; and the Invincible Sun trilogy. Anything else? :o

Edited by garneac

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So, let me see if I have this right, so far as upcoming Parker books are concerned: there's the Two of Swords series; Savages; and the Invincible Sun trilogy. Anything else? :o

There is the novella from tor.com The Last Witness in October.

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There is the novella from tor.com The Last Witness in October.

Thank you!

And I just checked the Parker wiki page and there are some other short stories that I haven't read. What is this. I thought I was on top of my game. :o

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Did Tom Holt (as KJ Parker) actually pretend to be a woman?

Yes, outright. There was an interview somewhere around 2001 (pretty much now scoured from the Internet) where Parker said they had been a tomboy growing up and had preferred playing with toy swords to dolls.

In the interview Holt admits to having lied because he was irritated at people trying to ferret out a secret that the author didn't want revealed (at that time) and deliberately put out some false markers.

Holt admits to being motivated (at least partly) by money. It makes me wonder if the timing of his revelation might be down to the possibility that the Parker books are now outselling the Holts (Parker now seems to be doing well in the USA, where AFAIK Holt has never done very well) and this revelation now may lift up sales of the Holt books.

Edited by Werthead

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Historical: Using Thomas Holt as author name.

The Walled Orchard (1997), which was originally published in two parts as Goatsong (1989) and The Walled Orchard (1990)
Alexander At The World's End (1999)
Olympiad (2000)
Song for Nero (2003)
Meadowland (2005)

Anyone here read his historical fiction ? Any good ?

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Yes, outright. There was an interview somewhere around 2001 (pretty much now scoured from the Internet) where Parker said they had been a tomboy growing up and had preferred playing with toy swords to dolls.

In the interview Holt admits to having lied because he was irritated at people trying to ferret out a secret that the author didn't want revealed (at that time) and deliberately put out some false markers.

Holt admits to being motivated (at least partly) by money. It makes me wonder if the timing of his revelation might be down to the possibility that the Parker books are now outselling the Holts (Parker now seems to be doing well in the USA, where AFAIK Holt has never done very well) and this revelation now may lift up sales of the Holt books.

Yeah, I remember this 'tomboy" interview as well. Do you have a link to Holt admitting that the deception was (at least partly) motivated by cash? Honestly, he and his publisher should get a ton of shit for this--though they probably won't. It just stinks on so many levels.

Edited by Juba

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Not sure it was really 'for the lulz', or certainly not solely so. Using a pseudonym certainly had sound reasons: commercial, creative and to not confuse/mislead his existing fans.



I am not really certain if the decision to imply/say that KJ Parker was female was there from the start. It doesn't seem to be the case. It looks like it was part misdirection, part annoyance at people trying to uncover his real name, part fun, and apparently partly homage to the female authors he preferred/ was inspired by to write epic fantasy.



I think it was only inspired by cash in that it helped him be able to write epic fantasy. So, he could get sales etc. His comments on getting cash/money in the podcast are more about being able to make a living doing something he loves, rather than a cash grab. So, I think it is bit unfair to look at it too suspiciously or untoward. There were good reasons for not using his real name and some sort of reasonable reasons for him suggesting he was female. It was more playing, than misleading really. Most people seemed to enjoy the mystery when I have seen it discussed on forums and blogs.



However, the timing of the reveal is obviously tied in with the marketing for the release for The Two of Swords serial, but I think that is fair enough if he now would like to have a bit more interaction with fans/the community.


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There were good reasons for not using his real name and some sort of reasonable reasons for him suggesting he was female.

Like what? That he and his publishers thought it might make his uber-geek-pendantic-fantasy books more assessable or intriguing, as written by a female?

I guess we can be happy he didn't masquerade as a Black/Hispanic/lesbian with disabilities, then find out he was really an old white English guy.

Edited by Juba

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Making my way slowly through Pattern at the moment. I regret my decision not to make a "What order should I read K.J. Parker in?" thread.


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That he wanted to keep the KJ Parker name anonymous and didn't really want to be figured out. So, supported/suggested he was female as misdirection. In the interview he said it was also homage to the authors who had made him want to write epic fantasy. Not sure how much of good reason I think that is, but I think it suggests he was probably coming at it from an innocent place.



I agree it is a little odd, but I just don't see any sinister intention behind it. I really doubt it was used to make the books more interesting/intriguing. In general, more male fantasy readers are put off by female writers than the other way round. That is why quite a few female authors use genderless pen names and it is uncommon for men to do so. That fact in itself was the main reason why many thought KJ Parker was female initially, before the him/her press releases and the Holt/Parker interview.



Also, the pedantic descriptions of engineering etc become much less of an element in his more recent work (i.e. the standalones and shorts). I quite enjoyed them, but they can get a little tiresome.


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So, let me see if I have this right, so far as upcoming Parker books are concerned: there's the Two of Swords series; Savages; and the Invincible Sun trilogy. Anything else? :o

I'm guessing The Two of Swords is the Invincible Sun trilogy under another name and in a tweaked format. If it's not, the trilogy has to be pretty far off now, since The Two of Swords looks likely to run into 2016 at the very least.

The pseudonym thing doesn't bother me much. I do think outright lies are against the general spirit of mysterious pseudonyms, even if you're worried about being found out, and that being irritated that people are interested in what you've actively promoted as a pseudonym is a bit silly. But Holt didn't trade on the mysteriousness or the gender aggressively enough for me to feel misled.

I'm not much interested in Holt's comic fiction based on what little I've looked at-- even by the standards of that sort of thing it doesn't seem very well-done-- but I'm intrigued by the historical fiction, and would probably already own some of it if the US Kindle editions didn't have spacing between the paragraphs.

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Well, as anti climatic as it is, it's not like I'm going to stop reading his(gah I keep wanting to type her) work, cause damnnit, I love it too much. And it's not lk ehe turned out to be like, the grand high wizard of the KKK or anything.

Now, solve the mystery of Alex Marshall please.

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Now, solve the mystery of Alex Marshall please.

I told you. It is R Scott Bakker. :)

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Ha.

Wait, is it?

Edit: Someone put forth Kameron Hurley as a candidate on Goodreads, although I don't know if she counts as having published in several genres or not. Then again as we've seen, author bios are all lies.

Edited by Darth Richard II

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I think maybe when you're the focus of a secret / pseudonym like this, which by definition means that A: you know the secret, and B: that you also know the [likely] rather mundane reasons for its maintenance and therefore regard it as a thoroughly unglamourous thing, that it might be tougher to relate to people being intrigued and trying to quote-unquote figure you out. I think often it's hard for people to grasp why they might be the focus of interest / intrigue; it simply does not occur to them. If I were in a situation similar to the one Holtparker found himself in in the early 2000s, I could definitely see myself / sympathize with his tendency toward thinking "why can't they just leave me the fuck alone to do my thing for these eminently understandable reasons? Well, I'll fix them."



With the qualifier that I thus far have read only one Parker book, which I like only vaguely, and haven't really followed the who-is-KJParker saga too closely, I think the whole thing has been great fun but am grateful we know now and can move on, and I'm kind of mystified that people could take offense. Yes he told a couple little wee untruths and deliberately misdirected people, but to get upset about this would suggest that he owed us an explanation of his identity. People were trying to crack his pseudonym. He didn't want it cracked, so he took steps, and, as has been said already, it isn't as if any of the biographical points that have ended up not being true were leaned on or used to sell books. I think this is well within the bounds of what's cool, and that the end of it's made for a fun couple of days. James Tiptree Jr. pretended to be a man for years, and the revelation that she in fact was not got egg on a couple major sf figures' faces, since they'd suggested publicly that there was no way a woman could write in the style Tiptree did, and everyone involved seems to have taken it gracefully.



Why would the revelation of the identity at this moment be suspect?: Orbit and Holtparker wanna sell books. That's totally cool. Why wouldn't they? Selling books is great. Maybe they think drawing people's attention to the revelation of Parker's identity in this way will get a few more people to check out Two of Swords. And if that works, hey, why not? Parker's writing is unique and often excellent [from what I've read -- very much enjoyed the writing, not so crazy about the plot]; if this gets a few more people to try it out that's good stuff. I salute him, and quite honestly all the hustle around the name Parker these last few days may well make sure I try Two of Swords that tiny bit sooner, so mission accomplished.



Re Alex Marshall: I feel dirty and like a failure when I admit that I actually do want to know. And, more, I'm concerned about the nasty suspicious nature of my mind when I realize that one of the main reasons I want to know is that I look at the book with its deliberately obtuse author blurb and I think: "Why *don't* you want me to know?"



Hurley blurbed Marshall's book, which I think takes her out of the running [even assuming she would have had time to write the thing, which seems unlikely.] I doubt she'd engage in that kind of dirty pool. Should probably move this to the Marshall thread -- there is one someplace -- but I'm a hopeless enough tool that I do want to know so if ever this issue is revisited I will probably be all over that shit.


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I really hoped the Tom Holt rumours were untrue just because that would render the Sub Press interview about the most cringeworthy thing ever. Oh well. "You showed me your book and I showed it to my agent who agreed to represent you." FUCK OFF.



Still, I'm well impressed with his prolificy (is that a word?), which I hadn't realised until yesterday. One comic fantasy a year since 87 plus one traditional fantasy a year since 98 PLUS six historical fictions, several non fictions and numerous shorts in all these genres. They guy is a workhorse.


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