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A day in the life of the traumatized reader

*puts The King, now finished, back on the shelf, and contemplates which of the numerous bought-but-unread books to peruse next*

Hmmm, Heroes Die, cool title, heard good things about it, feel like something a little fantastical...

*picks up book, glances at back cover, notices mention of assassins and odd place names*

Oh. Maybe I should take a quick peek inside, just to check...

*pops book open to random page*

Let's see he--ack! Stereotypically bizarre fantasy names! Verses of poetry-like legend! Discussion of deep moral issues relating to world save-age! Run away!

*slams book closed, shoves it back into its place, and takes out J.G. Ballard instead. panic subsides*

A word of warning to the young readers out there: Refrain from overdosing on high fantasy in your early teens. Once you shoot out your tolerance for sword-and-sorcery, you may never regain it. And it's a sad, sad thing when merely glancing at the back cover of any such volume tempts you to hurl both it and your lunch.

(I will read Matthew Woodring Stover's Heroes Die at some point or another, as I have read good things about it... and besides, a closer look at the back cover reveals that it's not straight 'high fantasy' after all. I think it'll just have to wait until I'm in a particularly open-minded mood.)

mlc

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
writerpo
Mar. 12th, 2003 12:28 am (UTC)
Stover-ific
I haven't read Heroes Die, yet, but I did read the sequel, The Blade of Tyshalle. Fortuantely, they can be read independent of each other without too much scrambling to figure out what you missed.

They aren't straight high-fantasy, as they have a sci-fi-almost-cyberpunkish twist to them that makes them kind of cool. It sort of embraces the tropes of high fantasy while at the same time turning them slightly askew, like looking at a painting from a new perspective simply by tilting the frame widdershins by five degrees.

Sorry if I'm not making too much sense. It's late. I find myself correcting two out of every three words. I hope you do give it a chance, but I can understand your reluctance. Heck, except for Pratchett, I usually avoid anything "wizards, warriors, and elves."

---Peter (going to sleep now)
megancrewe
Mar. 12th, 2003 06:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Stover-ific
The sad thing is, it's not so much a reluctance as a deeply ingrained repulsion. I'm being totally honest (and literal) when I say that reading the back of most high fantasy novels makes my stomach turn. Something about the cheesy (IMHO) character and place names and the ever-familiar plots (usually something about saving the world and prophecies and destinies) gets right under my skin and has a little riot there.

Like I said, though, I realize there's a twist to Heroes Die... I'm just going to have to steel my nerves before I jump in.

Speaking of Pratchett, though... I do have that book of his I've been meaning to give a try. (Making fun of high fantasy is perfectly acceptable.) *wanders off to the bookcase*
writerpo
Mar. 13th, 2003 09:44 am (UTC)
Pratchett
Which Pratchett sits on your shelf? . . . asks the guy who has the entire Discworld series -- some of which have been read multiple times, all of which have been enjoyed on some level, whether as light fantasy pastiche, or as scathing social satire -- sitting in his bookcase. I'm asking because while I've enjoyed all of his books, there are some that are simply better than others, and more representative of Pratchett on his game than others.

---Peter
megancrewe
Mar. 13th, 2003 01:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Pratchett
I have two Discworld novels: The Color of Magic (1st) and Sourcery (5th). They were both being taught as part of some fantasy lit class at my university (I didn't take the course but grabbed them off the reading list shelves) so presumably someone thought they were good. :) I plan on starting with The Colour of Magic because, well, it seems sensible to start at the beginning. Recommendations of other books are welcome, of course.
writerpo
Mar. 13th, 2003 01:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Pratchett
The beginning is always a good place to start, but I wouldn't want that book to colour (pun, unfortunately, intended) your outlook on the rest of the series. The discworld is really ill defined in the first couple books. Sourcery is better, although the plot is similar to another early book, Equal Rites.

Books I recommend: Small Gods, Reaper Man, and Wyrd Sisters.

---Peter
hiddeninshadow
Mar. 12th, 2003 10:31 am (UTC)
That happened to me with "overly humorous" fantasy. Overdosed on "Xanth" novels by Piers Anthony and the "Myth Adventure" ones by Asprin when I was younger. Now, I can't stand funny fantasy.
writerpo
Mar. 12th, 2003 04:43 pm (UTC)
EEEEeeeevil
Xanth is evil incarnate. I enjoyed them when I was young and stupid, but now that I'm no longer young, I can see them for what they are. I'd blame Xanth for my propensity for painful punning, but unfortunately, that was in place long before I cracked open a single one of Anthony's books.

---Peter
megancrewe
Mar. 12th, 2003 07:02 pm (UTC)
Somehow managed to avoid those... I don't think I've ever read anything by Anthony. I have no problem with the comedies - it's the fantasies that take themselves far too seriously despite being incredibly derivative that irk me.

You know, I'm not even sure which authors it was I overdosed on. I think it was just a whole bunch of different ones in the same vein. *dreamy voice* It's all so long ago now... (I don't think I've read a straight high fantasy novel since grade nine. Unless you count The Death Gate Cycle in grade ten, though that's got a liberal dose of SF in it, too, so I forgive it. ;))
hiddeninshadow
Mar. 12th, 2003 07:13 pm (UTC)
I'm still overdosing on fantasy. Some, like the Wheel of Time series, get out of hand for me. Had to give that up after book 5 I think. I'm not a big fan of sci-fic, but I enjoyed Anthony's Blue Adept series; a mixture of sci-fic/fantasy. I love humor mixed in with my fantasy as long as it doesn't border on the ridiculous.
megancrewe
Mar. 12th, 2003 07:54 pm (UTC)
Wheel of Time. *shudders* I think gave that a shot sometime in grade ten and only made it about 50 pages in.

It's weird, really, because I read just about everything. Mostly spec fic and "mainstream", but I do have a higher tolerance for romance and mysteries and various other trope-laden genres than I do for sword-n-sorcery. And I have no problem with well-written urban fantasy or other variations. Maybe it's the false grandeur of it all. I mean, what other genre sets out to save the world from certain destruction (or vicious tyranny or similar) on a daily basis? You can't get much more overblown than that.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

My Books


Earth & Sky
(Earth & Sky #1, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2014


The Clouded Sky
(Earth & Sky #2, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015


A Sky Unbroken
(Earth & Sky #3, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015


The Way We Fall
(Fallen World #1, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2012


The Lives We Lost
(Fallen World #2, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013


The Worlds We Make
(Fallen World #3, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2014


Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
(Fallen World #3.5, apocalyptic YA)
self pubbed, 2014


Give Up the Ghost
(paranormal YA)
Henry Holt, 2009

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