Tag Archives: Fiction

Fantasy Fiction Feast

What, me – indulge in basic photo editing to preserve some semblance of anonymity? The very idea!

The Central Library in Sheffield held an afternoon event this weekend celebrating fantasy fiction in all its diversity by hosting writers and publishing folk from Angry Robot books and I went along to indulge in all the nerdy goodness on offer.

The writers who spoke and read were Mike Shevdon, Anne Lyle, David Tallerman and Gav Thorpe, who the “Warhammer 40K” devotees amongst you will know for his work in that uber-dark sci-fi universe.   Each writer gave a brief introduction to themselves and their work and would probably have swelled my reading list ten-fold had I not exercised unusual restraint in my book purchases on the day.

Restraint? Me? With books? Surely some terrible mistake has occurred…

Behold – The book that I paid hard-earned cashews for…

As pictured above, I went away with a copy of David Tallerman’s “Giant Thief”, as I had previously raced through the first fifty pages of the novel on a library loan and put it aside in order to pick up a signed copy at the Fantasy Readers day.  It’s definitely worth a look if you like the flawed rogues and anti-heroes that Joss Whedon is so good at creating – Tallerman’s protagonist, Easie Damasco is an unshaven, fairly unscrupulous ne’er-do-well trapped in the middle of a land war and trying not to be a hero.  Angry Robot’s own jacket copy suggests that if you enjoyed Scott Lynch‘s genius “The Lies of Locke Lamora” you might well dig this fantastical adventure, and that’s fairly on the money -though there’s infinitely less swearing in “Giant Thief” from what I recall of my brief time with Mr Tallerman’s novel.

‘Tis a righteously enjoyable romp and I look forward to devouring it in short order as I attempt to race through more fantasy fiction before some small-time Peter Jackson film opens in the middle of December.  I’ve heard it’s going to be quite the thing…

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Ray Bradbury – “All My Friends Were On The Shelves Above”

Ray Bradbury – Born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. Died June 5, 2012 in Los Angeles.

Ray Bradbury, fantasy and speculative fiction writer, died yesterday in Los Angeles after a long illness.

Letters of Note today presents a lovely letter from the great man to a library, concerning the inception of  “The Fireman” which eventually became his celebrated novel, Fahrenheit 451(the novel, he argued, which was his only true work of science fiction – he saw himself as a creator of fantasies).

When a writer like Bradbury passes, if you’re anything like me, you suddenly realise that you’ve not read nearly enough of his work.  That’s a sad state of affairs which I mean to address at the library this weekend – I like to think that Bradbury would approve of using this most underrated and glorious of resources to further explore his body of work.

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Fat Reads, Groaning Bookshelves

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This post is inspired by a thread over at the nerd-friendly Sword & Laser reading group over at Good Reads – blimey, sci-fi and fantasy books are a bit on the portly side, wouldn’t you agree?  Not for many world-building fantasy authors the notion of a quick and dirty, 260 page novel – that’s barely a preface in the realm of the elves and darkling folk!

As much as I love the process of getting a new book, cracking the covers and disappearing into a new world, I still get a little intimidated when I pick up Markus Heitz‘s “The Dwarves” (my latest read) and noting that it runs to 733 pages – that’s a commitment and a half, particularly when you consider that this book is but the first entry in a series (Book two, “The War of the Dwarves”, is a girthy 752 pages, book three “Revenge of the Dwarves” is 800 pages and the final “The Fate of the Dwarves” is back to a manageable 752 pages).

That’s a long time to spend reading about diminutive bad asses with lovely beards and lethal axes, I’m sure you’ll concur.

One of the criticisms of this kind of fiction is that it tends to urgently need the services of an editor to weed out florid over-writing and excessive descriptions of armaments and architecture but that’s not necessarily a problem for me – I don’t need detail to aid my immersion in a fantasy universe but it does help to have a sense of what things look like and from where in history the author may have drawn from.  Educational and nerdy – my favourite combination!

The only problem with this kind of fiction – other than the hipness or lack thereof, which doesn’t bother me for a second – is that I’m going to need bigger book shelves sometime soon.  That or the local branch of Oxfam are going to get a bumper donation of older books next week.

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