World Wide Wednesday: Sacred Cows and Themed Reading

After a brief hiatus, here I am back again with a look at what has been steaming up the Internet over the last couple of weeks. Just a quick heads up: I am an accountant and have a horrible month end process, so, for the foreseeable future, the first week of the month will be missing WWW (thank you Kat, my benevolent Overlady!) in order that I can concentrate on the day job.fantasy and science fiction book reviews

1) Malazan Book of the Fallen is complete

Steven Erikson revealed this via Facebook, and Wertzone brought the news to the rest of us: Erikson has completed the Malazan Book of the Fallen! What better time to begin a re-read of the existing books — or even your first effort at reading what is becoming a latter day fantasy classic? Well, what do you know: are hosting a handy re-read that is so far up to Chapter Seven of Gardens of the Moon — get on board!

2) Man Booker Prize long list announced

Last week the long list for the Man Booker Prize was announced. Not the sort of books you’d usually read? Why am I bringing you this news? Well, mostly because of the glaring lack of genre fiction included.

3) Do you Pod Cast?

I don’t tend to myself – if I have down-time then I can be found reading. But I know plenty of other people enjoy podcasts, so I bring you a handy list of some book-related podcasts courtesy of Read In a Single Sitting. In similar news, the excellent site SF Signal has started its own podcast.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews4) The expectations of authors and readers…

Okay, so this requires a little explanation: The Book Smugglers wrote a review of Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (a link to our own review by Kelly, who loved the book!). Usually we don’t link to other reviews (because there are plenty to be found here, and we are jealous of our loyal readers! *grin*), but this one is interesting. Ana and Thea comment on a culture within the book they find distasteful — and the comments section exploded. Including a post from the author about her intentions when she wrote the book (comment #29, although all of it is worth reading). This led Mr. Sam Sykes to pose the question: Does this book belong to author or reader?

5) Sacred Cows!

First of all, we have our own guest reviewer Paul Smith taking a look at the sacred cow that is Tolkien, and attempting to question why we as readers are unable to criticise this great influence on fantasy fiction without inviting heated criticism. In rebuttal, Adrian Faulkner speaks out in defence of Middle-Earth.

6) I Am Number Four!

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore is looking to be another big event in genre fiction this year – after the buzz surrounding The Passage. To whet your appetite Dave Brendon brings you the first eight chapters of this exciting looking book!

7) Fantastic Foreign Cover Art

Not much to actually say on this post, but I enjoyed the pictures! I bring you an analysis of some foreign cover art.

Diana Wynne Jones

8) Themed Reading

Time to catch you up on a few of the tremendous themed initiatives taking place around the blogosphere: The Book Smugglers are in the middle of a celebration of YA fiction; Presenting Lenore is hosting a Dystopian August; My Favourite Books are loving short stories for the month of August; and Jenny’s Books is bringing us a week of Diana Wynne Jones love!

9) David Gemmell

David Gemmell

We love David Gemmell here. We even hosted a Why You Should Read… edition of David Gemmell. So imagine our delight when we found Fantasy Book Critic hosting an until-now-unreleased excerpt of his work? Go read!

10) SlushPile Hell

And just a funny to finish off with… Check out this site: it is Made of Win! The description: “One grumpy literary agent, a sea of query fails, and other publishing nonsense”. The name: SlushPile Hell. I fall over myself at some of the snarky replies to *terrible* book queries!

Okie doke! See you next Wednesday!

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AMANDA RUTTER, one of our guest reviewers, used to be an accountant in the UK but she escaped the world of numbers and is now living in a fantasy world she creates. She runs Angry Robot's YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. And we knew her when....

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  1. Thanks for the great roundup, Amanda! I went and commented at Book Smugglers. I see what they’re saying and while I read it as character opinion rather than author opinion, it is a problematic passage and I can see their point of view. Goodness knows I’ve been known to give books–YA books especially–a big pen-lashing if I think they promote things like abuse.

  2. Thanks Kelly – glad that you commented on their post as well. The only big concern I have is that, if the book is as bad as they say in promoting a particular culture, more people will end up picking it up as a result of a bad review because they just want to see what is so bad about it. And therefore it receives yet more publicity, y’see?

  3. Well, I think the publicity may be a good thing, because IMHO we need to be having debates about some of these tropes. I think it’s often debatable whether these books promote certain ideas or whether they set them up to be challenged by the actual story, and I felt that Sisters Red was more in the “set it up to be challenged” camp. But as I said, it’s debatable, and I think it’s a debate that’s worth having.

  4. Thanks for pimping my theme month! Hope you enjoy Dystopian August :)

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