New map - Elizabeth Bear's Eternal Sky

Friday, April 18, 2014

Another nice looking map for the index!

It's the work of Ellisa Mitchell, an illustrator who also worked on interior maps for David Weber and for the Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game.  The map is included in all three books of Elizabeth Bear's Eternal Sky series (Range of Ghosts, Shattered Pillars and Steles of the Sky).

Extracts - Hulick, Patrick and Salyards

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Three interesting extracts have surfaced on the web recently and they might give you a nice taste of upcoming novels. We're talking about Den Patrick's The Boy with  the Porcelain Blade, Sworn in Steel by Douglas Hulick (finally it will be in our hands soon) and Jeff Salyards' Veil of the Deserters (I have very high expectations for this one).



The Boy with the Porcelain Blade
Den Patrick
Chapters one, two, three and four


Sworn in Steel
Douglas Hulick
Chapters one and two


Veil of the Deserters
Jeff Salyards

A Fantasy Reader turns five!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's time to celebrate!

A Fantasy Reader is now five years old!

Thanks you all for coming back again and again over the years!

Cheers to five more!

New poll - Nostalgia?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The topic of my last poll was humor.  To cover more than an aspect of it, I posted three questions instead of one and we now have the results.

What type of Humor do you prefer?
Sarcasm - 34%
Dark/Gallow/Mordid - 19%
Irony - 13%
Biting/Mordant - 6%
None - 6%
Satire, parody/spoof, puns, caricature/exaggerism or toilet - 3 % or less

Is Humor fundamental in Fantasy literature?
Yes - 52%
No - 48%

Do you like funny/parodic books?
Yes - 54%
No - 45%

Judging by the results of the last two questions, it's clear that Fantasy readers are quite divided in terms of appreciation of humor in Fantasy.  That came as a surprise for me, more so for the first question. I know that Grim Fantasy is the trend but even in the 'grimdark' world, authors like Joe Abercrombie can get a grin out of readers more often than not. Wouldn't it be kind of sad to have even less humor in Fantasy? As for the funny and parodic books, I think it's easier to understand that it's not for everyone.

If we keep the focus on the 'grimdark' trend, I think we can also explain the answers for the type of humor question. Don't forget that my blog is focusing on Epic Fantasy and that's the fashionable sub-genre these days.


Nostalgic anyone?

Last week, Tad Williams confirmed that he will be returning to his roots with a new trilogy set in the world of Osten Ard, a sequel to his first trilogy, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. The confirmation has been received as very good news in the blogosphere and the comments of many readers on the web. While I'm not indifferent, it made me think about the next question for my poll.

I have only read two books by Tad Williams and both are the start of series, meaning The Dragonbone Chair, first book of the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy and Shadowmarch, the first book of the Shadowmarch quartet. I remember liking them both but not being compelled to finish the series so far. In my review of The Dragonbone Chair, I wrote this:
In the end, it was a fun read. Always good to return to the roots of the genre from time to time. I enjoyed it enough to read the rest of the story. But beware, if you read it, the beginning of the book is very slow (I almost put it down). You really have to get at least to the second half. I would surely have given this book a better score if I had read it some years ago.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to diminish the love that long time readers of Williams have or put a label of nostalgia on the reason behind this love.  I think that it's indeed a very good news. By the way, have you read Memory, Sorrow and Thorn? And what did you think about it?) This is simply the introduction to my question and as I said I think that for many series that were released a long time ago, they could have been a better read if I had read them before. However, that's really not the case for everything written more than ten to fifteen years ago.

So, are we nostalgic? I think so but that's not the specific question to which I would like to have your opinion. To be more precise, I want to know if you think that our good old Fantasy series (here's the nostalgia creeping back) are aging well. Most of you must have read some Tad Williams, Terry Brooks, Stephen Donaldson, Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings or even Robert Jordan. Are they aging well for a new crowd of readers who were introduced to Fantasy by Abercrombie, Martin or Erikson? Tolkien is aging well don't you think? We all have a different path that leads to the kind of books we are reading now and I think that it has a great influence on how we perceive books that were released a long time ago.

Furthermore, I always liked to pick up books form authors that were a source of inspiration for the modern Fantasy writers. One of the best ways to get a complete understanding of a genre is to return to its roots. But when we do this, that nostalgic factor isn't present and that's probably when we can better tell if a book has aged well.  Are you often returning to books you have read twenty years ago?

Moreover, Fantasy is evolving. As I mentioned in my comment about the last poll, there's a trend toward grim and dark Fantasy and we are reading less and less often about the farm boy from prophecy who will vanquish evil.

To add more perspective to this questioning, I took a look back at past polls with topics in relation with this subject. When I asked if innovation was overrated in Fantasy, you answered that it wasn't. From the list of most common Fantasy tropes, you clearly said that you were tired of the farm boy saving the world (add to that prophecies and evil dark lords) and most of you were introduced to Fantasy with the help of Mister Tolkien. And finally, you prefer a sequel from a favorite writer than a new idea.


Are the Fantasy series of old aging well?

A Round of Covers

Monday, April 7, 2014

It's cover round-up time!


Marc Simonetti, the french artist behind many great Fantasy covers in the last years strikes again with the french cover art for Le Fléau du Traître by Jeff Slayards (Scourge of the Betrayer). Thanks to Mihai at Dark Wolf's Fantasy review for the heads up.


Next is the cover art for Micheal R. Underwood's new Epic Fantasy, Shield and Crocus.  The artist is Stephan Martinière. I really like this one!


Raymond Swanland returns with his familiar style for the cover art of K.V. Johansen's The Lady. Always amazing, his work are! :)


Finally, Steve Stone is behind this new contender for my Best cover art with an infamous hooded assassin award!  He gives us a nice one for The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick.  Enjoy!

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