June 18, 2013
Five books for non-genre readers
Damien G. Walter asked:
Now that Fantasy / SF is taking over the mainstream, which books do you recommend to people who have not read it before?
I decided on a quick list of five novels, off the top of my head and a very quick reaction. I am assuming someone who does read novels, just not genre. I tried to be as contemporary as possible, too.
Corey, James S.A:. Leviathan Wakes. Big scale, wide screen solar system space opera. Its amazingly accessible and not so buried in jargon and the history and baggage of the genre that it would make a fine entry point for someone who wants to read space.
Bujold, Lois M.: The Warrior's Apprentice. This is the first novel with Miles Vorkosigan as a main character, and tells the story of how he gets washed out of the Imperial Academy, and his acquisition of a mercenary force. Bujold has improved and grown since then, but I think starting with the start of Miles story gives new readers to SF a reasonable starting point.
Kemp, Paul S. The Hammer and the Blade I think sword and sorcery has an advantage over epic fantasy in many ways for new fantasy readers--smaller cast, smaller scale, more characterization. Egil and Nix do derive and are informed by the history of the genre (c.f. Fritz Leiber) but starting here is no bad thing.
Butcher, Jim. Storm Front. This list HAD to have urban fantasy somewhere on it, and so I decided to go with a favorite. The only wizard in the Chicago phone book is a concept that lets readers get used to the idea of magic in the modern world. (Emma Bull's War for the Oaks might also work here)
Gilman, Laura Anne Flesh and Fire. I needed an epic fantasy on this list, but a lot of epic fantasy is really not for first time fantasy readers. Even Martin is best read once you start understanding the conventions of the genre, although if you wanted to put a Game of Thrones here,I won't argue hard. But Flesh and Fire is a story that slowly introduces the main character, and us, to a rich and vibrant fantasy world where magic is based on wine.
June 10, 2013
My Journey to the West
My Journey to the West:
Total miles drove: 4318.9 (6950.6 kilometers)
Cities Slept in:
Mesa Verde, Colorado
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado
Wall, South Dakota
National Parks Visited:
Arches National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Badlands National Park
National Monuments Visited:
Florissant Fossil Beds
State Capitols visited:
Hitherto not visited states reached: