Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Heard a Good Book Lately?

I have two credits saved up on with a third credit due any day now. I am trying to figure out what audiobooks to get. I already have a handful that I've downloaded and I haven't listened to. The issue at hand is that the plan I am on only allows me to save up to three credits before I start losing them, so I need to pick some spend credits on.

I'm still taking a break from the "Saga of Seven Suns" series by Kevin J. Anderson. He really could have chopped the first five books (where I've stopped for the moment) into a three book series and then started a second series for the follow-up. Books four and five just draaaaggggeeeedddd on in some parts (as I'm sure this post will also do) and I'm too anal to skip ahead (or to chop this post down.)

HyperionI just now got back to listening to "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons. I have actually read the four Hyperion books before; "read" as in books in hand. Two of my World of Warcraft characters are Perion and Dymion as in hyPERION and enDYMION. The problem being that everybody pronouces Dymion as "Dime-e-on" instead of "Dim-e-on" They also call Perion, "Pery" which drives me nuts, but then again what doesn't these days.

Speaking of nuts, I have had a half dozen people ask me if I was allergic to nuts in the last few days. I'm not sure what is up with that or why I thought it worth a tangent in the middle of this tangent.

Brian Michael BendisI had stopped "Hyperion" to listen to 2 sessions of "the Bendis Tapes" on Word Balloon. Word Balloon being a comic book, interview format, podcast hosted by John Siuntres. The Bendis tapes are these massive shows he does twice a year with comic writer, Brian Michael Bendis (pictured), whom I ranted about back in early February; because, he got me to watch the entire 7 seasons of the Gilmore Girls for which I was the target of much abuse by friends and colleges.

Brian has a message board over and (which also hosts forums for a number of other comic writers, artists and now even Word Balloon) and he lets his fans post questions about his works. He and John answer and discuss the questions and a ranger of other topics over the course of the interview. I hadn't listened to the last two sessions, because I didn't want spoil the Secret Invasion storyline Bendis had been orchestrating as the Marvel, cross-comic, summer event. I managed to finish it just before leaving Perth.

I have a slight problem with jinxworld though. They don't let you register with any of the common free email accounts such as yahoo or gmail. It would appear you can't even register under a real email address and then change it to one of those free ones. I still don't know if I am going to keep the email address when it expires this month (there has been some other change of ownership or something.) I understand Bendis might have a spammer or abusive poster problem over there, but they have moderators for that sort of thing. Also, those moderators could be used to hand approve email address exceptions. In any case, unless they do something, I'll just be registered with an email address I never check and which may be going away. Hope they board never tries to send me any email for anything important.

Okay, back the audiobooks:

Swords and DeviltryI was going to download "Swords and Deviltry: The Adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser" which has been sitting on my wishlist. It is the first book in Fritz Leiber's classic sword-and-sorcery series which launched the sword-and-sorcery genre, and were the inspiration for the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. I remember hearing a lot about this series back when I was in Jr. High School, but reading the reviews I think I am going to pass on it for now. One of the reviewers summed it up with, "Might have been a classic novel, but it doesn't hold up as a "modern" fantasy novel." The other reviewers were less kind.

MidwinterI see they are offering "Midwinter" by Matthew Sturges. Matthew writes the DC/Vertigo comic "Jack of Fables" which is a spin off from Bill Willingham's "Fables" series. But I don't think the "Jack of Fables" series is really all that good and the reviews of Midwinter speak of much the same disappointment. Reading the summary blurb, I am also afraid to read it because it has some of the same elements of a story I am putting together and I don't want to be influenced by things he has thought of.

Daughter of the BloodI think I am at least going to try "Daughter of the Blood" by Anne Bishop. It is the first book in the "Black Jewels" series. The reviews seem okay, though they all warn you that the series is not for the prudish or squeamish. The thing holding me back is that it is yet another big series of books. Well that is partly true; the wiki points out that the first three books are the main trilogy. The fourth book is another story that takes place in that world. Then fifth book that is a collection of four short stories which expands on the events in and after the main trilogy. The fifth and sixth books appear to also be just other stories set in that world. But still, for somebody anal like me, that is seven books.

Anybody have any other suggestions of some good fantasy books?


MM said...

I asked Ty... his suggestions are:

Chronicles of Amber
The Black Company
The Dragonlance Chronicles

Liza said...

See what this world has come to? People are too lazy to read a good book nowadays.

:):) Just kidding.
Oh oh I definitely recommend a book called 'Emergency' by Neil Strauss. It isn't a fantasy book - but it's great.

Joseph B. Hewitt IV said...

Mel, based on the suggestions I have to ask if Ty has read a book since the 80's? If not I will happily buy him a copy of "A Game of Thrones" the first book in the "Song of Ice and Fire" series by George R. R. Martin so he can see what pinnacles of fantasy he has been missing out on. "Winter is coming."

Liza, unfortunately Audible doesn't offer any of Neil's books.

MM said...

You asked for suggestions.

I gave them.

I should have known you didn't actually WANT responses.

BugHunter said...

The Coldfire trilogy: C.S. Friedman
Abhorsen Trilogy: Garth Nix

Also, The Black Company was first, then a dozen books into it got tiring, but I had to finish anyway.

Joseph B. Hewitt IV said...

I'm just saying that all those book series are OVER 20 years old! I have been into sci-fi and fantasy for awhile now and am a little familiar with the classic mainstream stuff. Besides, I was being nice and offering to buy him a book!

Oh, and I re-read the Dragonlance Chronicles at some point (probably about 10 years ago) and man they did not hold up to memory.

My favorite, and the short story that won, the Auralis Award year before last when I was on the Fantasy Short Story panel was "Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz Go to War Again" by Garth Nix. I really liked it so I got the first book in the Abhorsen series, but just couldn't focus on it. It was probably just a timing issue and I figured I would get back to it later.

You can find that short story online for free (legally) at

AND! It turns out they don't have the first book in the Black Jewels series yet. I think they just got the latest book and are now going back and adding the rest.

cgltower said...

Hi just read the actual text in this blog, rather than pics. Saga of the Seven Suns! haha that series kept me sane on long, around the world flights. But I agree, last few are a little draggy, especially if you heard on audio haha Is the 7th and final one out yet?

Joseph B. Hewitt IV said...

Audible has, and I have downloaded, all seven books in the series.

I am really enjoying Hyperion. I forgot how good and how well written it is. I would really like Dan Simmons to go back and just write more stories set in the Hyperion world before the events of the first two Hyperion books.

Liza said...

Do you know what book I really loved reading that I can't find anywhere in Australia? Queen of the Amazons by Judith Tarr. It's like historical fiction/fantasy. Here's the Amazon page for it. I literally could not put this book down and read it all in one sitting:

Alex said...

As a hardcore Audible fan, and admittedly most of what I 'read' is nonfiction, I highly recommend :

"Confessions of an Economic Hitman".

Use the others on whatever you like.