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.....Fantasy series you never finished. [And why.]
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorus wrote:
Finished Black Company. Finished Eddings and Feist and all those, but it's been years since I read any of them.


But...the last Feist book came out last year...unless you're not counting it as a continuous series.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I stopped Feist after the Serpent War series. The Empire series was the best. But I don't count those as unfinished...each of those, (and the Krondor interludes etc.) was a complete series.

Just haven't read the new ones. So not unfinished.

(Vimes, Syl, it's Vimes. Wink )

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What the hell was I thinking?

After Return of the Crimson Guard, I doubt I'll ever read any of the Esselmont books again. And after trying to read the first Kharkanas book for the last six months or so... well, I'll keep reading, but damn. You spend all that time wanting to know more about the Tiste, Azath, and so on, but spend a few hundred pages with them, and you just want to slit your wrists. It's like a soap opera for goths.

I enjoyed the hell out of the first 5 Feist books. But then, that's the same time period I read the Belgariad and Mallorean, 27 or so Dragonlance novels, Piers Anthony, etc. I've never gone back to any of them except the Belgariad about 11 years ago (which I enjoyed, but since my first child was on the way, I needed some mindless escapist fiction).

I read all the Sword of Truth novels minus one, even though I knew I shouldn't about halfway through. I'll never read another thing Goodkind writes.

I couldn't finish either Perdido Street Station or The City and the City. I enjoyed The Scar, but I barely made it through that one. Read Iron Council, too, but I don't remember a thing about it.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Syl wrote:
After Return of the Crimson Guard, I doubt I'll ever read any of the Esselmont books again. And after trying to read the first Kharkanas book for the last six months or so... well, I'll keep reading, but damn. You spend all that time wanting to know more about the Tiste, Azath, and so on, but spend a few hundred pages with them, and you just want to slit your wrists. It's like a soap opera for goths.


Laughing Laughing A soap opera for goths... Laughing Laughing It was fairly relentless wasn't it? I enjoyed it as a lore and mythos info dump, for the most part.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stephen King's 'Dark Tower' series fell at the first fence - I read the short novellette [The Gunslinger?] and then a quater of the next one before I decided it wasn't for me.

Our own SRD has to take his place amongst the fallen with both 'The Gap' and the 'Mirror of her Dreams' series. Man, I tried with that latter one. Three times I read the first book and once even got half way through the second [there was only two books in the damn series] before I threw in the towel. Life, I decided was two short to be bored by a book that was teaching you nothing!
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dANdeLION wrote:
peter wrote:
dANdeLION wrote:
Also, I quit the Shanarra crap after the first book.....what a crapfest that was.


C'mon Dan - Brooks had soo much neck in writing that you had to finish the book Laughing


Huh? That doesn't make sense to me at all.


I just could not believe how egregiously he ripped Tokeins story, tore out all the long words and presented it as his own. I had to finnish it just to see just how far his dumbed-down plagarism would go - just how much he was prepared to baldly insult the intelligence of his readership. The answer it transpires was to the extent of about twenty books and three decades worth of royalty payments. Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
I had to finnish it just to see just how far his dumbed-down plagarism would go


How did you achieve this? Take it along to a sauna and hit it repeatedly with a bundle of birch twigs? Sink it into a snowdrift? Let it ride yulefather's sled? Subject it to a hefty dose of death metal?
Allow Special Lion to eat it?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
I just could not believe how egregiously he ripped Tokeins story, tore out all the long words and presented it as his own. I had to finnish it just to see just how far his dumbed-down plagarism would go - just how much he was prepared to baldly insult the intelligence of his readership. The answer it transpires was to the extent of about twenty books and three decades worth of royalty payments. Laughing


I've posted this before, but it can't be emphasized enough (in these types of discussions). The Iron Tower trilogy is the most blatant Tolkien rip-off ever written, far surpassing the Shannara series in its theft. This was from an Amazon.com review I posted 5 years ago (I'm not the author, just quoting):

Quote:

A Tolkien Zealot's View on "The Iron Tower", November 29, 2001
By A Customer

The only question that really plagues me after reading "The Iron Tower" is simple - why was it written? Mr. McKiernan is obviously a fan of Tolkien and, to be more precise, "The Lord of the Rings," which he even admits in the preface. No shame in that. I too adore Tolkien's work, and, in my mind, "The Lord of the Rings" is the greatest fantasy story ever told. But in spite of McKiernan's admiration for said genre pioneer, he was content to take "The Lord of the Rings" and recycle it, albeit with a handful of different character names. And while he was busy attempting to pass this story off as his own, he forgot everything that made Tolkien so wonderful in the process - and anything that makes good fantasy in general.
"The Iron Tower" isn't only a shameless copy of a beloved tale, but it's also quite poorly written. One has to wonder if McKiernan was out of elementary school when he began jotting it down. Dialogue between characters is particularly absurd, and again it is because McKiernan attempts (and severely fails) to copy the more classical style of Tolkien. One example of thousands is this: "Hai! You have named it well; for Jet it was: no horse is blacker!" And aside from the poor quality of this tidbit, any Tolkien fan, even unfamiliar with McKiernan, will think to themselves, "Hmmm... Shadowfax, anyone?"

The book opens with very clear parallels to "The Lord of the Rings," but, at first, there are at least a few interesting touches to keep things mildly entertaining. But things get steadily more offensive as the story progresses. Complete with a party of three Warrows (or Hobbits, if you prefer), an Elf, a Dwarf, and a future King with a magical sword, the party of heroes is forced by perilous circumstance to enter an abandoned Dwarven mine (aka, Moria) that was evacuated for fear of the Ghath (aka, Balrog) - a beast who still lingers in the mines. But as McKiernan might say, "Hai! Lo! That be not all!" For as the companions are debating a course of action, they are attacked by a tentacled beast that lurks in the water just outside the magically concealed gateway. Where have I heard this before? Except, of course, it was much more thrilling in its original format, to say the very least.

Yet there's more still. "The Iron Tower" is complete with its own version of Ringwraiths, wargs (called vulgs), orcs, and more. Surprisingly, the only thing that's missing is a Gandalf character. But I can assure you, had McKiernan included one, the company would have temporarily lost him in the Dwarven mines to the dreaded whip of the Ghath. For goodness sakes, the book even comes complete with an appendix at its conclusion! Perhaps McKiernan thinks that his world of Mithgar is as detailed and as rich as Middle-earth just because every creature, character, or place encountered has a different name to each race. ("Kraken!" cried Galen. "Maduk!" shouted Brega.)And just to note, to fuel further audacity, Tuck (aka, Frodo) carries a short sword called Bane that glows at its edges when enemies are about. Stings, doesn't it? Get it? STINGS?

Simply put, "The Iron Tower" is a fraud. It should never have been published. In fact, there should be some sort of law against it. I have in my day read and even enjoyed many Tolkien knock-offs ("The Sword of Shannara," or "The Eye of the World," for example), so I am open-minded about these matters. But "The Iron Tower" goes too far. It is shameful. It is outright theft. Fans of Tolkien should heed this advice well: steer clear unless you're looking for a good laugh. And for those who are not familiar with Tolkien, don't you dare accept McKiernan as a suitable replacement, for your own sake. There are a handful of interesting moments, but not enough to outweigh the wrongs that were done in allowing this series publication. With more work, McKiernan might have paid homage rather than desecrating sacred ground.



The Mines of Moria sequence is unbelievable. A "balrog" creature, a tentacle creature in the water at the magical gate, a bridge sequence ... my god, it's exactly the same.

The Warrows *are* Hobbits. The main one is called Tuck Underbank. It's like a parody, except the author didn't realize it.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had entirely forgotten The Dark Tower series. I read the first four books around the time the 5th one was published, but never quite felt right about them. Something in the writing was very offputting. I didn't continue.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Stephen King's 'Dark Tower' series fell at the first fence - I read the short novellette [The Gunslinger?] and then a quater of the next one before I decided it wasn't for me.

Our own SRD has to take his place amongst the fallen with both 'The Gap' and the 'Mirror of her Dreams' series. Man, I tried with that latter one. Three times I read the first book and once even got half way through the second [there was only two books in the damn series] before I threw in the towel. Life, I decided was two short to be bored by a book that was teaching you nothing!
Mirror of Her Dreams was okay. The first book was much better than the second, so you didn't miss much.

But man, you've GOT to finish the Gap! It's SRD's best work, by far. I've never read a better series by any author. Sure, I love Tolkien's world more, I think the Chronicles are more "spiritual," I think Bakker's work is more philosophical, and I think Asimov's Foundation/Empire/Robots is the most epic thing I've ever read. But the Gap is by far the best writing, sustained over such a large story, that I've ever read. The tension, the pacing, the characters, the resolution ... it's a thing of wonder. It's a tragedy that it didn't sell very well. This is story-telling at its finest.

How far did you get?
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

never read the Iron Tower series but found this;

Quote:
In 1977, while riding his motorcycle, McKiernan was hit by a car that had crossed the center-line, and he was confined to a bed, first in traction and then in a hip spica cast, for many months. During his recuperation, he began a sequel to J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The publisher Doubleday showed an interest in his work and tried to obtain authorization from Tolkien's estate but was denied. Doubleday then asked McKiernan to rewrite his story, placing the characters in a different fictitious world, and also to write a prequel supporting it. The prequel, of necessity, resembles The Lord of the Rings; the decision of Doubleday to issue the work as a trilogy increased that resemblance; and some critics have seen McKiernan as simply imitating Tolkien's epic work. McKiernan has subsequently developed stories in the series that followed along a story line different from those that plausibly could have been taken by Tolkien.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_L._McKiernan
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So here's an unrelated question...maybe it should be put into another thread.

In the context of all the reasons you would abandon someone else's work, how does that impact your own authorial goals? I ask this because as I have time to get back into my own writing I've literally had the thought "Well, if I could do as good as Feist, there's nothing wrong with that..." For example, I like Eddings but would never want my dialogue to stoop to his level of silliness.

But maybe there is something wrong with aspiring to at the level of Author X? And I'm not saying that I would be that good, I am merely speaking in terms of self-evaluation as our writing processes occur.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say simply aspire to do the best you can, and challenge yourself with each new book. Don't try to compare to others, although do try to learn from them.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW, my answer is the same as Murrin's.

"Aspiring to the level of" *anybody* is an exercise fraught with peril.* If you compare your writing with another's, you risk either depression or hubris -- neither of which is good for you.

If I aspired to write as well as SRD or Graham Joyce or Patricia McKillip, I'd give up. They are/were experts at what they do. But that's okay, because I'm not doing what they do. I'm writing my own stuff. Smile


* I had to share: I used the phrase "fraught with peril" in a conversation with friends a while back, and my friend the highway engineer said, "Fraught? Now there's a word you don't hear every day!"

And I thought, "That's because you don't hang out with writers." Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Much like I'm sure ASoIaF will turn out, I wish I had given up on the Dark Tower.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Effing Wheel of Time. I think I finished Book 10 "Crossroads of Twilight" when it came out...god, 10 years ago??? Horrible book. I bought the rest of them, never finished it though. I keep hearing that Book 11 is better. Maybe one day... I already spoiled the ending though, ha.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cambo wrote:
Sorus wrote:
Finished Black Company. Finished Eddings and Feist and all those, but it's been years since I read any of them.


But...the last Feist book came out last year...unless you're not counting it as a continuous series.


Argh. Okay, for Eddings I have read the Belgariad, the Malloreon, the Elenium, that other one, the two stand-alones from the Belgariad, The Redemption of Althalus - okay, to make it easy, The Redemption of Althalus was the last thing by them that I read. Nothing since.

Feist, Chaoswar and Riftwar... and Empire? None of the Demonwar or anything recent.

So I guess I have not finished all of them. Razz

And to anyone who's feeling overwhelmed by the number of Discworld books out there - say you liked Small Gods, but don't know where to go next:

Read Pyramids.
Read Going Postal, Making Money and Raising Steam.
Read Moving Pictures.
Read The Truth.
Read Monstrous Regiment.

Doesn't have to be in that order. Those are stand-alones, or at least stand-aloneish. (That is too a word!)

Somewhere along the way you should be feeling less overwhelmed, and ready to take on the larger arcs, which are:

Witches: Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, Carpe Jugulum

The Night Watch: Guards! Guards!, Men At Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, Night Watch, Thud!, Snuff

Death & Co.: Mort, Reaper Man, Soul Music, Hogfather, Thief of Time

Rincewind: The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Sourcery, (Faust) Eric, Interesting Times, The Last Continent, The Last Hero

I listed Rincewind last because those are among some of my least-favorite. It's some of his earliest work - worth reading, but probably not the best place to start. (Who starts at the beginning? Yeesh.) That said, I did love The Last Continent.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aliantha wrote:
FWIW, my answer is the same as Murrin's.

"Aspiring to the level of" *anybody* is an exercise fraught with peril.* If you compare your writing with another's, you risk either depression or hubris -- neither of which is good for you.

If I aspired to write as well as SRD or Graham Joyce or Patricia McKillip, I'd give up. They are/were experts at what they do. But that's okay, because I'm not doing what they do. I'm writing my own stuff. Smile


* I had to share: I used the phrase "fraught with peril" in a conversation with friends a while back, and my friend the highway engineer said, "Fraught? Now there's a word you don't hear every day!"

And I thought, "That's because you don't hang out with writers." Laughing


I'll say one thing and then cease hijacking the thread Smile I was not thinking in terms of comparison, I was thinking more in terms of confidence and setting a goal...I'm not one to do something I don't think I stand a chance of doing well, so just wondering what if any standards you would set for yourself to define "doing well". I kind of misspoke the question I suppose.

Hijack over Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
But man, you've GOT to finish the Gap! It's SRD's best work, by far. I've never read a better series by any author. Sure, I love Tolkien's world more, I think the Chronicles are more "spiritual," I think Bakker's work is more philosophical, and I think Asimov's Foundation/Empire/Robots is the most epic thing I've ever read. But the Gap is by far the best writing, sustained over such a large story, that I've ever read. The tension, the pacing, the characters, the resolution ... it's a thing of wonder. It's a tragedy that it didn't sell very well. This is story-telling at its finest.

How far did you get?


Embarassed Well actually...now let me see, there was, yes and....thats it. The Real Story. Well, I never said I read much of it did I? Ok, ok - I'll give it a go! [It's the least I can do after what I put you through Z. Laughing ]

You hit it bang to right's Murrin. re The Dark Tower - yes, there was "something offputting in the writing."
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't read a lot of fantasy or science fiction, but sometimes someone will recommend something and I'll read it.

The series that comes to mind from many years ago is the Dragonlance books by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I read the first book, and it came over as a really awful third-rate Tolkien rip off. I finished it, but wondered why I had bothered.
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