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  • Showing only topics with the tag "fantasy". Back to normal view
    1. The Sandman comic series has probably been the strongest influence on my life in recent times. Does this resonate?

      Written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by various brilliant artists, The Sandman series has definitely had an enlightening and positive influence on my life. Much like Dream will say, it feels...

      Written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by various brilliant artists, The Sandman series has definitely had an enlightening and positive influence on my life. Much like Dream will say, it feels like the comic speaks true words.
      For me — and I struggle with having had no role model — this comic series provides exactly that, in a way.

      I wonder, whether people here have read it, or bits of it, and what their opinions are.

      16 votes
    2. Is Tolkien's prose really that bad?

      Recently I was reading through a discussion on Reddit in which Tolkien's writing and prose were quite heavily criticised. Prior to this I'd never seen much criticism surrounding his writing and so...

      Recently I was reading through a discussion on Reddit in which Tolkien's writing and prose were quite heavily criticised. Prior to this I'd never seen much criticism surrounding his writing and so I was wondering what the general consensus here is.

      The first time I read through The Lord of the Rings, I found myself getting bored of all the songs and the poems and the large stretches between any action, I felt that the pacing was far too slow and I found that I had to force myself to struggle through the book to get to the exciting parts that I had seen so many times in the films. Upon reading through The Lord of the Rings again recently my experience has been completely different and I've fallen in love with his long and detailed descriptions of nature, and the slower pacing.

      Has anyone else experienced something similar when reading his works? Are there more valid criticisms of his prose that extend beyond a craving for the same high-octane action of the films?

      13 votes
    3. What's the next big fantasy series?

      I missed the Witcher, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones boats-- what's the next big fantasy series that's starting right now? Like one book's been recently released and it was a shock how good it...

      I missed the Witcher, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones boats-- what's the next big fantasy series that's starting right now? Like one book's been recently released and it was a shock how good it was, and all of its readers want more?

      I want to hop on a train that'll take me into a fantasy land when the getting's good.

      29 votes
    4. China Miéville

      Is anyone here familiar with his work? Perhaps you could recommend a starting point for someone more inclined towards exploring darker urban / sociopolitical realist "fantasy"; not so interested...

      Is anyone here familiar with his work? Perhaps you could recommend a starting point for someone more inclined towards exploring darker urban / sociopolitical realist "fantasy"; not so interested in escapism for the sake of escapism. LeGuin over Tolkien, etc.

      10 votes
    5. Noticing sources from Information Theory in Le Guin's "soft" fantasy

      Ursula K. Le Guin was my favourite SciFi & Fantasy writer. Her passing earlier in the year was a great loss. I'm reading her scifi-fantasy book Always Coming Home (1985), a compilation of...

      Ursula K. Le Guin was my favourite SciFi & Fantasy writer. Her passing earlier in the year was a great loss.

      I'm reading her scifi-fantasy book Always Coming Home (1985), a compilation of "in-universe" codices and oral traditions as seen by an anthropologist. Her works were usually put in the "soft scifi" bin, as opposed to the "harder" genre. What caught my attention was a passage from the book, as appeared in an oral narrative (p. 161):

      There are records of the red brick people in the Memory of the Exchange, of course, but I don't think many people have ever looked at them. They would be hard to make sense of. The City mind [a vast autonomous network of computers] thinks that sense has been made if a writing is read, if a message is transmitted, but we don't think that way.

      Here we're called to notice the information vs. meaning distinction, for which a lot has been said and will be said. It was striking to me how the definition of "sense" according to the "City mind" closely paralleled the concept of information in Claude E. Shannon's seminal paper, A Mathematical Theory of Communication (PDF link). There, "information" simply meant what was transmitted between a sender and a receiver. It gave rise to a consistent definition of the amount of information based on the Shannon entropy.

      However, we implicitly feel that this concept of information isn't encompassing enough to include meaning -- a vague term, but one we feel to be important. It seems that meaning enters information only as we (or someone) interpret it. In the words of computer scientist Melanie A. Mitchell, "meaning" seems to have an evolutionary value (Complexity: a Guided Tour, 2009). I feel that we could as well say, meaning may be bonded to the bodily and messy reality where flesh and blood living is at stake.

      Returning to the passage in the novel, for me it was read as a rare spark of "hard" science in Le Guin's scifi works. Was it possible that she actually read into the information theory for inspiration? I don't know. But it appears to have captured the tension in the "ever-thorny issue" of meaning vs. information. For the computers, "sense" follows the information-theory concept of information; but for the human people in the story, it "would be hard to make sense of" the information in that way.

      Do you have similar "aha" moments, where you find a insightful moment of grasping an important "hard-science" idea while immersed in a "soft" scifi/fantasy work?

      Or, we can talk about anything vaguely connected to this post :) Let me know.

      10 votes
    6. Any Rothfuss Fans in the House?

      Just finished The Wise Man's Fear, and I'm blown away by the massive amounts of world building interspersed by hella awkward sex scenes. Anyone else eagerly awaiting the next Kingkiller Chronicle...

      Just finished The Wise Man's Fear, and I'm blown away by the massive amounts of world building interspersed by hella awkward sex scenes. Anyone else eagerly awaiting the next Kingkiller Chronicle addition?

      9 votes
    7. Which Hogwarts House is best?

      And why is it Ravenclaw? I figure we might as well get a thread going about the Harry Potter series of books, show that it is popular and that ~HarryPotter needs to be a thing. Which Hogwarts...

      And why is it Ravenclaw?

      I figure we might as well get a thread going about the Harry Potter series of books, show that it is popular and that ~HarryPotter needs to be a thing.

      Which Hogwarts house are you? Find some like-minded friends and start the seeds of a community here.

      14 votes