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  #1831  
Old 03-05-2020, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffdove View Post
Oh, Tolkien had lots of magic items, both explicit and implicit. The Vial of Galadriel was the most obviously magic non-ring item in the books, but there were numerous items from Tolkien that inspired D&D magic items and were implied in the books to have supernatural properties. Just off the top of my head (quotes are from memory, not literal quotes):

Elven cloaks were lifted directly by Gygax for D&D. Tolkien describes seeming supernatural properties, but ascribes them to the elves' craftsmanship not specifically magic.
...
The Palantirs in LOTR are pretty much the common magic crystal ball concept, but possibly cursed. Arguably, the Arkenstone can be interpreted to have a curse on it that affects Thorin especially. I wanted to note too about the elf cloaks, that in my head atleast, as concerns traditional fantasy, there doesn't have to be a clear line between master craftmanship and magic, especially for non-human beings like elves and dwarves. I'd go as far as suggesting that our current concepts of creative genius and master craftman have some similarity with the figure of the magician, wise man, or knower of secrets.

I finished listening and retelling to my kids Celtic Tales by Joseph Jacobson. I read somewhere that retelling a tale (and reliving it through the listener's reactions) is part of the experiencing of it, just like listening and thinking about it is in the first place, and I am inclined to agree. Young kids are so transparent and curious and mine enjoyed these alot.The stories in Celtic Tales contain the ideas behind a lot of what we (or atleast I) are familiar with as standard medieval fantasy. Somehow it seems both stranger and more familiar to me now.

I wanted to listen to either African tales or Norse tales next, and my kids settled it, they want to hear viking stories. So Popular Tales of the Norse it is, by Sir George Webbe Dasent. That is, they aren't specifically tales about vikings or the Norse god's saga, but rather folk tales of the norse people. I read Tolkien mentioned Webbe's work a couple of times at least, and one of the tales inspired Moria somehow. Webbe was also credited of bringing closer together the English and the Norse.

Quote: Full of giants, trolls, heroes, and beautiful princesses, these 42 folktales include such favorites as "Temptations," "The Magician's Pupil," "Legend of Tannhäuser," "The Outlaw," "The Widow's Son," and "The Goatherd."
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Last edited by Alex1983; 03-06-2020 at 01:28 AM.
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  #1832  
Old 03-07-2020, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffdove View Post
Oh, Tolkien had lots of magic items, both explicit and implicit.
Hah, I should've known about all those but drew a block when I tried to think about magical items. Though some of them I never really thought of as magical (I always considered some more like masterwork, but like Alex said, the difference could be in semantics). Corrupted by the movies, no doubt.
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  #1833  
Old 03-07-2020, 12:39 PM
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What I am currently reading? Hmm, that'll be this Edgar Allen Poe anthology I picked up at Barnes and Nobles. The forward opened my eyes to him a lot more and what made his writing style unique. It definitely has influence my writing style. His main theme was basically the death of something beautiful. I didn't catch that when I was younger. Besides that, I picked up a Lovecraft anthology to help me learn more about crafting horror stories and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran which I regret saying I had never heard of but the premise caught my attention. I really enjoy classic literature especially the modernism movement and my dream job would be to teach literature.

Besides those, I really got into Pathfinder 2nd editon so been picking up their books and doing some studying for my game group and society play if I can find a group. So yeah, that's what I've been reading.
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  #1834  
Old 03-17-2020, 09:30 AM
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I recently read and enjoyed Rosewater (The Wormwood Trilogy, #1) by Tade Thompson. Recommended! Scifi with kind of a cyberpunk feel, written by a Nigerian and set in Nigeria.

I enjoyed it much more than the much more highly critically rated scifi that I read previously, which promised plot twists and imaginative ideas but I found very plodding and workmanlike without much ingenuity (Children of Time and Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky.) Those two (thick) books were good, but not great.
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  #1835  
Old 04-03-2020, 07:12 AM
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Being a StarWars fan but not a SW nerd, I was surprised to find out there actually existed sequel books way before the recent cinematic debacle.
So far I'm thoroughly enjoying the first book, Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn.
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  #1836  
Old 04-03-2020, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delafontaine View Post
Being a StarWars fan but not a SW nerd, I was surprised to find out there actually existed sequel books way before the recent cinematic debacle.
So far I'm thoroughly enjoying the first book, Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn.
I've heard a lot of people like Heir to the Empire. I'm not one of them. I thought it was too reminiscent of the movies, basically the New Trilogy but done right.

I would instead recommend the Young Han Solo Trilogy by Ann C. Crispin, Darksaber by Kevin J. Anderson, Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry, and the Revenge of the Sith novelization by Matthew Stover.
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  #1837  
Old 04-06-2020, 11:57 AM
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Currently reading "Meeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland" by Eddie Lenihan & Carolyn Eve Green. It's a collection of gathered stories of Fairy Folk throughout Ireland. I was prompted to re-read it after re-reading "How The Irish Saved Civilization" from Thomas Cahill. Also a worthwhile read.
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  #1838  
Old 04-08-2020, 02:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thanatus Mors View Post
Currently reading "Meeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland" by Eddie Lenihan & Carolyn Eve Green. It's a collection of gathered stories of Fairy Folk throughout Ireland. I was prompted to re-read it after re-reading "How The Irish Saved Civilization" from Thomas Cahill. Also a worthwhile read.
amazon link
Interesting, I've been reading similar stuff recently by chance. I recently listened to the classic Celtic Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, and retelling the tales to my kids. A lot of them were of Irish origen. Great stuff. And quite recently have been reading The People of The Secret which explains the influence Ireland had on Europe in the medieval age and suggest they had inherited their love for learning, knowledge, and wisdom from their Celtic ancestors. Anyway thanks, I will check those books out. By the way, do you think the stories of Hidden Ireland are kid-friendly more or less, or could easily be adapted like that?
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  #1839  
Old 04-08-2020, 07:20 AM
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I somewhat forgot about this thread, but then again it felt like I had been reading the same thing for quite a while and like nothing was truly new. Technically that's not true, as I've been alternating between the books in the Chronicles of Amber and novels outside of the fantasy genre as a palate cleanser, but going back to the same setting again and again blurred it into one a bit.

I'm now on book eight of Amber, and all in all I have mixed feelings about the series since passing the halfway mark.

One to five were serviceable. I enjoyed them, though they didn't blow me away as such. Six and onwards just sort of highlighted the weaknesses of the narrative that had been there before and amplified them, so at this point I think if I hadn't bought this in one mammoth volume I would just stop reading right about now. Since I have them already I'll finish it, but my heart is not entirely in it.

Since it feels like a lot of people adore the chronicles of amber I'll keep the critique shortish: It just feels like the characterisations are extremely light, which makes all the turncoating and twists feel unimpactful. I don't feel like I truly got to know any of the characters. I suppose you know the most about the mains, but they change and the first one has amnesia, so yeah. Enemies turn to friends repeatedly before a real enemy is revealed, some person that for the most part is introduced then and there, and repeat. Same goes for setting details, it all goes wider and never any deeper, the sort of complexity a telenovella has. There's one pattern, but before we even see that there is a mirror of that pattern. Then there is another pattern in another world, and then there is a true pattern behind it all. There's some other guys with their version of a pattern, and I'm just counting the pages until that also has mirrors and duplicates. Things are introduced, not explored all that much and then other factions are thrown in the mix and we move on. It feels sort of improvised at times.
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  #1840  
Old 04-08-2020, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex1983 View Post
Interesting, I've been reading similar stuff recently by chance. I recently listened to the classic Celtic Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, and retelling the tales to my kids. A lot of them were of Irish origen. Great stuff. And quite recently have been reading The People of The Secret which explains the influence Ireland had on Europe in the medieval age and suggest they had inherited their love for learning, knowledge, and wisdom from their Celtic ancestors. Anyway thanks, I will check those books out. By the way, do you think the stories of Hidden Ireland are kid-friendly more or less, or could easily be adapted like that?
They are actually fairly kid friendly, and as the author points out, the purpose of many of these stories is to teach kids where to go/not go, what to do/not do, etc. in a way that they carry with them into adulthood. The interesting thing about these fairy folk stories is that they are creepy and terrifying in a way that's not easily recognizable to our modern sensibilities. There's a very real, although mischievous malevolence at play. While the stakes are very real, there's also an ineffability and evanescence about the threat that makes it almost impossible to defend against; it can only be avoided. There are no silver bullets, no crosses, or sunlight. If you encounter it and get away with your life/soul intact, the implication that you are simply very lucky. It's a unique genre that I highly recommend, and one I plan to look at more deeply.
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  #1841  
Old 05-08-2020, 01:07 PM
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I've been reading Terry Pratchett, Discworld series lately
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  #1842  
Old 05-08-2020, 04:53 PM
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I've recently finished off The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang back-to-back - it's an alternate earth, low-magic China that just has such fascinating world-building and characters it sucked me in. It has war - and doesn't pull its punches either, reader be warned - but it's the first new series in quite awhile that's really pulled my attention like that.

I've been re-reading classic Foundation books - up to the Mule - and am about to start Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, which is another well-reviewed series.
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  #1843  
Old 05-09-2020, 05:13 PM
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Just wanted to show off my latest Book Cover. This one goes live on Amazon next Friday! So far the early bird price has made it my best pre-order by far.
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