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Topics - guessingo

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Books / How many books/year do you read?
« on: March 10, 2010, 09:59:34 PM »
I think many of you destroy me in reading volume. I'll include audiobooks in my case too since I like them alot (I use them in my car and when i ride my bike). I think in total I have read or listened to about 220 novels in my life. For most Americans that is alot, many of you probably beat that when you were kids.

I have probably also read all or large parts of about 150 non-fiction books. This does not include all the technical documentation I read at work. I often don't read entire non-fiction books (programming books often overlap for example so I skip stuff).

What about you? I sense that Peter and Bookstore guy have read exponentially more than me. I'll bet Brandon has read alot more than me too. John Scalzi blogged that he reads 1-2 books/week.

Books / sfsite's best reads of 2009
« on: March 07, 2010, 09:26:37 PM »
Which ones have you read and do you like the choices? We can skip Gathering Storm. Everyone here knows about these.

I read Spin by Robert Charles Wilson and it was GREAT. I want to read Julian Comstock when I get a chance. Alot of people here also seen to like Ian Banks and Joe Abercrombie.

I think the Windup Girl was nominated for a Hugo.

Books / Saga of the Seven Suns by Kevin J Anderson
« on: March 05, 2010, 02:21:48 AM »
Someone on here mentioned him, so I checked him out... Are these good? My public library has a fairly limited supply of sci-fi/fantasy audiobooks. After I finish Wheel of Time on audio (yes I read them too), I need a new series. I want to stick with sci-fi/fantasy for now. Yeah I like to read too, but I have a sedentary job... so I don't want to sit on the couch when I get home plus I prefer books to movies in my car. 

Are these good? The library has the whole series.

I have liked the reviews I have seen on here.

Movies and TV / Song of Ice and Fire coming to HBO
« on: March 04, 2010, 01:15:10 AM »

Notice only 10 episodes? HBO usually does 12. Probably 10 due to the cost of the show. Rome got cancelled after 2 seasons because it was too expensive. I would think it would air Spring/Summer 2011. HBO doesn't rush new shows and only airs 1-2 shows at a time. ]

I think this is good news for all of fantasy. If they do a good job, it could lead to more fantasy books being made into TV shows and movies.

Books / Random House to write for video games
« on: March 01, 2010, 11:23:46 PM »
This is interesting. Sounds like they are going to develop stories for video games. It doesn't sound like they are pitching the books they publish since they don't own the rights to the books themselves. Sounds like they will contract authors to do this.

I don't know if they will get many takers... why pay random house for an idea? They can get those themselves. It is the technical details more than anything else that determines how well a game does.

this sounded interesting so i am posting it. There is a 30 second commercial first.

Writing Group / other good writing forums?
« on: February 28, 2010, 04:12:05 PM »
What are some other good forums for writers?

Writing Group / Book contracts and getting paid
« on: February 25, 2010, 06:04:26 PM »
I have read John Scalzi and Michael Stackpole's blog recently and they discuss how they have to call their publishes to remind them to pay them. Don't book contracts have payment deadlines for royalties? If it is bi-annual payment, it is paid on X date? If not what do they say about when you get paid?

Brandon Sanderson / question about Brandon and editing
« on: February 25, 2010, 04:31:23 PM »
I just read his latest update about Towers of Midnight. Anyone know the following.

1. is he exclusively working with Harriet and Team Jordan on this or is his other editor at TOR Moshe Feder editing the book also?
2. When he says 82% done, I am assuming he has sent what he has done to his editors and they got back to him or do writers write the whole book and then send it to the editors?
3. by done this summer, does that mean done, done. Such as all editing, copy editing, etc... ?
4. does copy editing go on why you are 80% done with a book or is that the last thing you do when you are done writing?
5. by final version of Way of Kings. Is that final version before all editing (including copy editing) or final and done version ready to go on sale?
6. what interior artwork for Way of Kings? Does he mean maps and pictures for new pages? Doesn't an artist do this? Or does brandon sketch them out first?

Brandon Sanderson / Mistborn question
« on: February 23, 2010, 02:08:57 PM »
Just finished the trilogy. Is there another book planned or some tie in to other books? I have seen something about shards on the forum. This was mentioned briefly toward the end of the 3rd book. However, the end of the 3rd book had a "PS there are 2 more metals" and when I look at the guide several things that metals do were not explained.

This hints at more to come for mistborn.

Books / Historical Fiction?
« on: February 22, 2010, 08:39:28 PM »
Does anyone else here like historical fiction? I like ancient and midievil historical fiction. One thing I find interesting about it is that I like to compare medievil historical fiction to fantasy. Fantasy authors tend to gloss over alot of things in their book. Part because most don't do alot of research and I think in part because fantasy readers really don't want a real medievil world.

For example, people rarely bathed and were filthy. They typically had teeth rotting out of their head by 25. Most people did not have enough to eat and were malnurished. Virtually all fantasy worlds have people who are far too wealthy (ie even having enough food to eat) than they are and everyone seems to have their teeth.

I don't really mind. It is entertainment and I don't think their audience is interested. Anyway here are some really good historical novels and authors:

The Pillars of the Earth (Ridley Scott filmed this for a mini-series. out this year) and World without End by Ken Follett. These are brilliant historical novels that take place in the middle ages. Many people who read Pillars say it is the best book they ever read. It is the kind of history book fantasy authors should read. World without End is not as good, but still great.

Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome: This 7 book series is about the late republic's crash into empire. Yes, Caesar is in it. However, it starts before he is born. There is a Julius Caesar in the first book and it is his grand father. It ends with Octavian defeating Mark Anthony and taking over the empire. There is an INCREDIBLE amount of research in this book.

WARNING: Takes a long time to get into the flow. There are vast numbers of characters and Romans are not too creative with names (romans tend to use the same names over and over again) and she uses latin terms alot, so you have to go to the glossary. So give it a good 300 pages in The First Man in Rome. It is worth it...

Steven Saylor: He writes mystery novels that take place in the same period as McCullough. You see alot of the same events but from a different angle. His best book is Roma. He is the only author I know of to write about early rome. He has a series of Vignettes that go from the founding of Rome up to Mark Antony. Alot of the early history is sort of "this is how it might have happened" since the early history is more legend than real history. There is not alot of data on early rome. The city was burned by Gauls in its early history and most history before that was destroyed. This includes the history of the kings.

Lyndsey Davis: She also writes Roman mystery novels. Her novels take place in the late 1st Century AD and after the empire was created. She does not focus as much on actual historical events. You see more of the seedy side of Rome. Alot of women will like this because they have a very strong female character (love interest of the Roman detective). She is fairly anachronistic and if you know Roman history, not really believable... but very entertaining.

She also has a new book about the English Civil War (1600s) that I wan to read.

Mary Kay Penman: Writes about the middle ages in england. Some may not find her as entertaining. Her research is incredibly accurate. She does, however, use speech patterns common to the age and it does take time to get used to it. If you like George RR Martin, read "The Sunne in Splendour". As many people known Ice and Fire is basically England during the War of the Roses. This book takes place during the war of the roses.

Cersei is the french queen
Plus its easy to pick out the Starks (Yorks) and the Lannisters(Lancasters). Really cool to read. I wonder if GRRM read this when researching his book?

If you want ONE historical book to read, READ THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH. It is remarkable. I mean stunning.

Writing Group / writing groups
« on: February 22, 2010, 02:16:35 PM »
how did the one where this forum was created get formed? How do you find one? How do they work? Do you take turns reading each others work? How many comments do you give?

I get the impression that alot of professional authors don't use writing groups. Is it more for newbies?

Writing Group / Drafts
« on: February 21, 2010, 10:55:14 PM »
How many drafts are common before a book is published? I read that brandon usually makes 7-8 drafts, but Wheel of Time was 17. Michael Stackpole wrote that he never does more than 3.

I would think books are typically (but not always) of higher quality of you do more drafts. I would also think that books that are expected to sell less copies will have less drafts. In part because the author has to eat and the book needs to be published and in part because the publisher does not want its editors spending as much time on the books.

Also, do smaller publishers work with less drafts than big ones?

Anyone have any information on this? Each draft is a considerable amount of time for an editor.

Books / Sci-Fi authors
« on: February 20, 2010, 05:31:56 PM »
This forum seems to be more of a fantasy forum. How about talking about Sci-Fi. However, lets skip the really famous guys that everyone knows. We all know about Orson Scott Card and such. Who are some not so famous sci-fi authors that you like. Here are a few of mine.

Jack McDevitt: He writes sci-fi archeology which is a neat twist. He has space archeologists going and doing research. It is an interesting twist. They are just different than other books. No real epic battles. No poor kid saving the day. Cool stuff though.

Stephen Baxter: He is an engineer by trade so writes hard science fiction. My two favorite by him are Voyage. It is a what if we went to Mars in 1986 like we planned in the 1960s. It talks pros and cons. Pros, we go to mars. Cons, we only go to mars. We can't afford anything. So only a few people go into space and no unmanned probes. VERY well done.

The Light of Other days. He co-authored this with Arther C. Clarke. It asks what happens if we get a device that can see anywhere in the world at any time. So anyone can see what anyone else is doing. No privacy, but no crime (how do you get away with anything?). Very interesting read.

Robert Charles Wilson: He is pretty well known and has a bunch of awards. He is also Stephen Kings favorite sci-fi author. His book Spin was reviewed on here. I really liked it. The sequel Axis is not that good. I want to read Julian Comstock when I get a chance.

Brandon Sanderson / writing excuses
« on: February 19, 2010, 05:54:28 PM »
Started listening to this and I really like it. I like how it is short and gets to the point quickly.

Anyway, how did this get started? What is the rationale for doing it? Is it mainly advertising for the authors to get their name out more?

Books / anyone been to a con?
« on: February 19, 2010, 01:20:47 PM »
what do you do there? Is it mostly hear authors speak and get books signed?

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