Blog Archives

25 Series I Want To Read in 2015

I began this particular reading challenge in 2013, as a way to motivate myself to read widely across genres and also to kind of catch-up on some big names of the various genres I haven’t been able to get around to as yet. The 2013 challenge was a close one for me, and last year’s challenge I completed in full, though there was a bit of a snag with that one early on. Either way, I still love this challenge immensely, given all the different flavours and styles I get to sample with it, and so here’s the 25 series I am looking forward to reading in 2015.

You can see the previous list for 2014 here and 2013 here.

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P&M 10: Let It Go, Or Not

Some of my more popular posts last year were the editorials I did under the header Publishing & Marketing. It was a new column that I started last year, with the intent of doing a post every month. And I mostly stuck to that, in the end. Writing editorials, especially for this column, was quite an interesting experiencing. For one, it allowed me to talk about some of the things going on in publishing and address some of the controversies. Second, the conversation that was generated proved to be illuminating. I haven’t done any posts like these in a while, spending the time developing the review side of the blog for the last few months, but now it is back for its 2014 edition, and the first topic is, well, interesting.

About two and a half years back, Mark Lawrence’s debut novel Prince of Thorns arrived to some fanfare on the open market. And a lot of people went wild about it. Roughly a year later followed the sequel, King of Thorns, and then a year after that we had the concluding volume Emperor of Thorns. Mark has proven to be one of the most controversial authors in recent years because his protagonist, Jorg Ancrath, starts off as a pre-teen bandit leader who murders and rapes people in the very first few pages of Prince of Thorns. His actions later on in the novel, and the portrayal of women in general, are also quite sexist and misogynistic. For more, you can read my review. Suffice to say, it wasn’t a novel I enjoyed, and I’ve made it quite plain ever since.

Now, in a few short months we will be having Mark’s second trilogy getting its start, which is also set in the same world as the Broken Empire trilogy as above, and it too features a character who is a gambler and a womanizer, among other things. Yesterday evening, a friend was talking to me about some of the books he is looking forward to and one of the books he mentioned was Mark’s new novel Prince of Fool, the first in this new Red Queen’s War trilogy. And I happened to say something about it that brought Mark out and has now led to an interesting discussion.

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The A-to-Z Author Survey

Earlier this month I posted two surveys on my blog. Sort-of surveys at any rate. You can find the one about books here and the one about comics here. I really had a lot of fun doing those, and I thought it would be fun to doing them again, but with a cool twist that I hope sounds as inspired to you as it does me. Or maybe not.

I spent the last 3 hours thinking of some kind of a blogpost to write. There are some ideas I had but nothing I could put up today, which was the whole point really. So yeah, this is going to follow the same meta layout as the other surveys. I’m not limiting this survey to just novelists, I’m including comics writers as well.

Hope you enjoy! And do share your thoughts in the comments!

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Publishing and Marketing 07: A Reviewer’s Self-Examination

A few days ago I came across a review of Mark Lawrence’s second Broken Empire novel, King of Thorns (link), which is up for nomination for the David Gemmell Legend Awards in the Legend category. The Legend Award is given to the Best Novel of the previous year. On Twitter and Facebook, I talked about how that review justified all my reasons and fears for not reading further into this series after my experiences with the first novel, Prince of Thorns (review).

My tweets eventually spawned off a discussion about negative reviews, which led into the review that forms the basis and reason for this entire post.  In January last year, reviewer Liz Bourke wrote about Michael J. Sullivan’s first Riyria Revelations novel, Theft of Swords (link). This review was brought to my attention by a friend on Twitter who had taken exception to the way that Liz Bourke took potshots at the author and his editors at Orbit Books.

Going through the review and the comments thread, some things become apparent to me as to the intent of the review, the tone it is written in, and what, ultimately, were the reactions. However, what really ended up happening was that it all sparked off some self-examination about negative reviews. And that’s what this post is all about.

So welcome to another Publishing and Marketing blogpost.

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Reviewer’s Etiquette: Making An Apology

Being withing the publishing-related blogosphere, etiquette is becoming ever more important day by day. Week on week there is some instance where etiquette breaks down and some kind of meltdown happens. Last year was especially notorious in that regard with several controversies stemming from reviews over at Goodreads where authors and their posse attacked reviewers for negative comments or even vice versa where reviewers (Goodreads reviewers to be specific) engaged in deliberate author baiting.

It was so bad for a while, in my opinion, that it was as if Goodreads was just going to implode and gain a certain notoriety to such an extent that authors would just give up on the site altogether. Fortunately, that never happened.

In recent times, it has all been replaced by a beast of another kind: reviewers baiting each other or authors engaging in some really despicable bigoted thinking that is absolutely vile (no, I’m not referring to a certain “master” SF author here). The latest example of the reviewer baiting happened a few days ago over at Fantasy Faction. And the culprit happened to be none other than “Overlord” Marc Aplin, who runs the site and is its chief editor.

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