As part of my “Top 25 Series To Read In 2013” reading challenge, I’ve read a fair amount of books this year that can be considered to be classics of science fiction and fantasy, in all their different forms. There is a certain charm to all these novels that has persisted long after they were first published. Whether we talk about Frank Herbert’s space operatic political intrigue epic Dune or Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s true-to-style epic fantasy Dragons of Autumn Twilight, I’ve had a lot of fun with these novels.
And that is my question: are they re-readable? I’ve read Dune and Dragons of Autumn Twilight several times since when I first read them in 2001. I think they are rereadable, but I’m not completely sure. Is the question answerable in part with regard to whether the book is good or not? We shall see.
Friend and reviewer Ria, over at her blog Bibliotropic, posted a while back about subjectivity and objectivity in reviews. Her post was borne out of her experience reading a novel that, while in and of itself was a good piece of fiction, did not measure so well when put in context of the genre it was written in. In short, she was writing about subjectivity and objectivity in reviews as an experience, rather than a review style or mindset.
And it got me thinking about my own experiences. I had never really considered this before, you see. I approach each novel, each comic, as an object on its own, without the context of the wider genre or industry first and foremost. That evaluation is something I do subconsciously, without thought, and it is automatic. In my reviews, I rarely if ever mention whether the piece of fiction being reviewed compares to the industry/genre at large. I merely note if it is as good as other books/comics I’ve read, and even then, I use a very sample of such works, only the ones that I consider to be absolute best.
And therein is the contradiction of it.
About a week or so ago, I posted a list of some of my favourite female authors in SFF, past and present (that is, some of the women on the list are now sadly deceased). For the follow-up, I wanted to focus on some of my favorite female characters in SFF, irrespective of genre. Until March last year, I didn’t really have such a list in my mind. Even though I had read a few books by then that had female protagonists or supporting characters, I’d never really considered if any of them were my “favourites”. But that changed around quickly when I read Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar, and all of a sudden, I realised that there were so many female characters I’d read of over the years that I would put on a list of favourites.
It was a really interesting revelation, and it led to me paying much more attention to such characters in the books I was reading, or had read, or would read. One thing that I noticed while compiling this list was that for the most part my favourite female characters fall into the role of the “warrior”, which is another subconscious thing I never really paid attention to.
Really weird how these things work out.
Once again, as caveat for this list, this is by no means comprehensive, just a small selection of a much wider range. And in this list, I’m not limiting myself to just novels and the like, I’m extending it to comics and movies as well, given that I am much more familiar with these media in terms of the content, rather than with the creators. Feel free to check out my reviews (books and comics) of the various novels I’ve read in the last two years for a bigger interest list.
I last did something like this in July for the six months from January 1st all the way to June 30th. This list is for July 1st and all the way through to December 30th (the last day doesn’t count!). As I mentioned at the end of that list, this isn’t going to be regurgitation of my “Reading Awards” page, but something more varied. The list takes into account everything I’ve read in the last six months.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
So, yesterday was kind of an awesome day. At least it began like that. I pushed through a 2000-word movie review for Dredd 3D where I was all praise for the film. It felt good to write a review like that, especially since I hadn’t realized I would have so much to talk about when I started it. And then, in the evening, I got the biggest surprise of all:
As you can see, The Founding Fields has a blurb in this book. Said book being Swords of Waar by Nathan Long and the blurb being from my review of Jane Carver of Waar, the first book in Nathan’s new series that is inspired in part from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter novels. You can find my review of the book here.
This happens to be the second published blurb for The Founding Fields, the other being from blog owner Commissar Ploss, and this is a huge, huge thing for us. Particularly for me, since that’s MY FREAKIN FIRST EVER REVIEW BLURB. *AHEM* There was much oooh-ing and aaaah-ing when Larry (co-blog owner) informed me about this yesterday and when he sent me that pic above. I’m super, super excited for this. This is like a validation for everything I’ve done in the 13 months that I’ve been reviewing and its all thanks to Ploss since he is the one who set me on this path, to being a more professional reviewer than I’d envisioned myself being when I wrote my first one for this very blog.
So yeah, thanks to Nathan Long for an excellent novel, thanks to Night Shade Books for publishing this piece of awesomeness, and thanks to everybody who’s supported me this far.
Did I also mention that Nathan Long is one of my top favourite authors? Yeah, that too!!
Now I can’t wait for my copy of Swords of Waar to arrive. Epic! I was so over-the-moon about this that I went ahead and bought Jane Carver of Waar then and there from the bookstore. It looks so epic and shiny and beautiful that words absolutely fail me.
And also, shoutout to my friend Justin Landon from the Staffer’s Musings blog who is quoted below me. Cheers man!
Twitter has been buzzing lately with “best of the year so far” and “most anticipated lists”. Looks like everybody and their fictional cat is on the bandwagon. So I thought I’d do one too, a “best of the half-year” list that is. I mean why not, I’ve read so much good stuff this year that it all deserves recognition anyway. I already do a top-of-the-month list anyway, as you can see on the Reading Awards page, so this should be good fun either way.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!