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It’s Friday, Let’s Blog…

Fantasy Magazine’s Cat Rambo asks what books you’d add to a fantasy reading list.

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Inverted World by Christopher Priest

Many books of science fiction or fantasy can bend your mind, but few will bend it so deeply as Christopher Priest’s Inverted World, originally published in 1974 and now available in a new edition from the New York Review of Books.

That imprint, which generally steers clear of genre fiction, should tip you off that this is not light fare. In fact, in several distinct categories–including the inventiveness and believability of its scientific premises, the relentlessness of its political subversion, and the depth of its narrator’s tragedy–it belongs in a category all its own. On top of this, the book is psychedelic in the extreme. In several places, the things taking place in its physical world opened doors in my imagination I had never known existed. The only books that comes anywhere close in that regard would be those of Philip K Dick at his trippiest–say, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. But where Dick’s playful insights are conveyed in language at times sloppy, Priest is stately, sometimes even cold, and extremely precise about his craft. The tone and (at least superficially) the setting are similar to what you’d expect from a novel of high fantasy in which the whole world revolves around the hero’s quest.

Inverted World opens in the first person, with the initiation of young Helward Ward into the guild of Future Surveyors. From the first sentence, “I had reached the age of 650 miles,” readers are aware that something is deeply wrong about this world. We know it has something to do with the relationship between space and time, but beyond this we can only guess.

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Holiday Break

Columbus Day weekend is upon us!  There are cons and vacations and people running out to take advantage of the last little bit of global warming before the cold descends on us for real.  We’re going to take a break this weekend — no Blog for a Beer.  But, if you’re jonesing for something to […]

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Gremlins!!

This morning some gremlins got into our system, delaying Blog for a Beer and then making the comment section go away. Sorry, we forgot not to feed them after midnight. All has been fixed — hopefully for good!

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Blog For A Beer – Open Thread

We haven’t had an Open Thread in a long time, so that’s what this week will be. Post anything interesting in the comments (as long as it has something to do with genre) — a snippet of your WiP or some opinion on the impending cancellation of Sarah Connor Chronicles or how old you felt once you found out it had been ten years since Harry Potter first came or anything else.

The person who best entertains or moves us wins the prize!

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Blog For A Beer: Should A Series Die When The Author Does?

A couple of days ago the Guardian reported that Eoin Colfer will write a sixth Hitchhiker’s Guide book (as most of you are well aware). I’m not a particular fan of that series, and I realize that Adams’ widow definitely wanted and sanctioned the project, so I have nothing against it. But hearing the news did get me thinking about other series that have continued after the original writer died. (Sometimes long after.) I’m not talking about Nancy Drew-type situations where a roster of authors filled in, but more along the lines of the Dune books, which Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson can’t seem to leave alone.

One of the most famous recent examples is Robert Jordon, who passed away last year without having finished the Wheel of Time series. It will be completed, though, by people both he and his family trust and based on his own notes and unpublished material.

Since his father’s death, Christopher Tolkien has published a lot of unfinished or unpublished material, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even the Unfinished Tales were crack for the avid LOTR fan.

It seemed like long after she died, Marion Zimmer Bradley was still “co-writing” Avalon books, though Diana Paxson had collaborated with her for a long time, so it is possible Bradley left a lot of material in her hands.

I also can’t help but think of all the TV shows by Gene Roddenberry that didn’t hit our screens until after he died.

Do you think it’s appropriate for book series to continue after an author has died? Under what circumstances does it seem more okay than others? Does your need to keep reading about those characters or that world transcend the actual author, or, in the end, is it just not the same without them?

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Guest Column: Five Thoughts On The Popularity Of Steampunk

1. It’s Geekery The Genders Can Share

On the most basic, most appealing social level, steampunk is a way to masculinize romance. That is to say: Steampunk takes something stereotypically feminine that most boys hate — Victorian lace and frills and tea and crumpets — and says, “Hey, how about some robots with that?”

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Please Take Our Survey

It’s been over a month since we rolled out the new Fantasy magazine look and introduced more types of content. We’re interested in how well this works for you, our readers, and ways we can improve. You are what drives this magazine, after all. So please fill out this survey. It’s only 10 questions and shouldn’t take very long.

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The Opposite of Life by Narrelle M. Harris

The big news in vampire fiction lately has been, of course, the latest book in the Twilight series: Breaking Dawn. Tweaking the fundamental nature of vampires isn’t new (see this rousing discussion from two weeks ago) but the nature of those tweaks is the difference between simplistic Mary Sue fantasies and vampire stories that have some heft. The Opposite of Life by Narrelle M. Harris falls into the latter category. And though the book takes its cues more from modern conceptions of vampires than old-school Dracula-types, Harris manages to keep vampires firmly in the scary and dangerous zone.

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Around the Blogosphere: Podcastle Reviews, KGB Photos, What’s Wrong with Steampunk

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