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The SFF Chronicles Science Fiction & Fantasy Community

Top 10 reads of 2018

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I had a good look and can't find this year's thread for us to list our favourite reads of the year. We used to do this every year, so I figured I'd put this up again and see who salutes. In order that I read them, my favourite 10 novels of the year are (perhaps):

C. J. Cherryh - Foreigner
H. Rider Haggard - King Solomon's Mines
Charles Dickens - Hard Times
Andrzej Sapkowski - The Last Wish
Nevil Shute - A Town Like Alice...

Gathering only 99p until News Year's Eve!

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Just heads-ups that my debut novel, Gathering (Chronicles of Empire 1):

- is only 99p/99c for the ebook until New Year's Eve
- the paperback has been slashed to less than £3
- it's been refreshed, with the prologue removed, and chapters now following a more traditional pattern (with only a few very minor tweaks to the text to accommodate this). If you have a Kindle version but haven't started reading Gathering yet, I recommend refreshing your copy...

The biggest problems with Jordan's books...and why he's a weak writer.

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1. 90% of the social dynamic is based on a very simplistic "battle of the sexes" mentality that is just very repetitive and 2 dimensional. I'm not sure any female characters have ever had a conversation in any of the books where they did not include a line like, "Men! Just children with hair on their chest, really, how do we put up with them!" Or some other completely over the top male-bashing. I'd say this infects 90% of male-female interactions, 90% of all...

Sir Edric Christmas discount!

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“Spewed Coffee on the Screen I Laughed so Hard” - Jo Michaels, Amazon.com review of The Adventures of Sir Edric

“...this book is ideal for both fantasy fans and booklovers in general looking who are looking for something different...” - The Tattooed Book Geek, Amazon.co.uk review of The Adventures of Sir Edric


If you’ve seen bits and pieces of Sir Edric but never got around to buying the books, or you like fantasy/comedy and have just heard of him, now’s the...

The Fall of Arthur by J.R.R.Tolkien

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I thought this was truly marvellous. I really enjoyed it.

The book is made up of:
(1) Five Cantos of Tolkien’s poem “The Fall of Arthur” (about 40 pages)
(2) Brief notes on the poem (about 10 pages)
(3) Three essays by Christopher Tolkien
(i) The poem in Arthurian Tradition
(ii) The Unwritten Poem and its Relation to the Silmarillion
(iii) The Evolution of the Poem
(4) Appendix: Old English Verse (about 10 pages).

As you probably already know...

Up To The Throne by TA Frost released - and Free Chapter 1!

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My new book, Up To The Throne, is now out! It's a dark fantasy novel set in a magically-enhanced Renaissance, and tells of how one woman's search for revenge threatens to unbalance an entire city. It's available on Kindle, and the first chapter is free to download from my own website:

Revenge is never simple...

Giulia Degarno returns to the city-state of Pagalia with one intention: to kill the man who scarred her and left her for dead. But...

Rebellion: Modern History TV

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I've posted about Rebellion's boss, Jason Kingsley, and his involvement in mediaeval tournaments: Article on Rebellion Publishing's owner

Since then, Rebellion have been posting videos about knights and horses in the mediaeval period, under the channel Modern History TV: Modern History TV

I've only watched a couple of videos so far...

Writing Odd Couples in Fantasy

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I'm writing my second novella featuring my Odd Couple partners-in-mischief/crime - a bouncy little kitsune and grumpy little water elemental - and I'm finding it endlessly amusing to follow them on their adventures and to develop their friendship. (And my writing group finds them entertaining as well.)

Anyone else here who likes writing books and stories featuring Odd Couples?

How do you avoid falling into stereotypes like "a pair of mismatched cops teaming up...

Density of invented words

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I am reading a story were the author (his first attempt to write) use a lot of invented words to name beings, properties and deities. The text is supra-saturated with such words, e.g. the first 2 paragraphs (146 words) he have 5 invented words. The list of invented words grows larger as you advance the reading as does the confusion in my mind.

So, how many words are safe to invent in a story?

Does the length of the story (5k vs 90k) gives you the possibility to...

Review: The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French

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I saw this book going for 99p in an Amazon Daily Deal. It didn't look like the sort of book I'd like, but I figured on take a look at the sample anyway.

Chapter 1 was a clear example of how to do infodumping right - just enough context as necessary, with tight writing and pacing. So I read on.

Set on a borderland waste, The Grey Bastards is a generous mix of Western setting in a Fantasy context. But it also has an...

Review: The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge

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The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge is a fantastic story about Iron-Age Britain just before, during, and after the Roman invasion under Claudius.

It mainly follows the fortunes - and misfortunes - of Caradoc (aka, Caractacus) who grows from being a wild youth happy to raid his neighbours, to being weighed down with the responsibility of leading an uprising against Roman occupation. We also follow Boudicca and other...

Circe by Madeline Miller

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First, I should say that this was just (as in this week) voted "Fantasy Book of the Year" on Goodreads. Second, the readers there got it right.

In Circe, Madeline Miller delivers the full package. Compelling characters? Check. Excellent storytelling? Check. Powerful, subtle, simple yet elegant prose? Check. Compelling characters? What, did I say that already? Then let me say it again. In this book, you will be beguilled by Circe as you watch her grow, as...

Bick's thoughts on the Discworld novels

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I was in the middle of reading other books, and had quite different plans, and then I made the mistake of picking up a Discworld book and read a few pages, found myself dragged into it and ended up reading it in a day or so. I then pulled the next one down off the shelf and read that similarly quickly. And now I just finished a third and picked up a fourth. These books are a bit like wine gums or Pringles. Hard to stop. I imagine I'll end up reading a fair...

'What's the blast radius of a supernova?'

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What's the blast radius of a supernova.jpg

Hi there everyone, thanks in advance for your thoughts. Those of you coming at this from the thread ‘fighting fire in microgravity’ will know that my current (much, much, stalled) project is a document to help authors who want to write some (just some!) realistic physics into their science fiction. I do this in-person for a few authors already as I've got good qualifications in physics and space...

Doctor Who (37) 11:09 It Takes You Away.

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I don't care what others say, I loved this episode.

The caves with the Gollum like creature, the fleshing eating flies that reminded me of evil fairies, a mirror portal to a parallel universe, it had an amazing fantasy feel to it.

I really felt for Graham having to give up Grace again. Ryan was better this week, liked the interaction with Hannah.

Best one so far.

December 2018 reading thread

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Another month, more reading. :)

I've just finished The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge, a superb novel about the Britons during the Roman invasion, and the following resistance to it. It was truly enlightening to read about Romans from an outside perspective. I'll be putting a review up for that soon.

I'm also still reading Black and British by David Olusoga - which is proving excellent to dip into on an evening. I'm also still reading A...

December 2018 -- 75-word writing challenge -- VICTORY TO MAD ALICE!

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Write a story inspired by the chosen theme and genre in no more than 75 words (that's right, gotta give those extra ten words from last month back!), not including the title

ONE entry per person

NO links, commentary or extraneous material in the posts, please -- the stories must stand on their own


Mars Rover Testing in the Moroccan Sahara Desert

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This Friday I'll be privileged enough to travel to the Ibn Battuta test Centre in Erfoud in the Moroccan Sahara Desert to support tests for advanced robotic software technologies which are anticipated to be used for Next Generation Mars exploration missions. The tests represent the culmination of four years work on the international R&D programme which has been coordinated by ESA and five national agencies (CNES, ASI, DLR, CDTI & UKSA), and a cluster of...

Do authors take their fans loyalty for granted?

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George R R Martin's new release has made me wonder are authors taking us for a ride?
For example:
The vast majority of us are eagerly awaiting Martin's Winds of Winter and Patrick Rothfuss' Door of Stone, we haven't been waiting a year or two we've been waiting what seems like decades. The release dates keep being changed but it's ok us as fans will still purchase.

Us fans of Thomas Covenant bought the final chronicles even though we needed a dictionary to...

Rebellion Publishing sets up new film studio

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We already have a discussion about a possible Judge Dredd TV series - now Rebellion Publishing have announced they're setting up their own film studio which will be used to film this, along with a Rogue Trooper film:

Rebellion Publishing (@RebellionPub) on Twitter

There's more information on the BBC website...