Archive for fantasy

Hugo Awards finalists 2022

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , on May 15, 2022 by xi'an

Here are the finalists of the Hugo Awards for different categories, with some read, somne watched, and some to-read:

Best Novel

  • A Desolation Called Peace, by Arkady Martine (Tor)
  • The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager / Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Light From Uncommon Stars, by Ryka Aoki (Tor / St Martin’s Press)
  • A Master of Djinn, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom / Orbit UK)
  • Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir (Ballantine / Del Rey)
  • She Who Became the Sun, by Shelley Parker-Chan (Tor / Mantle)

Best Novella

  • Across the Green Grass Fields, by Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom)
  • Elder Race, by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tordotcom)
  • Fireheart Tiger, by Aliette de Bodard (Tordotcom)
  • The Past Is Red, by Catherynne M. Valente (Tordotcom)
  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built, by Becky Chambers (Tordotcom)
  • A Spindle Splintered, by Alix E. Harrow (Tordotcom)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Dune, screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth
  • Encanto, screenplay by Charise Castro Smith and Jared Bush
  • The Green Knight, written and directed by David Lowery
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, screenplay by Dave Callaham, et al.
  • Space Sweepers, screenplay by Jo Sung-Hee, Yookang Seo-ae, and Yoon Seung-min
  • WandaVision, screenplay by Peter Cameron et al.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • The Wheel of Time: The Flame of Tar Valon, written by Justine Juel Gillmer, directed by Salli Richardson-Whitfield,
  • For All Mankind: The Grey, written by Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi; directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan
  • Arcane: The Monster You Created, written by Christian Linke and Alex Yee; story by Christian Linke, Alex Yee, Conor Sheehy, and Ash Brannon; directed by Pascal Charrue and Arnaud Delord
  • The Expanse: Nemesis Games, written by Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck, and Naren Shankar; directed by Breck Eisner
  • Loki: The Nexus Event, written by Eric Martin, directed by Kate Herron, created for television by Michael Waldron
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: wej Duj, written by Kathryn Lyn, directed by Bob Suarez

2021 Nebula finalists

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , on March 22, 2022 by xi'an

Here are the five novels selected for the 2021 Nebula Award

two of which I read and (mostly) appreciated. (An interesting side item is that Volume 6 of the fantastic Murderbot series was nominated for the novella series and that the author withdrew from the list for having already been recognised by the award.)

Sandremonde [book review]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , on January 15, 2022 by xi'an

A somewhat original fantasy book (in French), by Jean-Luc Deparis, found by chance on a shelf of La Case à Bulles bookstore in Cayenne, with a nice if traditional cover, a first half I enormously enjoyed and read within a day!. and a second one less appealing to my tastes and which took me longer to complete, despite eventually skipping some passages… Presumably because this second part involved more magic, [dreaded!] endless subterranean domains, and the unsurprising revelation of a predestination for the central heroine, which was till then doing well by herself, thank you very much. Although with early and heavy hints of a unique destiny. The beginning has flavours reminding me of The Lies of Locke LamoraHobbs’ Assassin series, and the more recent Red/Gray/Holy Sister trilogy. Despite its flaws, the non-magical universe of Sandremonde is fascinating, with an overwhelming Church of monk-soldiers that has the monopoly of (magical) protections and as such promotes or demotes local lordlings… The end is both predictable and of little interest. More editing and advice from the publisher would have considerably improved the outcome. May a prospective second novel by the author keep the imagination and avoids the clichés!

the wisdom of crowds [book review]

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2022 by xi'an

As I had read rather negative reviews of the conclusion to Joe Abercrombie’s trilogy, The Age of Madness, which mixes the fantastic medieval universe of the earlier books with an industrial revolution leading to riots and the eventual overthrow of the aristocratic regime, I started reading the final volume with some worry that I would not enjoy it as much as the earliest masterpieces! However, the worry was not needed as I essentially read the book over two days, being stuck between two invasive neighbours in an eight hour flight being of course a further incentive..! Obviously, the series of trilogies has been going on for way too long and I have lost both track and interest in the genealogies of characters reappearing through them. Still, this conclusion (??) is rather neat, if somewhat less cynical and less brutal than for the others. Except of course that one very central character dies. And that another returns to her earlier self-enrichment tendencies by pretending to turn to charity work… The least cynical character ends up being Vic, the exécuteur des basses oeuvres (similar to Fouché who would end up being Napoleon’s chief policeman). The setting is very close to the French Revolution unraveling, with an out-of-touch aristocracy cannot handle riots fed by terrible working conditions (and fed by competing kingdoms and scheming mages). A first round in a search for a new (parliamentary) Constitution, à la Danton, followed by Terreur, a radical elimination of the State “enemies”, using a Tarpeian Rock rather than a guillotine, and then a successful counter-revolution supported by other states… The cover of the book actually uses a painting from the French revolution. This is however well-rendered, with great characters, little magic if any, and a parallel plot in the North following Rikke’s precarious hold through hilarious never-ending swearing dialogues. And a few unexpected turns. I thus really enjoyed the book. Except for the return of Bayaz which I would have done without as he appears rarely in the story and with no clear purpose.

where the wild ladies are [book review]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , on December 8, 2021 by xi'an

Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda is a winner of  the 2021 World Fantasy Awards (which I bought for that reason!) and a collection of Japanese short stories that bring a new view on some traditional Japanese tales, representing a form of empowerment to the women involved in these. (Not that I knew any of them, which makes reading the new versions missing part of the subtext. Maybe the original version should have been included as well for non-local readers unfamiliar with yōkai stories. The book nonetheless contains detailed pointers to all original tales..) The title is inspired from Maurice Sendak’s Where the wild things are (#16 in Children’s Classics). And there is a short story about it, where the narrator is reminiscing his childhood reading this book while his mother’s lover (and presumably his father) is visiting. The whole collection is very good, with ghosts being almost indistinguishable from the living, sharing most of their concerns and woes, if less constrained by customs and duties. And the living accepting their intermission with no reservation or fright. This permeability of the two worlds reminded me of some Murakami short stories. (While several of the stories are connected, under the hat of a sort of ghost job agency, they can be read independently.) And wish the book would not be labelled as fantasy, given its universal message and its infinite distance from heroic fantasy or horror books.

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