Archive for June, 2012

Last night, the group met to discuss Peter David’s Sir Apropos of Nothing.   I’ll do my best to summarize, and highlight some of what people had to say.   We did have our usual lively discussion, filled with all sorts of interesting commentary — so if anyone would like to elaborate on their own comments, or add some new commentary, please do!  And a note if you’re new to these discussion summary posts —- some people prefer that I use an alias for them, so if you’re wondering about some of the names here, that’s why.

  • Ed began our discussion, and he had been the one to recommend the book.  He really enjoyed the book, and liked how David brought in a number of different elements.  He liked how Apropos defied his destiny (or did he?), and also really liked the humor in the story.     Brian the Elder agreed, and mentioned that he really liked how many outrageous puns David managed to put into the story.    Mike said he really enjoys awful puns, and so he also liked the story.   Other elements of the book that readers enjoyed included the even pace, the well-crafted names of characters, and the storytelling feel.    Pokéthulu said that even though she was still reading the book, that she was enjoying it, especially the historical accuracies (for example, the men who are knights aren’t necessarily good or nice men.  And Apropos isn’t “heroic stupid.”).
  • Menolly mentioned that she had read the book before, but hadn’t remembered it.  She liked the story, and liked how Apropos was truly an anti-hero.   She found it interesting that Apropos took control of his own destiny (by perhaps stealing someone else’s), and liked how the book turned traditional concepts upside-down.  She liked how David took traditional elements and then pulled them apart.  In the usual fantasy story, Tacit, for example, would have stayed good until the end, and would have been the hero.   One person mentioned that in many stories, knights are romanticized, and are always noble — and the book completely punctures these ideas.
  • Hola had mixed feelings about the book.  She felt the wordplay was excellent, and while there was a lot of humor, that the author didn’t beat a joke to death.  However, she found the first few chapters to be depressing (and too realistically grim), and that the author’s perspective on life seems a bit bleak.  She did say that the story got much better “After that bird took a crap on his head,” (referring to Apropos)
  • One person made a few points about Tacit, a character that many readers had mixed reactions to.  He found Tacit to be unlikeable (Tacit is always right about everything, for example), and malicious.   He stated that Apropos is a pragmatist with a moral streak, and definitely an anti-hero.  Tacit, on the other hand, is an “idealized idea of a hero,” and is really a “Meander in miniature.”     Furry pointed out that as much as Tacit might be unlikeable, that Apropos’ reaction to him, and his meanness toward him, seemed a bit too much.     In fact, the scene where Apropos beats Tacit (Menolly said this scene was like “Columbine in the forest”) was something that provoked a reaction from many readers.
  • The topic of destiny was batted about — one reader made the point that it seems like Apropos is always in denial of his destiny, but the more he runs from it, the faster he seems to reach it.   Menolly felt that the whole theme of the phoenix, and Apropos’ encounters with it really speak to the idea of destiny, and what it is (or isn’t).
  • We also discussed how this book really stands out as a satire, and that David really does a fine job with it.   We talked about how this satire compares to some classic satires, such as Gulliver’s Travels and The Canterbury Tales.  In those classics, knowledge of the historical details, and politics of the time, make them funny.  In this book, if you have knowledge of traditional fantasy story elements, that makes the book funny.   Menolly made the point that a good satire makes people think and question things, and this book does that.

Again, I’ve done my best to summarize what people said, but if you feel like I may have missed something (or mis-quoted someone), please comment!    General comments are also welcome!!

The Codes assigned to this book were: ETH, HAA, PUN (added as new for this book), FAIR, QUE and AHRO (anti-hero, a code which will be added to the general list).     The averaged rating for this book was: 4.


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Before I post the notes from our discussion last night, I wanted to give you the titles that were mentioned by people —   some of these are at the Library, so I’ve included the catalog link for them.   I checked, and the ones that we do not own are available in other libraries in the U.S., so if you’re interested, ask one of the Adult Services about an interlibrary loan.

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Carmen Miranda’s Ghost is Haunting Space Station Three (various authos)

Bored of the Rings by Henry Beard

All the Way to the Gallows by David Drake

The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Bone by Jeff Smith

The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman

The June 4-11, 2012 issue of the New Yorker (the library does have this)

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As always, I like to give you all a taste of some of the great new books on order for the SF/F shelves.   These are showing in our catalog now, so if you’d like to place a hold on any of these, you may.

The Apocalypse Codex by Charles Stross (Laundry Giles, book 4)

Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds (Poseidon’s Children, book 1)

Devil Said Bang by Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim, book 4)

The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow (Bannon & Clare, book 1)

Libriomancer by Jim Hines (Magix ex Libris, book 1)

The Stranger by Max Frei

Wards of Faerie: The Dark Legacy of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Devil’s Wake by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due

Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card

Further: Beyond the Threshold by Chris Roberson

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

The Islanders by Christopher Priest

A Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories – various authors

Shadow Show: All-new stories in celebration of Ray Brabury by Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood and others

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce

The Sword & Sorcery Anthology

Worldsoul by Liz Williams

The Hammer and the Blade by Paul Kemp

Tarnished by Karina Cooper

Again, this is just a smattering of the awesome books in order — but if there’s a particular book you’re interested in, just ask one of our staff.  We’re always happy to see if it’s on order ….. and if not, we can look into getting it for you through interlibrary loan.

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I just wanted to mention a few (just to give you a taste) of the great new graphic novels that have been ordered for the Library’s collection.    These are all showing in our catalog now, just in case you’d like to place a hold (and be the first to grab the book when it gets here) —

Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns

Black Butler, Volumes 9 and 10 by Yana Toboso

Emitown 2 by Emi Lenox

Fables, Volume 5 by Bill Willingham

Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore (Pocket Volumes 2-6 are on order)

Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean

Infinite Horizon by Gerry Duggan

Romeo & Juliet: The War by Max Work and Stan Lee

Severed by Scott Snyder

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I’m sorry I missed a few over the last couple of weeks.    I will do my best to stay on top of upcoming conventions in the future — so here are 2 that will be coming up in the near future (click links for the full info):

WizardWorld Chicago ComicCon – in Rosemont, IL – August 9-12, 2012

GenCon in Indianapolis — “the best four days in gaming” – August 16 – 19, 2012

AND …Chicon 7 – The 70th World Science Fiction Convention — in Chicago  – August 30 – September 3, 2012      GOH (Guest of Honor) is Mike Resnick, although there are plenty of other authors and cool people attending (including John Scalzi, as Toastmaster).     You may still purchase an Membership for Chicon, but they will be announcing (per their website), in July, that there will be day rates.  Check the link for more information.

You may see this gentleman at Wizard World … or Chicon…..




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More awards!!!   We do have some of these in the library, although since these are British books, we may or may not be able to interlibrary loan the ones that we do not have (but we can try, so if you want something, just ask).  You can see the entire list HERE, but here are some of the books:

The Heroes; Joe Abercrombie (Gollancz)
11.22.63; Stephen King (Hodder & Stoughton)
Cyber Circus; Kim Lakin-Smith (NewCon Press)
A Dance with Dragons; George RR Martin (Harper Voyager)
The Ritual; Adam Nevill (Pan)
Among Others; Jo Walton (Tor Books)

There will be two awards in the best Novel category: The August Derleth Award for best horror novel and The Robert Holdstock Award for best fantasy novel.

A Book of Horrors; editor Stephen Jones (Jo Fletcher Books)
House of Fear; editor Jonathan Oliver (Solaris Books)
The Weird; editors Jeff and Ann Vandermeer (Corvus Books)
Gutshot; editor Conrad Williams (PS Publishing)

Rumours of the Marvellous; Peter Atkins (Alchemy Press)
Mrs Midnight; Reggie Oliver (Tartarus Press)
Everyone’s Just So So Special; Robert Shearman (Big Finish)
A Glass of Shadow; Liz Williams (NewCon Press)

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Finalists for the 2012 Chesley Awards (given by the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists) have been announced.    For full information, you may go to Locus Online, or the ASFA.   I’ve included information here on the best cover illustration for paperback book nominees, just to give you a taste of what some of the covers look like:

Best Cover Illustration – Paperback Book

  • Mitchell D. Bentley, for The Alamo and Zombies by Jean A. Stuntz (Yard Dog Press)
  • Dan Dos Santos, for My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland (DAW)
  • Justin Gerard, for Hearts of Smoke & Steam by Andrew P. Mayer (Pyr)
  • Lucas Graciano, for The Goblin Corps by Ari Marmell (Pyr)
  • David Palumbo, for God’s War by Kameron Hurley (Night Shade)
  • Matthew Stewart, for The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells (Night Shade)
  • Jon Sullivan, for The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Holder (Pyr)
  • J. P. Targete, for The Sword of Darrow by Alex & Hal Malchow (BenBella)

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