November SFFKIT: Creatures!
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Welcome to November's SFFKIT topic of creatures.
What do you think of when you think of creatures? The first book I connected to this topic was The Pride of Chanur, where the sole human in the book was not the default sentient creature:
I started to think about authors who explore different sentient creatures - Ursula K. LeGuin, for example.
Then I started to think about all the different types of creatures we can find in science fiction and fantasy - dragons, orcs, goblins, vampires, zombies and many more.
What creatures will you find lurking in your reading for November?
I think I will continue with Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries with Dead as a Doornail, which has vampires and werewolves. I'll also be continuing with The Wheel of Time series, which has lots of mostly nasty creatures, like trollocs and myrddraals, but also the gentle ogiers.
I love, love, LOVE the Chanur books, and highly recommend them.
Since I've already read the series this year, I'll have to think upon what else I have on my shelves, unread...
I'm not exactly sure what kind of creature is in Into the Mist by Lee Murray but from the picture on the cover it looks appropriately terrifying!
I think Embassytown by China Miéville is my most likely contender for this one.
I read Dominion by Shane Arbuthnott in August--the creatures are spirits, and machines run by spirits, and I absolutely loved it. I left the book for my niece and nephew to read--it's MG, I believe, but has a sophistication I'd expect more from YA--but I've been meaning to read the sequel. Thus, I think I'll plan to read that, Terra Nova. And for anyone curious/interested, I obviously highly recommend the first in the series, Dominion!
I need to finish Perdido Street Station - lots of creatures in this one.
I have started The invisible library which so far has vampires, faeries and dragons.
I finished Dead as a Doornail on Saturday. From a creatures perspective, it had vampires (of course...), as well as shapeshifters (they can turn into any creature they want), faeries, and a bunch of different were-creatures: werewolves, werepanthers and even a weretiger.
I started reading these long after I watched HBO's True Blood series (twice!). Some of the story lines are a bit different and the development of some characters is much different. On the whole I'm enjoying them.
Shapeshifters and werecreatures across Louisiana are getting shot and no one knows who is doing it; the police don't know that all of the victims can shift shape because they haven't come out of the closet like the vampires have. At the same time, the Shreveport werewolf pack needs a new leader as the previous leader died in a car accident. Adding to all of this, someone tried to burn Sookie's house down while she was asleep. And Sookie is in the middle of all this, as well as having two vampires, a werewolf, a shapeshifter and a werepanther seeking her affections. This was a fun entry in the Southern Vampire Mystery series.
I finished Pushing Ice which had more than its air share of creatures. Good story, too!
I have finished The invisible library and found Irene a little bit irritating. But I will certainly read the next instalment.
I finished two books for this month's challenge:
Chasing the Dragon by Nicholas Kauffmann: A contemporary retelling of St. George and the dragon, except now with added zombies. Lots of action and gore, but I was a bit lost when it came to the dragon mythology. I could have used more attention to that aspect of the story.
Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman: Set in the 1930s, this story is about a Northern couple who move to a small Southern town and discover strange happenings. Those across the river are the source of the trouble, of course, and they turn out to be werewolves. It's a decent horror yarn, maybe excessively gory with too much raunchy sex for my tastes. And as a Southerner, I found some of the accents and some of the depictions of black people to be grating and too obvious, though.
I read Death Masks, the fifth book in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series.
I started Chapelwood in October thinking it fit nicely into the Historical Fiction category (it does), but since it took me so long to finish it, I decided it could also fit the theme of November's group read, creatures. Cuz there is a definite creature in here that might be Chthulu or might just be something larger than the stars. It certainly influences two of the characters from Priest's first novel Maplecroft, 30 years after the events of that book.
During this month I've done a re-read of the Dresden Files series starting with Storm Front and going right through to Skin Game. Absolutely tons of creatures involved in those stories from the easily recognisable vampires and ghosts and ghouls to the lesser spotted naagloshii and not forgetting Sue!
I have also finished the second of the Invisible Library series, The masked city, which has dragons, Fae and werevolves. Entertaining, though I could have wished for a little more time in Venice...
Woo! I got one. I've been trying to read books from my own shelves, didn't see any "creature" ones, but Time For the Stars did indeed have some "creatures". One of them was a real naaaasty beast...
I have completed Into The Mist by Lee Murray for this theme. The creature in this book was a Taniwha, a mythical Maori giant lizard who preys on humans in the remote forests of New Zealand. Full of chills and thrills, I quite enjoyed this book.
I had originally started listening to Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb for this one, but did not like the narrator at all, so couldn't finish. I do have the Kindle edition, so will definitely get back to it, just not for this challenge. I did end up finishing Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire, book 6 of the October Daye series. This book was full of fae creatures and had an excellent narrator.
The Hobbit (by J. R. R. Tolkien; narrated by Rob Inglis) - I first read this and The Lord of the Rings trilogy many, many years ago, probably when I was in high school. The quest, the journey, the fantastical bests that Tolkien created made a huge impression on me and I have always held the story with some reverence in my mind. I picked the audiobook up a few years ago for my daughter, who was struggling a bit with the print edition, but it wasn't until this year that I listened to it myself. I was surprised at how much I had remembered and how much I forgot! I was also unexpectantly caught up with some of the tension of the story.
However, I think if I were to re-read this again, I would go back to the print. The audio was recorded in 1991 and, at the time I'm sure the audiobook publishers were very excited to have a musical score written for the audio edition and to have the narrator sing the songs in the book, but the narrative style wasn't to my taste, and I wasn't that keen on the singing either. The audiobook narrator seemed to be forcing his voice into false registers to create character voices, and many of the characters had the same voice. The scene with Gollum was nearly unintelligible.
And finally, I wasn't happy on the style/tone of the performance either. I know the book is often on the shelves of middle school libraries, but I had always thought of it as a book for all ages. The audiobook narrator used a patronizing voice I associate with Kindergarten teachers (and before you jump all over me for that, I have nothing against Kindergarten teachers. Except when they talk to me like I'm one of their students!)
So yeah, overall, still love the story but wasn't happy with the audiobook edition and won't be returning to the audio (same narrator) for The Lord of the Rings. But I did manage to get in a book this month for the challenge! Creatures included hobbits, trolls, elves, anthropomorphized birds (eagles, raven, and a thrush,) a guy who could change into a bear, Gollum, and a dragon!
>26 Tanya-dogearedcopy: it is a book for all ages. I read both the Hobbit and LOTR when I was in 6th grade, 11 years old.
Oh, forgot to mention my read of Tunnel in the Sky, which had all sorts of critters on an alient world.
Beware of the stobor... ;)
This was a good category for me. I got three reads in total. The latest was Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones, another werewolf story.
This is a coming-of-age story, except in this case the boy is becoming not a man, but a werewolf. The unnamed narrator lives a nomadic life with his aunt and uncle (his parents are dead), who are both werewolves. They crisscross the South, moving on when their nocturnal activities threaten to catch someone's attention. This is a modern take on the werewolf legend, which expounds on some classic tropes (such as an aversion to silver) but also creates an entire subculture and history of the shapeshifters. Unusual and well worth reading.
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