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Day 30 – Your favourite genre novel of all time.

Charles de Lint - Spirit Walk.

My first De Lint, and a rather lovely one to be getting going with. There's something very appealing about Tamson House with it's eclectic community of people and the close merging with the spirit world. I love the mixture of Celtic and Native American mythology that gets woven in, the characters are lovely - particularly Esmeralda Foylan and Whiskey Jack - and there's just so many beautiful elements to it that taken as a whole it becomes this enchanting patchwork story that hits something deep.
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Rightio, now that LJ is remaining unborked, can catch up with today's proper 30 Days of Genre...

Day 29 – A genre novel you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving.

Hannu Rajaniemi - The Quantum Thief

It's hard SF. I don't do hard SF. And yet... I landed a copy that had to be read for BFS purposes, so, I read it expecting not to understand word one... but, actually, it's quite an easy read. It's got an excellently conceived world, with some fab character interactions. The detective story elements hang together beautifully, it's brain twisting and has a thoroughly enthralling story. And, just generally, it's bloody fantastic.
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Quick, quick, whil LJ is unborked!   A twofer...

Day 27 – Most epic scene ever.

How do you judge epic, anyway? Do you go for the wide sweeping epicness such as, well, pretty much the whole of David Gemmell's Legend. (Which is the cheat's way of saying that I can't find my copy to pinpoint a particular scene, but I do distinctly remember that there was plenty to be found in the epic scene department.)

Or do you go for the 'OMG, that was so epically cool' aspect? Because in that case it would be that scene in Deadline, which I'm not going to spoil, but if you've read it, you know the one I mean. Chapter 27. The Coda. It's short and a total gut punch, coming, as it does, after the characters had been adjusting to the world as it was, and then, everything changes... (Damn you, Mira Grant!)

Day 28 – Favourite publisher of genre novels.

Ooh, there's a dangerous question! Gotta be a flip between Orbit and Angry Robot who both have a knack of picking up some excellent authors and make their lovelies available on Kindle. That last is now a very important factor in my book buying decisions and publishers as I'll hesitate over physical copies of books but show me a nicely priced e-book (of any format) and I'm in there.

So - Orbit - manage to come out with scads loads of cool series ranging from the urban fantasy to trad fantasy stuff to funky space sci-fi/space opera - their books tend to make for great comfort reading and there's so many of them! Meanwhile, Angry Robot is just plain fun and have a knack for putting out all kinds of the off-the-wall stuff.

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Day 26 – Best Hero

Crumbs. Tricky one. So, the definition of a hero, as splattered about in multiple places (the definition, not the hero, that is), is that your hero is a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for their brave deeds and noble qualities.

Noble qualities then. Yeah, this is going to cause problems. Noble qualities tend to bore me. Scoundrels are more fun. Like the Marquis de Carabas in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. Noble in title, perhaps, definitely distinguished in ability, but you wouldn't call him a hero or admired for brave deeds. (Although Paterson Josef could totally make you believe otherwise. ;-) )

I guess Jack Churchill from Mark Chadbourn's Age of Misrule books could technically count - except for the whole finding him an extremely irritating character thing. Although this affliction didn't manifest until the later Kingdom of the Serpent trilogy so taking him just on Misrule, he could just slide in.

Livak from Juliet McKenna's Tales of Einarinn? Not noble, but definitely courageous and admired for her ability and brave deeds. Yep. She's definitely a hero. And I think we have a winner!
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Day 25 – A genre novel you plan on reading soon

Leaving aside the very many books I have to read for assorted BFS purposes... the next up on the TBR pile are:

Aliette de Bodard - Harbinger of the Storm

Kameron Hurley - God's War

Terry Pratchett - I Shall Wear Midnight

Jaine Fenn - Consorts of Heaven

Marianne de Pierres - Nylon Angel

Lauren Beukes - Zoo City

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Day 24 – Favourite classic genre novel

Hmm, I think it would have to be The Hobbit. It had something of a lasting effect on my childhood. I first encountered it at primary school when we had it read to us by a teacher whose name I have, alas, forgotten. But he did all the voices and so I can't read gollum and the trolls without hearing his version of them.

And the songs! As a wee lass I loved the songs in the book to the extent where I'd make up tunes for them and go around the house singing them. And then when we got a computer program that could read out the written text... well, that was hours of fun typing them in then changing the spelling to get the right inflections.

Ooh, and translating the runes at the front was also a favourite thing. Once I'd worked out the alphabet (and was very proud at having cracked it) I spent an entire summer writing secret things in runes. (It is quite possible that The Hobbit is responsible for turning me into a huge nerd!)

And that's before you get to the riddles and the map (maps in books was a new thing for me then) and the dragon and the sneaking around invisible and the spiders in the forest... and I went through two copies of the book before I ever got near The Lord of the Rings.
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Day 23 – Genre novel you haven't read, but wish you had

Lud in the Mist by Hope Mirrlees. It's on my shelf looking at me, last time I tried it I got as far as one page then got distracted... (This happens a lot with the more classic genre books... I have a tendency to total focus!fail!)
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Day 22 – A sequel which disappointed you.

Can we make it plural, because then I can go for the easy answer and pick the later Anita Blakes. Pr0nification ahoy!

Not that the earlier Anita Blakes didn't have flaws - the obsessional description of clothing and hair being one of the major irritants, but at least there was a plot somwhere in there. And then... then came the ardeur, and the long haired groupies and the power ups and the orgies that led to more power ups until any decent plot was relegated to the epilogue.

Which is shame, because initially there was potential for some interesting stories in the Blake-world. There was the balance of assorted preternatural group politics and how an out-ed spook world mixes with regular human types. There was the potential interference from the black ops groups, the potential of lots of lovely conflict as assorted law organisations dealt with new kinds of perps, and yet... orgies. And power ups. Such a waste.
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Day 21 – Genre novel with the most interesting character interactions

Had been having trouble deciding on this one - then I read the very excellent Desdaemona by Ben Macallan (which, if you haven't read it yet, do so, pronto!) - so, answer sorted!

The main interactions being between lead chap Jordan and the titular character Desdaemona - deliciously argumentative and snarky, with some growing affection and nifty surprises thrown in for good measure. Also worthy of note are the interactions between Jordan and his brother Asher, and then the trio together, being pure gold. Could have happily read more of them.

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Day 20 – Favourite genre.

Definitely urban fantasy, no question. Though I'm not so keen on the ones with too many romantical bits (mushy stuff, ick!) I've a definite fondness for the genre, uh, generally.

Mostly, I like that UFs have myths and magic bleeding into the contemporary world, bonus points if the characters are dropping pop culture references while they kick naughty spook ass. (Why yes, I'm a Buffy/Supernatural fan. How did you guess! ;-P)

I mean, secondary world fantasies are fun and all, but an UF makes you feel like the cool weird stuff is hiding just out of sight in the world we actually live in. I like that. (And when the borders between worlds open up and let loose the freaky creatures, the UF fans will be completely prepared! ;-P)

And I love the high proportion of dynamic female protags to be found in UFs. Not just the obvious ass-kickers that you get from folks like Lilith Saintcrow, Patricia Briggs or Jennifer Rardin; but also, for example, Charles de Lint heroines who come from all walks of life with a whole range of different personalities and non-combat skill sets and still manage to rise above whatever plot related shenanigans are happening.
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Day 19 – World/setting you wish you lived in.

Well now, here's the thing... while there are many cool fantasy-lands, I have to confess to a liking for decent indoor plumbing and the internet - and I prefer my magic out in the contemporary world - it's more fun that way. So, first pick would have to be one of the urban fantasy ones. Maybe Charles De Lint's Newford, or Seanan McGuire's Toby Daye 'verse or Kate Griffin's Matthew Swift 'verse...

Though having said that... there is something very appealing about a SF-nal 'verse. Something with space ships with FTL or similar drives, plus teeny tiny human-computer interfaces. Maybe the Elizabeth Moon Serrano/Vatta book-verses. Or the Marianne de Pierres Sentients of Orion 'verse.
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Day 18 – Favourite protagonist.

Ooh, this is a tricky one. No one character immediately jumps out as absolute favourite so... contenders:

Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden. He has a talking skull for a friend, he animated a dinosaur skeleton and rode it into battle, he has an army of pizza loving faeries at his command and despite being surrounded by powerful enemies always manages to cludge together something to save the day. Except the leching over the nubile apprentice gets a tad squicky... so not a runaway win there.

Kate Elliott's Marit, from Shadow Gate (book 2 of the Crossroads trilogy)
Because being assassinated hasn't stopped her getting up and kicking ass. (Erm, does that count as a spoiler?)

Mirabel Stonefist from Elizabeth Moon's stories of the Ladies Aid & Armor Society (as found in assorted Chicks anthologies) - because she's a fun warrior lady.

Terry Pratchett's Granny Weatherwax (for all the reasons mentioned in the Favourite Character post)

Stephen Hunt's Amelia Harsh - a tomb raider done steampunk style! So soooo awesome!
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Annnnd, we're back again...

So - Day 17 - Favourite antagonist

Gotta be Pratchett's Lord Havelock Vetinari, whose machinations shape an entire city.

Although, I'm not sure he technically counts as an antagonist, because, yes, he constantly challenges assorted protagonists and he is considered the primary threat in Ankh Morpork, but, ultimately, his deeds stablise the city and give positive opportunities to assorted characters.

Nevertheless, this is a man so terrifying that the mere sight of him was enough to make a previous patrician die of fright and, let's face it, the guy's a sneaky genius, and, just, well, quite cool!
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Oops, that was a bit of a break... where were we then...?

Day 16! Genre novel with the most intriguing plot.

Well it's deffo going to have to be Mira Grant but will it be Feed or Deadline? Oh, definitely Deadline.

Great mother of pumpkins, people, Deadline! And I can't even tell you why it's an intriguing plot without giving away the jawdropping revelations that pop up.

So, generally speaking, what you have is a glorious post-zombie-apocalypse world where your average peeps are co-existing with the shambling undead. Who, as I recall, get smarter the more of them in a swarm. (The undead, that is, not the average peeps, who one might imagine go the other way when in crowds...) There's plenty of mad science and even madder scientists. There's blogger and other online writer types as the heroes who have to navigate their way through increasing peril and crazed conspiracies. There's the persistent threat of the mutating virus that has more to it than previously thought, there's the dodgy genetic engineering and the clones and...and... mad science, people, mad science!

And dear god that ending. It is lethal. Lethal, I tell you. And reading the preview of the next book is even worse because it's going to be soooooo long until it's out in May 2012.
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Day 15 – The cover from your current (or most recent) genre read.

Just reviewed this for the BFS - fun book, utterly brutal with some truly jaw dropping plot developments. Plus bonus vikings! Wolfmen! Bonkers gods!
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Yep, it's a twofer, given that I forgot again yesterday... (am having a totally braindead week this week...)


Day 13 – A genre novel you’ve read more than five times.

Stephen King. My ultimate comfort reading. IT probably takes the prize as most read as I'm on my third (very ratty) copy, but The Stand is another favourite (at least, up until it gets all over religious towards the end. Apocalypse hijinx!). Also various of the early short story collections. And bonus points because once you read the Dark Tower books you keep seeing all the connections between all the rest, which makes you go back and re-read again. Which is fun.

A similar thing happens with Charles De Lint. The Newford books have an excellent criss-crossing of characters so you'll get a walk on in one book becoming the lead in another. I think, on reflection, that Someplace to be Flying (crow girls!) would be one of my most read. Also Spiritwalk (my first De Lint!), and, again, like with King, the short story collections get more rereading than the novels do.

There is also the legendary Lord of the Rings. It has to be done at least once a year (although I don't re-read the Hobbit quite as much and have only touched the Silmarillion once.) I find I skip different bits on each reading, though. Currently, I can not being doing with the interminable Frodo angsting (the movies have ruined me...) and so I tend to give more attention to the rest of the Fellowship shenanigans; while in earlier times it was the other way around.

And as I tend to re-read collections and anthologies more than novels, Esther Friesner's Chicks in Chainmail anthologies are a definite favourite. Comic fantasy full of excellent action heroines - what's not to love?

Day 14 – Favourite book trailer from a genre novel.

No idea. Have to confess to not completely getting the big deal with book trailers - I get sold on books by either reading the reviews of and/or articles/interviews by the author, or listening to the author at a convention. Actually, especially that last one. Authors at conventions tend to make me immediately pick up at least one of their books, even if I'd only vaguely heard of them before and never gotten around to searching out titles. Especially if they give good panel. Good panel is a primary deal closer.
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Day 12 – A genre novel everyone should read.

Eaaaaaaasy. Kari Sperring's Living with Ghosts. It is brilliant! Swashbuckling ghostie adventures wrapped up in beaaauutiful language. Soooo much love. :-)
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Argh. Forgot this yesterday!

Day 11 – Favourite genre series

This is a tricky one - just one? Insanity! Lillith Saintcrow's Jill Kismet books? Jim Hines' Princess books? Jim Butcher's Dresden Files? Seanan McGuire's Toby Daye books? Jo Graham's Numinous World books?
All told, though, this week I'll go for Kate Griffin's Matthew Swift series. Excellent stories, fabulously told and it even manages to make London and surrounding boroughs sound interesting. (Look, I get that people love London, really, but I'd quite like to read UK urban fantasy that is set somewhere else please... ta!)
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Day 10 – Best writing style, or the style that resonates most with you.

Oh good, an easy one! While Charles de Lint writes the stories I most like to read and Kate Griffin has that wicked combo of action prose done with some fantastic quirky stylistic choices and excellent turns of phrase; it is a truth universally acknowledged that the absolute lord high king and emperor of gorgeous prose has to be: Chaz Brenchley/Daniel Fox/(and possibly even Ben Macallan!)

The man delivers the most beautiful writing you'll ever read -lyrical, fabulous, and utterly enchanting, all of which subtly entangles you in the story he's telling. Read Daniel Fox's Moshui books (with their very beautiful covers), read the Selling Water by the River books, read the Outremers. Hell, read everything, you won't be disappointed.
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Day 9 – Saddest scene in a genre novel.

Ooh, tricky one. Especially since I've got the emotional depth of a puddle in a drought. And the memory of a leaky sieve.

One that springs to mind is the gut punch that is Gage's death in Stephen King's Pet Sematary (and if I could find my copy I'd be able to go into more detail on the why. (Alas, the great house tidy has mysteriously vanished many things...) That whole damn book creeps me out, but Gage's death comes out of nowhere and is utterly tragic.

And, actually, now I think about it, there's a similar such saddest scene in Chaz Brenchley's Shelter (which I also can't find...) - as I recall, there's a particular scene near the end that is all the more wrenching by the fact that when you're reading it, you're absolutely certain there's no way he's not going to deliver the predictable happy ending. And yet... I do recall having to flip back and re-read it a couple of times to check, that, yes, actually, he really did let that happen...


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