Two questions:
1. Should I read the Wheel of Time series?
2. Will I be able to finish it before George R.R. Martin releases The Winds of Winter?

(Semi-related: Jeff VanderMeer's unsettling Southern Reach Trilogy was my favorite read of 2019; I would highly recommend it, along with the movie Annihilation, to anyone. Very, very disquieting. In a good way.)

@callahad the Southern Reach Trilogy is so good, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I personally was never able to get into the Wheel of Time books, but I have a lot of friends that enjoyed them quite a bit, so if you're into high fantasy (as an adult, I'm not, so that might be why they never stuck the landing for me), they might be worth a shot!

@hafnia Have you seen the film? Very significant departures from the Trilogy, but exceptional in its own right. If I recall correctly, the director read the first book, once, many months before he wrote the screenplay, and didn't consult it at all during the process. So it's a really bizarre synthesis. But beautiful. And terrifying.

@callahad I have not! It's on my "I'll get around to this eventually" list (I have a hard time sitting through full movies). I'll have to make a point to watch it. :)

@hafnia let me know if you do! I rarely have such a strong reaction to a film, but it really stuck with me. Just visually stunning to see inside Area X.

What was your favorite read of the recent past, as someone who also liked Southern Reach?

@callahad oh gosh, that's a bit of a loaded question as thanks to winter depression I've mostly been reading (terrible) romance novels.

stuff I've read recently that I liked a lot (that was not a terrible romance novel): Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz, Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen, and the Wayfarers Trilogy by Becky Chambers. Autonomous is about the logical end of late-stage capitalism as it relates to big pharma; the Chen novel is about time travel, and Wayfarers is fluffy spacetravel.

@hafnia all of those sound lovely, thank you! I'm all about fluffy spacetravel whenever I'm traveling, so doubly excited to check out Wayfarers!

@callahad oh! I also read the Murderbot Diaries and found them delightful. The Black Tides of Heaven was also quite good and made me think a lot.

I tried to read Gideon the Ninth, because everyone was excited about it, but it left me cold -- the humor in it didn't appeal to me.

@hafnia @callahad Jumping in to say
1. I am attempting to read WoT for the 4th or 5th time because I know people who usually have similar taste who loved it but in the past I couldn’t get beyond book 4 or 5? I’ve just started book 2.
2. I loved the VanderMeer series, but unlike you I spent most of the movie yelling at the screen because I felt it removed much of what I loved most about Annihilation. Maybe if it had been just a story about one of the other teams going in I wouldn’t have minded.

@hafnia @callahad
3. I also recommend the Wayfarers (I’ve read book 1 & 2 and liked book 2 the best so far), and ESPECIALLY the Murderbot Diaries.

@dani @hafnia @callahad Jumping in after Dani.

1. I finally finished WoT (on audio!) a couple years ago. It really sags for a few (long) books in the middle. It gets better, but I'd class it as for completists.

2. Agreed. I like the suggestion of another team.

Gideon the Ninth, I liked the humor, but I found the plot mostly tedious.

I've only read one Wayfarers, but it was a delight.

@naga @dani @hafnia @callahad wait... there was humor in Gideon the Ninth? I love it with a passion, but don’t remember humor.

I loved WoT, but doubt I’d have stomached it if I didn’t start when I was in high school.

@naga @dani @hafnia @callahad hmmm. I’m bad at humor so I can see how I missed it.

Missing it in Space Opera was too big a challenge.

@hafnia you must hate adjectives and adverbs. That was my favorite for the entire year. #1 Hugo vote.

@edebill no, just couldn't fucking stand the narrative voice. Heh. :x I shouldn't have been surprised, I haven't read anything by Valente that I've liked. To each their own, I guess!

@hafnia absolutely. The Wayfarers books just don’t do it for me, but I know a lot of folks love them.

@edebill to be fair most of the Hugo nominees for last year left me cold. I'm still irritated that The Calculating Stars won simply because of how heavy-handed it felt...

@hafnia and I loved all but the Becky Chambers. Like I gave myself a pass on reading that one because I’d read the first couple and was content that it wouldn’t rate highly. I was ecstatic that TCS won, even though I had put Space Opera above it.

@edebill I loved Spinning Silver up until she decided she was going to stay married to the guy. Like...NO. That ruined it for me.

The rest were all things I tried to read but just couldn't get into or couldn't bring myself to finish. TCS was particularly frustrating bc of my career and experience in academia.

@hafnia I had read (and liked) all but the Becky Chambers before the short list came out. I was not a super fan of that particular choice in Spinning Silver, but it didn’t ruin it for me.

Did you read The Light Brigade or The Raven Tower? I loved them both and am curious if we are 100% diametrically opposed.

@edebill I haven't read either -- I'm not a huge fan of Leckie, and the other doesn't sound like the sort of thing I'd pick up (I read SF/F to escape; I tend to avoid anything particularly dark because of that).

I do wonder what you've hated that I've read, tho...

@hafnia The Raven Tower was completely unlike the ancillary series. Like it had more in common with Spinning Silver and Uprooted.

TLB was definitely a gut punch, so no shade for skipping it. I procrastinated on starting her most recent novel because I knew it was going to be heavy. I will say that I was surprised by a hopeful ending.

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@edebill @naga there was a fair bit of it, I thought. At least I don't think a lot of the references and whatnot were meant to be taken at face value...

@hafnia @naga in addition to being bad at humor I am legendarily bad at references.

@edebill @naga @hafnia @callahad I wonder if the intense WoT love I see in others is partly nostalgia based because all of them seem to share the started-when-young thing. I’m mostly trying this last time so I can keep up with all the inevitable conversations the new tv series will generate, haha.

@dani @naga @hafnia @callahad These days I generally tap out if I start a book and the protagonist is a teenager. I’m 44 and just bored of that perspective. Gideon the Ninth and The Sol Majestic were rare exceptions that managed to suck me in.

@edebill I’m up there too, but the age of the protagonist isn’t a factor as much as the writing quality. Superb writing about a child can be more captivating than droning on about an entitled, whinging adult any day. But yes, the angsty-teen trope, as with any trope, can be overdone. @naga @hafnia @callahad

@naga @dani @hafnia

I think I'm mainly interested in WoT for the eventual Jordan/Sanderson switcheroo; what a technical challenge! I also missed out on LotR, Chronicles of Narnia, etc. as a kid, so maybe I'm seeking false nostalgia?

As for Annihilation, it maybe helped that I saw the film first, but I truly loved it. The visuals really stuck with me, especially the tower choreography.

I like thinking of it as a great game of mental telephone: the original is lost, but something new found...


@callahad Aha! Seeing the movie first makes a LOT of sense. Everyone I know who enjoyed the movie saw it first. I have yet to meet someone who read the book first who saw the movie and didn't have a WTF reaction. It's possible that in a few years I can go back to the movie with a fully different mindset and convince myself that it's NOT the biologist and approach the movie as a different story about a different team and enjoy it.

@naga @hafnia


@callahad I'm not someone who always NEEDS an adaptation to adhere to a book. The Magicians tv series is a good example. I loved the book series and the tv series goes way off book and becomes its own thing and it's a delight!

But the things that I especially loved about Annihilation were just ...gone in the film. I felt so lost watching it. It was like, if an adaptation of Jane Eyre was bright and colourful and about an extrovert. Haha. Maybe a rewatch would help?

@naga @hafnia

@callahad I do find the whole book vs adaptation first thing fascinating though. As a massive book fan and a writer, I tend to usually prefer books. There have been a few times where I've actually preferred a film over a book when I've seen the film first, and have talked to people who read the book first and they disliked the film or aspects of it. Example: A Very Long Engagement.

@naga @hafnia

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