Category Archives: Fantasy

September Challenge – how did it go?

As I wrote earlier, I set myself a challenge to read more books in Norwegian. So, how did my challenge go? How many books in Norwegian did I manage to read?

1. Hålke, written by Helene Uri

I was fortunate enough to win a ARC of Helene Uri’s new book, Hålke. It was published early in September, and is a book on an elderly couple who early in January don’t get to leave their flat due to it being icy outside. With only a little food to get by on, and the coffee running out, we get to know this elderly people. What’s their marriage built on? Why do they still keep together after over 40 years, in spite of unfaithfulness (her) and violence (him)? It was a really interesting read, and I really enjoyed it.

2. Odinsbarn, written by Siri Pettersen

This was actually a reread. I first read Odinsbarn (meaning Odin’s Child in English) shortly after it came out, and it’s the first book in the Ravneringene (meaning “The Raven Rings”) trilogy. I love this trilogy, and thought Odinsbarn was even better the second time around.

3. Et norsk hus, written by Vigdis Hjorth

This was my first book Vigdis Hjorth, and I borrowed it from the library’s ebook app. I enjoyed reading about this middle aged textile artist who rented out a part of her house to a Polish family and the conflict between them. And even though this lady is a weird woman with many faults, I grew to love her… I am definitely going to read more books by her!

4. Forbannet, written by Tonje Tornes

This was the second book in the Kire series, and it has been a while since I read hulder, the first book in the series. I am loving this series, and I liked the second book even more than the first – it’s darker and there’s more magic! I can’t wait for the third book, even though I have no idea when it will be published.

So, I ended up with four Norwegian books in September, which wasn’t so bad. I also read On Writing by Stephen King, which is also a very good read. I think my conclusion is that this challenge was good for me, even though one of the books was a reread. I will try to read even more Norwegian books, and am hoping to get some more read this year.

Did you succeed with your September challenge?

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Book review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Part One and Two, written by J. K. Rowling

Many years have passed since we said goodbye to Harry Potter as a kid in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I was pretty excited when the new story was published on Sunday, and picked it up at the airpost on my way home from Oslo, where I had spent the week end.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eight story, and based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. This isn’t a novel, though, but the script to a play that had its world premiere in London’s West End on 30 July 2016. The story is set almost 20 years after we last left Harry Potter & co., and we get to meet the children of Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Ron, and Draco. The grown ups have their jobs, and the kids go off to Hogwarts. They form friendships, some more surprising than others, and we also get an insight in their family relations and tentions.

The story is in some ways familiar to the previous Harry Potter, and even though this was a play, it was a fairly easy read. I enjoyed the story very much, and found it to be hard to put down (like the Harry Potter stories we know).

In my opinion, this is a “must read” for every Harry Potter fan, and if I am to be honest, I would be thrilled to read more books from this world! I am yet again sad to say goodbye to characters I have grown to love…

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2016

Octocon 2015

9 – 11 October I attended Octocon, the National Irish Science Fiction Convention. It was helt in the Camden Court Hotel in Dublin, and stated Friday afternoon, and ended Sunday afternoon. Guests of Honour were Emma Newman and Maura McHugh, but there were several other guests as well.

The convention was kicked off with the opening ceremony, where chairperson Gareth Kavanagh wished us welcome and introduced the Guests of Honour. I had an opening after the opening ceremony, where corrigancj and I headed for dinner. My first panel wasn’t until 20, the Bodily Autonomy in YA panel, which I found very interesting.

There were actually several LGBTQIP+ themes panels for Octocon 2015, which I was very happy about, and I attended several of them. Though I attended several really good panels through the week end, my convention highlights were the Guest of Honour interview with Emma Newman, and the Tea and Jeopardy live show.

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

Emma Newman at the Guest of Honour interview.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

The Guest of Honour interview with Emma Newman (who’s one of my favourite authors), was a warm and personal interview. I think Janet O’Sullivan did a great job, and there was tea and much laughter.

The Tea and Jeopardy live show was based on the Hugo Nominated Podcast of Emma Newman and Peter Newman. Being a fan of the podcast (I must admit I’m still a bit bummed it didn’t win the Hugo’s), I was thrilled to attend the show. I was offered cake by Latimer when entering the tea lair, but I politely declined. Author C.E. Murphy was Emma Newman’s guest for this episode, and it was muc fun. I laughed so much! I missed the chickens, though, but I totally understand they couldn’t be brought to Ireland…

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

Emma Newman and Latimer at the tea lair of Octocon 2015.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

The only problem I had with the convention, was the inside jokes at some panels (not all), that went right above my head. I am not familiar with everything Irish, and there were moments there were things I didn’t understand.

All-in-all I enjoyed my week end, and it was nice to meet up with some convention friends that I know from EasterCon and/or Twitter again. Will I come back to Octocon next year? Only time will show…

EasterCon 2015: Dysprosium

I signed up for this year’s EasterCon at last year’s EasterCon, and was very excited to go. Dysprosium was held at ParkInn by Raddison at Heathrow, so getting there would be the easiest convention for me to get to, with a lot of flights to choose from.

This year’s guests of honour were Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Herr Döktor, and Caroline Mullan. The only guest of honour I had heard of was Seanan McGuire, simply because she was also a guest of honour at last year’s EuroCon in Dublin. To me, it’s not the guests of honour that are the important thing, though, but the fact that EasterCon gather a lot of fans from pretty much all over Europe. That’s pretty fun, in my opinion.

There were a lot of interesting panels and talks this year, but one can’t go to them all. I chose to attend a handfull, as well as being a lot more social than I have been previous years. All good. The panels I attended were all good, even though I had to leave The Unseen London panel halfway through, as I had a splitting headache, and needed painkillers, water and a nap. I siply couldn’t focus, and was sad not to being able to listen to such an interesting topic.

I find it hard to pick a favourite panel or talk this year. I really enjoyed the Guest of Honour interview with Herr Dötor. I am incredible fascinated by how he’s able to make the cool art. He had some pieces exhibited at the art show, and they were magnificent.

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

Herr Döktor was inerviewed by Lady Elsie.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

Other than a lot of geeky stuff, there were lots of geeky people. This being my third EasterCon meant I knew more people this time around than two years ago, when I attended my first EasterCon, and Twitter helps too. I have probably been more social over the EasterCon week end than I have been in years. All good, though. There were great chats. Great company. And I had in general an excellent time.

The 2015 Hugo Awards – The Short List

So, the shortlist of the 2015 Hugo Awards was just announced, and I am, for the first time ever, eligible to vote. I forgot about nominating, but I have every intention to give my vote.

I am very much looking forward to read Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie, as I loved Ancillary Justice. However, there are books I will not read and not vote for, and that are the sad/rabid puppy selection. The reason for this? Well, the explanation I was given on Twitter says it all:

2015-04-04-twitter

Correction from @ClaireRousseau
Claire Rousseau has in the comments asked me to add the following correction:
Vox Day put up a post on his site in which he called NK Jemisin, who is a woman of colour, a “half-savage”. Because his blog was syndicated to SFWA social media, the post was tweeted from the official SFWA twitter. NK Jemisin put in an official complaint in accordance to the SFWA harassment policy that ultimately resulted in Vox Day’s SFWA membership being revoked.

Here is wikipedia for reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Beale#Conflict_with_the_SFWA

So, I will read the following novels:
Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)

As for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, I have already seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and really should watch Edge of Tomorrow as well.

I think it’s really sad when some people think things like the sad/rabid puppies thing is all right. After all, it will backfire on the works listed, no matter how great they are.

All shortlisted nominations can be found HERE.

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

The 2014 Hugo Awards winner, Ancilliary Justice by Ann Leckie.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

EDIT 05 April 2015:
I edited this post after The Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide was brought to my attention. I will not read any of the short stories, and have therefore deleted the section of short stories to read.

It’s Monday, what are you reading?

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

They say it’s the golden age for Norwegian fantasy. I’m not sure it’s true, but more Norwegian fantasy has been published the last few years. I’m currently reading Bian Shen by Torbjørn Øverland Amundsen that was published a couple of years ago, and I’m enjoying it so far. It’s concept is different from anything I have read before, and I am curious on how it continues…

So, what are you currently reading?

Book Review: The lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch

I picked this book up at a bookcrossing meet up back in 2008, but didn’t get around to read it until now. And I’m mighty glad I did, as this was a very good read! The lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch is the first book in the Gentleman Bastard series, and was first released in 2006. Lynch was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA, in 1978, and had since written two more books in the series: Red seas under red skies (2007) and The Republic of Thieves (2013). There are at least five other books planned to be released in the series.

Photo © 2014

Photo © 2014

The story in this book is about Locke Lamora, who at the age of six ends up being bought by Father Chains, a priest of the Crooked Warden, the god of thieves. Here he is brought up to, along with a group of other young boys, to be a master of disguise, and they become “the Gentlemen Bastards”. This is the setting for an exciting thriller of a journey for us readers…

This book was different from any other fantasy book I’ve read in many ways. Not only did it have a pretty original plot, but it had a rather colourful language as well. If you’re of the religious kind, you might find it offensive, as it does contain swearing. Personally, I think it fits with the rest of the story.

For me, this book was a real page turner. There’s so many good things about it, not only the language and the originality, but it is full of humour and is at times so exciting, I almost forgot how to breath! I also loved all the different and colourful disguises that were described, and kept wondering how Locke could fool so many.

I must say though, this is not a book for the faint-hearted. Lynch has not spared any details in the combat scenes. They are quite bloody, to say the least. But if you don’t mind such things (personally, I think it makes the book just that much more believable), you’ll probably enjoy it.

As far as I’ve understood, Warner Brothers bought the movie rights to the book shortly after it was released. However, I’m not sure if I’d like to see it at the cinema, though it were to be screened, I’d probably go. I’m worried, though, as the descriptions in the book are so lively and great food for your imagination, I have a hard time seeing the film can come anywhere near the book. But we’ll see, time will show.

EasterCon 2014: Satellite 4

Though this year’s EasterCon was my second (last year was my first), I still feel a bit of a newbie. I had therefore decide that for this year’s con, Satellite 4, I would volunteer. My friend DC pretty much “claimed” me for Ops, so I had shifts there every day of the convention.

Photo © 2014

My badge.
Photo © 2014

Though I had arrived on Thursday, the first day of the convention was Friday 18 April 2014. I didn’t actually attend any program items this day, but had two shifts in Ops, and had a blast doing that. However, I managed to attend a few on Saturday, among them one called “Astronomy and poetry”, which was pretty much reading of poetry with some sort of astronomy link. I really enjoyed it. It was lead by Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who’s a British scientist and Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford.

Photo © 2014

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Photo © 2014

Another fun program item on Saturday was “Is it steampunk if it’s real?” Here we could listen to Feorag NicBhride tell us about some odd transportations that was developed in the 19th and early 20th century. One thing is for sure: There was no lack of imagination at the time! If the transportation actually worked? Well…

Two other program items I attended Saturday were “African Writes” and “Read for your life!”, and I enjoyed both. Especially the latter ones, where you could listen to known and unknown readers read from their works. If there’s a similar item next year, I would love to listen to it! It’s not every day you get to hear an author read something from their brand new one-week-old idea!

Come Sunday, I managed to oversleep terribly, that meant I missed breakfast, as well as the first program item I had planned to attend. Fortunately, I did not miss the panel “Red planets”, which was on politics in science fiction and fantasy. It’s no secret politics interest me, so this was an interesting discussion. I would probably have gone to it even if my friend Pogodragon hadn’t been on the panel.

Photo © 2014

The Red planet panel.
Photo © 2014

After the politics, I hurried over to the next item I wanted to listen to, this one called “Humans are weird”. And this item made it clear we really are a weird mammal. Our babies are helpless, we have good eyesight and amazing sense of taste (humans have 10000 taste buds, while a hen has only 24!), and we have a rubbish sense of smell.

When the weird humans were done with for the day, I headed for my shift in Ops, before going to a sort of celebration of Terry Pratchett. This was a sweet and fun program item, where stories about the wonderful Sir Terry Pratchett were told. Stories about meetings and other fun facts. I have never met, nor probably ever will meet, Sir Terry Pratchett, but he seems like a grand dude, and writes fun books indeed.

Photo © 2014

Celebrating Sir Terry Pratchett!
Photo © 2014

Sunday ended with a party for next year’s EasterCon, Dysprosium. There was a beheadding of a chocolate bunny, drinks, snacks, and people to talk to. It was indeed fun, until I decided it was time for me to go to bed.

Monday was the last day of the convention, and I started it with a shift in Ops, before some time to relax. I then attended the program item “Early science fiction writing”, which I must admit was a great disappointment. I actually ended up fishing out my e-reader to read my book! Just because I was too polite to get up and leave, and maybe in the hopes it could turn better?

The convention officially ended with the closing ceremony. Prizes were handed out, people were thanked, and we all concluded it had been a wonderful convention. We can’t wait for the next one!

EasterCon 2013: Eight Squared Con

At the end of March I headed to Bradford, in West Yorkshire, England. Though I have been to several conventions before (I was quite active with ShadowCon in Oslo at one point), this was my first outside Norway. Actually, it was my first outside Oslo, even though I haven’t lived in the capital for the four last years. I have been wanting to attend EasterCon for several years. I almost managed to get there last year, but then things didn’t quite worked out.

I arrived in Bradford on Thursday, and had a bit of a soft start before the convention actually started. Spent the evening with some people I knew already, as well as some new people who were introduced. There was Indian food in the centre of Bradford, which was good.

I headed to the Cedar Court Hotel, where the main event took place, a tad bit early on Friday. The registration opened before expected, and I managed to get my badge and a bag of information. As I couldn’t see anyone I knew around, I headed back to my hotel, where I relaxed, before heading down to Cedar Court for the opening ceremony.

Eight Squared Con was, as I said, my very first con outside of Oslo, and it was on a totally different scale from what I was used to. I admit it felt intimidating in the beginning, as I am an introvert by nature. Some people would probably not believe me, but it’s true, I feel very insecure among strangers, and am not the person to go up to a group of strangers and start chatting with them. As the days went by, I did warmed up a bit, and managed to talk to quite a few people.

I attended a few panels, and my favourite was “The Changing Portrayal of Gender and Sexuality in SF & Fantasy”, which more or less was about LGBTQI people in SFF literature. It was more like a discussion group than a panel, which I think worked very well. Another panel I found to be funny, was the “Superheroes on Film” one. I kind of like superheroes, you know…

All-in-all I had a great experience, and have even signed up for next year’s EasterCon! See you there?