Michael Swanwick's The Iron Dragon's Daughter. This is fantasy for adults: complex flawed characters, a world rich in detail, multitude of characters who live and do things for their own sake rather than to advance a plot point or help the hero. Utter disregard for conventions and cliches of the genre. A hero who is an anti-Mary Sue. Endless inventiveness of the author.

To my taste, this novel is what books like The Kingkiller Chronicles promise, but then utterly fail to deliver. But if you're a fan of Rothfuss, try Swanwick anyway, and you might get a fuller and richer taste of what you like.

I've also read a science fiction novel by the same author, Stations of the Tide, which won a Nebula in 1991. It's also very good. In it, a nameless bureaucrat of the interplanetary government is pursuing a self-declared magician (who's suspected of smuggling restricted technology) across the surface of a planet where half the surface is about to get flooded for many years, and a great migration of the populace is imminent. One of the themes is unfriendly AI - the Earth with its entire population had suffered a horrible fate in the world of this novel, which is discussed and explored in one of the episodes, although it's not a major plot device.

This is fantasy for adults: complex flawed characters, a world rich in detail, multitude of characters who live and do things for their own sake rather than to advance a plot point or help.

So based on your description, I read The Iron Dragon's Daughter and liked it a lot and agree with the rest of your description (that gargoyle scene!). But this part I don't really get: what part of it gave you a sense of many characters being agenty and pursuing plots unrelated to the heroine? It didn't give me much of a sense of that.

June 2014 Media Thread

by ArisKatsaris 1 min read1st Jun 201495 comments

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This is the monthly thread for posting media of various types that you've found that you enjoy. Post what you're reading, listening to, watching, and your opinion of it. Post recommendations to blogs. Post whatever media you feel like discussing! To see previous recommendations, check out the older threads.

Rules:

  • Please avoid downvoting recommendations just because you don't personally like the recommended material; remember that liking is a two-place word. If you can point out a specific flaw in a person's recommendation, consider posting a comment to that effect.
  • If you want to post something that (you know) has been recommended before, but have another recommendation to add, please link to the original, so that the reader has both recommendations.
  • Please use the comment trees for genres. There is a meta thread for comments about future threads.
  • If you think there should be a thread for a particular genre of media, please post it to the Other Media thread for now, and add a poll to the Meta thread asking if it should be a thread every month.

Note for this month's thread: As per comment in last month's 'meta' subthread, the "Television and Movies" subthread has been split into two: "TV and Movies (Animation)" and "TV and Movies (Live Action)"