Top Five Posts for 2016

Go-Geeking is a year and a half old! Like last year, we looked at the posts that got the most eyeballs. For 2016 they are as follows:

  1. Race and Culture in Hannibal’s Army Erik responds with an ancient historian’s perspective to a Tor.com post about Hannibal’s army from the point of view of historical wargaming
  2. Hogwarts Dueling Club Tablecloth Transformed into Wall Hanging Eppu shares an eye-catching Harry Potter craft project found online
  3. Putting Trigger Warnings on my Syllabi Erik lays out An Opinion
  4. Arrival Recap Eppu’s first thoughts on the movie Arrival
  5. Fantasy Religions: Sacrilege, Blasphemy, and Heresy In a History for Writers piece, Erik discusses religion from the point of view of early history and what to consider while worldbuilding

Overall—taking the whole year-and-a-half block—we get a slightly different list:

  1. Do-It-Yourself Fantasy Place Name Generator Erik’s basic system for creating fictitious place names wins the top slot by a wide margin
  2. Race and Culture in Hannibal’s Army Erik responds with an ancient historian’s perspective to a Tor.com post about Hannibal’s army from the point of view of historical wargaming
  3. Sean Bean on the LotR Joke in The Martian Eppu shares a short transcript from an interview with Sean Bean by Yle, the Finnish national broadcast company
  4. Hogwarts Dueling Club Tablecloth Transformed into Wall Hanging Eppu shares an eye-catching Harry Potter craft project found online
  5. Putting Trigger Warnings on my Syllabi Erik lays out An Opinion

It’s fascinating to compare our favorite posts with what other people find interesting. Cool cool cool. 🙂

Messing with numbers is messy.

20 Fantasy Worlds to Visit

Bryce Wilson at Screen Rant published a list of 15 fantasy books / series to “shak[e] off some serious Westeros withdrawal” after the sixth season finale of Game of Thrones aired at the end of June.

While there were solid choices on the list, what struck me was that out of 15 named creators only 2 were women. That’s 13%. Since women make up half of the world’s population, an eighth is an unacceptably low proportion in my eyes, so I made a list of my own.

Flickr Peter Roan Monteleone Chariot
Even Achilles knows that women are an integral part of the world.

Notes on my list: 1) it’s novels only (no anthologies), 2) in a random order, 3) with no double entries (otherwise I’d include also Jemisin’s The Inheritance Trilogy), 4) and I include not only a variety of flavors within the fantasy genre but also historical fiction. Moreover, 5) I’ve included old and newer favorites as well as new-to-me authors whose works sound intriguing. Finally, 6) the common denominator is (like in the Game of Thrones) the presence of power struggles of various sorts, negotiation of identities, and survival.

1. Ursula K. Le Guin. The Earthsea cycle (A Wizard of Earthsea; The Tombs of Atuan; The Farthest Shore; Tehanu; Tales from Earthsea; The Other Wind)

Aspects of identity examined in an island-based early medievalesque world with magic and lots of sailing.

2. Kai Ashante Wilson. Sorcerer of the Wildeeps

Sword and sorcery, gods and mortals, with a band of mercenaries working as caravan guard in focus. (Linguist’s note: Fascinating mix of vernacular and more formal language.)

3. N.K. Jemisin: The Dreamblood duology (The Killing Moon; The Shadowed Sun)

Ancient-Egyptian-flavored fantasy on a moon orbiting a Jupiter-like gas giant.

4. Samuel R. Delany. Nevèrÿon series (Tales of Nevèrÿon; Neveryóna; Flight from Nevèrÿon; The Return to Nevèrÿon)

Sword and sorcery in a world before the dawn of history, with strong elements of power, economic development and breaking barriers.

5. Rosemary Kirstein. The Steerswoman

D&D-like adventures in a medievalesque world with hidden computer technology.

6. Saladin Ahmed. Throne Of The Crescent Moon

Old-fashioned sword-and-sorcery with an Arabian Nights flavor.

7. Robin Hobb. The Farseer trilogy (Assassin’s Apprentice; Royal Assassin; Assassin’s Quest)

Convoluted political intrigues and power struggles in the Six Duchies.

8. Kate Elliott. Black Wolves

Four generations of dynastic struggles in a Central-Asia-influenced world with demons and a power-hungry new religion.

9. Nicola Griffith. Hild

Political intrigue between Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in a fictionalized 7th-century Britain.

10. David Anthony Durham. The Acacia trilogy (Acacia: The War with the Mein; Acacia: The Other Lands; Acacia: The Sacred Band)

Political, economic, mythological and morally ambiguous forces battle for the control of the Acacian empire.

11. Nicole Kornher-Stace. Archivist Wasp

Yearly duels to the death to gain or retain the title Archivist in a post-collapse world with ghosts.

12. Charles R. Saunders. Imaro

Sword and sorcery, heroic warriors, grand landscapes, giants and magic in a world inspired by Africa.

13. Robert Harris. Cicero trilogy (Imperium; Lustrum [U.S. title: Conspirata]; Dictator)

Rise to and repercussions of power told through a fictional biography of Cicero.

14. Alaya Dawn Johnson. The Spirit Binders series (Racing the Dark; The Burning City)

A coming-of-age story in an island world resembling Polynesia where people have learned to bind elemental powers to their command.

15. Joe Abercrombie. The First Law trilogy (The Blade Itself; Before They Are Hanged; Last Argument of Kings)

Demons and humans in a dark, edgy world full of skirmishes.

16. Guy Gavriel Kay. The Sarantine Mosaic (Sailing to Sarantium; Lord of Emperors)

Power voids, political intrigue, assassins and travels in a world inspired by 6th-century Mediterranean.

17. Brandon Sanderson. Mistborn series (The Final Empire; The Well of Ascension; The Hero of Ages)

Magic from metals in a mist-laden world.

18. Patrick Rothfuss. The Kingkiller Chronicle (The Name of the Wind; The Wise Man’s Fear; Day Three: The Doors of Stone [working title])

Magic and music meet in a coming-of-age story.

19. Aliette de Bodard. Obsidian and Blood books (Servant of the Underworld; Harbinger of the Storm; Master of the House of Darts)

Three standalone Aztec noir fantasy-mysteries with blood magic, star-demons and war.

20. Kameron Hurley. The Worldbreaker Saga (The Mirror Empire; Empire Ascendant; The Broken Heavens [forthcoming])

Brutal power struggles in a world where plants can walk and kill, and blood magic opens portals between parallel realities.

Bonus entry by a fellow Finn:

Emmi Itäranta. The City of Woven Streets

A blend of a coming-of-age story with high-stakes intrigue and danger on an island with water-based tech.

Enjoy! I know I will get back to this list after finishing my current reading project.

Image: Monteleone chariot with Thetis and Achilles, detail of image by Peter Roan on Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0 (Etruscan, currently Greek and Roman galleries, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 2nd quarter of the 6th century BCE; bronze inlaid with ivory)

Messing with numbers is messy.

Top Five Co-Geeking Posts for 2015

Our first half-year of blogging exclusively on our geeky interests is done. We’ve even geeked over our blog stats already. 🙂 The five posts to get most eyeballs are as follows:

  1. Hugo Voting, “Good” Stories, and Politics Erik’s thoughts on the volatile Hugo Awards discussion and voting
  2. 2016 Tolkien calendar Illustrated by Tove Jansson Eppu relays news that the late Tove Jansson’s Tolkien illustrations will be published in the Official Tolkien Calendar for 2016
  3. Sean Bean on the LotR Joke in The Martian Eppu shares a short transcript from an interview with Sean Bean by Yle, the Finnish national broadcast company
  4. Two Finnish Authors on the A.V. Club’s Best of 2015 Eppu shares yet another Finland-related piece of news: Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen and Leena Krohn made it onto a U.S. Best of fiction list
  5. a tie with two of Erik’s History for Writers posts: Recommended Reading: Herodotus, “The Tale of the Clever Thief” and 35 Isn’t Old and Everyone’s a Royal

It was nice to note that the top posts were divided up evenly between me and Erik, and that they were posts where we used our expertise. As if we had, like, a plan or something. 😉

Messing with numbers is messy.