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Gemmel Award, Reading Aloud, and the Tournament

A blog post of many topics!

First, I learned from the blog of Patrick Rothfuss that voting is open on the David Gemmel Legend award for best fantasy novel. I make it a point to participate in such voting, and encourage readers of fantasy to do the same. However, I would echo the sentiment that Pat Rothfuss expressed, to not vote blindly. Read his blog, and know that I agree with the sentiments expressed and implied. When you are sufficiently educated, go vote.

This week I’ve been reading Buk Tu aloud to myself. My roommates probably think I’m going insane, with the voices that emanate from my room when I’m alone. But I’ve found it to be an invaluable practice. You wouldn’t believe all the typos and awkward word choices and other fixes that I’ve found so far, and over half the book left to go. Our eyes do funny things (like fill in words that aren’t there, or transpose words to make sense of senselessness). Reading aloud is not fail-safe, but it definitely helps to catch a great many of the errors.

Lastly, some amusement. Thanks to our own Sam, some friends of ours have been having an online “tournament” in which we, the participants, vote in various categories to determine which characters we deem to be the most “heroic.” (Of course, there’s a strong element of popularity contest, but that simply can’t be helped.) We started with cartoon/tv characters, moved to video games, but have now arrived at Literature.

It’s grown exponentially, in both the number of participants and the number of nominees. By mutual-ish decision, it was determined to narrow down each series to one nominee. So presently there are some major contentions–whittling down the many epic heroes from The Lord of the Rings, for instance, is proving to be a heated debate, as are the wizards of Harry Potter. It’s all in good fun, of course, but some are pretty passionate.

The strangest of all, for me at least, is watching the vote between two of our own characters–for both Hanu Zan and Xansul were nominated in the tournament. Not everyone has read our book, but the ones who have are discussing the heroic merits of these two characters. And it’s kind of bizarre for me. Not only to have people discussing the characters, but also because I’m having such a hard time deciding myself! A big part of my problem is that I know what’s going to happen, and I shouldn’t allow that to weigh in on my decision. Not that any of it matters…but it’s plenty amusing!

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