Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’
I picked up this book mostly because it has Andre Norton’s name on it, yes the cover is lovely but Norton is a good author and I’ve been reading her books since I was a child so I knew it’d be good. I wasn’t disappointed.
It’s the sequel to Quag Keep but it is possible to read them separately as I’ve just done as enough is explained within this book to help the reader understand enough of what has gone before. I’m not into Dungeons & Dragons despite liking the idea of the game so I think there were some subtleties I missed. Essentially this is Dungeons & Dragons in ‘reality’. You’ve got a group of people who are about to play the game and have been given extra special miniatures to play with, as soon as they grasp them they are transported to another world and look like full sized versions of the miniatures with all the memories and skills they would have in the game. There are some differences to the game and this is where I find myself missing the subtleties, if I’d played the game I’d know how trolls die in the game and not how Tolkein kills them and I wouldn’t need the authors to tell me, thank goodness they do nicely so it doesn’t feel extraneous.
The back of the book gives this information:
In 1976 Andre Norton was invited to play a new sort of adventure game by its creator. It was called Dungeons & Dragons, the very game that launched the role-playing game industry. The creator was E. Gary Gygax, a former shoemaker turned successful businessman as the head of TSR Industries, the company he formed to sell his game.
Gygax played the game with Andre, introducing her to his world of Greyhawk, where she took part in an imaginative session of world-building, role-playing, and fantasy adventuring. When she returned home, she wrote the novel Quag Keep, a tale of six adventurers who journey from our world to the city of Greyhawk.
Now, thirty years later with the help of Jean Rabe, author of numerous TSR books and former head of the RPGA (Role-Playing Gamers Association), Andre returns with these bold adventurers for another quest, and perhaps a chance to return home to the world whence they came, ours.
I loved the book, the fact that I don’t game makes very little difference as it’s very well written so we get all the information we need to understand. Yes, if you’re into D&D you’ll understand more but it’s not entirely necessary. It is fantasy, with all the magic users, trolls, elves and other creatures we either love to love or love to hate.
As with any book by Norton it is well written with well-rounded characters and situations. The authors have left it open for at least one more adventure. My only problem is that I now have to find the Quag Keep so I can read that and find out how everything happened.
Sometimes when I’m struggling to find something to write about I find some absolute gems and today is no exception. I decided to look at the list of birthdays I have for authors, this didn’t look very promising so I started googling the names I didn’t know and up popped some gems. There were some names I knew of but decided not to go any further with authors such as Sue Grafton, Elizabeth Goudge or Anthony Trollope and a good thing too.
First up is Eric Kripke. Who? I said to myself and I’m so glad I googled him as up popped his IMDB page and I discovered he’s the creator of Supernatural. Supernatural is one of those really great programmes, not as good as Firefly but still good and it stars Jensen Ackles who also played a couple of different roles in Dark Angel.
Next on the list was Damon Lindelof, the most prolific writer of Lost, he only wrote 44 episodes. He’s also been a producer of Star Trek and Crossing Jordan.
Somewhere in the list was David Morrell, the original author of First Blood the book that was done to death in the Rambo films. He also wrote the Captain America comic book miniseries The Chosen.
Last but not least is Doris Burn. The author of Andrew Henry’s Meadow, Zach Braff is trying to make this book into a movie, Barry Sonnenfeld has signed on as a director.
Not me personally but my blog. I’m celebrating in a low key sort of way with balloons. I couldn’t find balloons in my cupboard (planning ahead) so instead am linking to some cool pictures of balloons. To start off with here’s a little thing I made this morning.
Here’s the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta followed closely by the Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in 2011, lots of cool stuff on both of these.
You want to make your own balloon animal? Go to WikiHow for some lessons.
If you’re still into Angry Birds then there’s a remote control Angry Birds Balloon.
Buzz Lightyear are go! I’m not mixing my shows, whatever gave you that idea?
This could be the State Room Scene in A Night at the Opera by the Marx Brothers as re-enacted by balloons.
Here is the world’s largest balloon sculpture from some year or other. I can’t believe the amount of breath some people have, that’s a lot of balloons to blow up.
Last but not least is one from Cory Doctorow, I give it no more introduction than that.
Tune in tomorrow for Mondayitis, I feature I real live published author!
I’ll be on my way to madness or enjoyment whichever you prefer. The Fourth Australian Discworld Convention starts at midday and there’s a lot to do to get set up. I’ve done lots of auction type stuff, lots of merchandise selling and have created a you-beaut costume. After it’s been unveiled I’ll post photos but only when I have time which might not be until sometime on Monday after I get everything home.
I’ll be meeting old friends and making new friends, seeing fabulous costumes and seeing how all the activities work. I pretty much guarantee I’ll be exhausted on my return and am planning on taking a day or two doing nothing next week. So, I’ll see everyone next week! Have a fabulous long weekend.
Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Mazagine is pulp fiction at it’s best. It takes submissions from all sorts of people across Australia and New Zealand and only publishes the good ones. I got involved with ASIM within the first dozen or so issues and then managed to acquire most of the rest, they look really nice on my shelf.
One story in Issue 48 caught my eye and rereading it just now I understand why.
The Whims of my Enemy by Amanda J. Spedding
The story opens with people on a train, our protagonist is talking about blood and how much she’s seen of it in defence of her land. Despite the words ‘defence’ and ‘invaders’ my first thoughts with the first two paragraphs were of the Holocaust and how Jews were sent on trains to death camps. Then as I read further I was reminded of The Hunger Games. The similiarity is due to the people in the carriage needing to be whittled down from 26 to 10 by the end of the final leg of their journey, they are given little food and most of the conversation centres around bullying to bring down their opponents spirits to make them easier to kill.
“Meet the quota and life is our reward.” I read this and wondered if this was true and if they would be allowed to live at the end or if there would be another train journey with a similar end, we don’t get to find out. For Jael, our protagonist it feels more like a battle with herself as she fights not to kill and leave the killing to others.
I have a love/hate relationship with this story just like Hunger Games. It is brilliantly executed, every word is correct and fits in beautifully with the rest. The characters are well drawn and the writing as a whole is just right. I have a problem with the content, it is totally horrifying to have to kill in order to stay alive, I understand this has happened in wars throughout the centuries but in this case it’s to demoralise the captives and I feel to provide amusement for the victors of the war.
The problem with ASIM is the stories are addictive. Having finished writing about one story I’m now being seduced by another and I have so much to do today. Do yourself a favour and get a subscription as unless you find them second hand somewhere that’s the only way you’ll be able to read them. Go straight to their website now!
This timeless story tells how the courage of one girl in standing against the tide of tradition enables her tribe to become reconnected with their ancestral life force.
Since publication in 1987, The Whale Rider has become one of Witi Ihimaera’s best-loved stories, capturing readers with its universal themes of conflict between generations and genders, respect for nature, family love and personal courage.
I’m going to be very upfront about this one, I loved it both in book form and in movie form. I saw the movie first and I think that was possibly the wrong thing to do, the book has a more rounded view of things as we see events through different people’s eyes.
There are very few major differences between book and movie. The main one being the age of the girl, Paikea, in the book she rides the whale at age eight and in the movie she’s 11. The book does give more background to the whales and shows us the relationship between the whale and the original Paikea, it does help flesh things out a little, as does hearing from Paikea’s father.
The movie has Keisha Castle-Hughes in the title role and she is just stunning. Not only drop-dead gorgeous to look at but absolutely perfect in the role. I watched the documentary and many other actors said she was wonderful too. It was her first acting role, the casting director took her straight from school; she stood out. On doing a little research I was stunned to find she was in Star Wars III, guess I’ll be watching that film again to try and spot her; I wonder what makeup she’ll have.
In the documentary they show how they made the canoe, a wonderful process I’m totally in awe. I loved how they gave the canoe to the town of Whangara afterwards, a lovely present from them to the town where the movie was shot. Many of the locals were cast in this movie in the crowd scenes.
You know, so far in this article I’ve assumed you know the plot and I’ve assumed the description from the back of the book makes some sort of sense but maybe not. Paikea is a direct descendent of Paikea, the man who rode the whale from Haiwiki, their ancestral land. She is meant to be the chief but the chief can only be a male, she defies her grandfather and does all the things only men can do and then rides the whale to finally be accepted by her grandfather as the next chief. A pretty hard thing to do at any time but at the age of 11 is even harder.
I finished the movie feeling uplifted and finished the book in a similar frame of mind. I might have to read the book and watch the movie again when I’m feeling down.
I’ve got a real beauty for you today, Touchwood has consented to have a few words with me, it’s a pity he wouldn’t answer the questions.
Why do you read?
Why do I read? What manner of silly question is this? Catweazle be one of the few to master the art of reading, he taught me this valuable skill. There be only one book and that full of magic. Silly wizard could not get magic right. Flying, he said, through air, he said. He flew, that is correct but it be through time, he flew forward into the future. The only magic he could use he could not even get right. Why he took me with him is something only known to him.
What do I read?
Why hast thou asked an even sillier question? I only read the spell book, Catweazle is not rich to have many books.
If these questions only be about reading I be not answering any more.
Thank you to Touchwood for illuminating us on reading. You can read more about the adventures of Touchwood the toad and his master Catweazle in the book Catweazle by Richard Carpenter, you should also be able to search Youtube for the series.
Today is yet another episode of Mondayitis and I am rather nervously announcing a conversation I had with Aragog from the Harry Potter series of books. He has kindly consented to have the answers to his questions published in an effort to educate the populace.
What do you read?
I don’t read books, I read the forest and I read my family and I also read whatever or whoever comes close by. I don’t much like humans, they have done nothing for me but I do have a soft spot for Hagrid and I need to read the telltale sounds that tell me when he is coming to visit or to give me some tidbits so I can have my family refrain from eating him.
Do you read for work or for pleasure?
Well…I can read, I was brought up in a school and found the time in my busy schedule to master the art of reading books. However, I find there is nothing of use to me in books so I forswore opening a book many moons ago.
Do you read to your kids or someone else’s?
I do teach my family the art of reading the forest as noted in a previous question. I do not feel they need to read actual books written by or about humans so I have declined to teach them to read, they do not feel the lack.
Can you do the Safety Dance while reading?
I am an arachnid so I have eight appendages, the logic is that I must be able to do perform this strange ritual of the Safety Dance while reading…if I were to consider reading again then no, I would not consider dancing as well.
Would you attend a flash mob dressed as your favourite character?
I am my own favourite character, as you can see I am already looking appropriate for a flash mob. It would be an interesting event to attend, I might bring many of my family as I envision there would be plenty of food for them to eat; they are growing after all.
Thank you to Aragog, an Acromantula featured in the Harry Potter books penned by J. K. Rowling.
Welcome to some rather confusing words about this book. I followed the story line okay, it made relative sense but there was much that didn’t. This is what it says on the back of the book:
High-class call girls billed to Mastercard. A psychic 13-year-old drop-out with a passion for Talking Heads. A hunky matinee idol doomed to play dentists and teachers. A one-armed beach-coming poet, an uptight hotel clerk and one very bemused narrator caught in the web of advanced capitalist mayhem. Combine this offbeat cast of characters with Murakami’s idiosyncratic prose and out comes Dance Dance Dance. It is an assault on the senses, part murder mystery, part metaphysical speculation; a fable for our times as catchy as a rock song blasting from the window of a sports car.
Murakami has taken a number of totally unconnected people and somehow connected them both in a fantasy world and in the real world. The fantasy world appears to be both within the narrator’s mind and also without as other people appear to have seen a part of it. Whether it’s been done before or not is irrelevant as Murakami manages to do it in his own peculiar way. The way the prose is put together with images that don’t quite match with what I’ve read before is interesting. I’m not sure I agree with it all in this book. It’s mostly set in Japan and except for the odd locating reference it could really be set anywhere in the English speaking world. The author puts in many references to Western music: Boy George, Talking Heads and so many more but there are very few references to Japan, it’s music or its culture. I was constantly having to remind myself where it was set and also constantly wondering if these bands were put in by the translator or written down originally by Murakami.
It was a strange storyline, I really had a hard time believing it. If I didn’t have friends who really swear by this author I probably wouldn’t have finished this book. I’m still trying to understand what relevance the title has to the book itself. The words and concept are mentioned a couple of times but they seemed rather disconnected with the actual actions despite us being told they were relevant. I found it a hard book to finish.
Excited? Moi? Couldn’t possibly be.
Tomorrow and Sunday is one of the exciting events on the calendar. It’s Armageddon. No, not the end of the world although we are in October 2012 and more specifically the 13th of October, but that date really isn’t significant in the Mayan calendar until the year 4772. Armageddon is a pop culture event and there are stars from programmes such as Babylon 5, Supernatural, and others. The guest list has changed over the months and especially in the past few days as people lost their passports or weren’t able to make the plane for various other reasons.
This will be big, I believe we’re looking at around 8,000 people going through the doors over the two days. I’ll be there helping man the Nullus Anxietas IV table. We’ll be trying to sell merchandise and getting you to sign up and basically having a good time.
You’ll be able to line up and get an autograph with your favourite star or even a photo. Take plenty of money as each autograph or photo costs, but at least entry is reasonably cheap, I’ve paid $45 for the two days.
Cosplay abounds at Armageddon! Take a camera with plenty of battery and space as you’ll be taking lots of photos. If you go in mufti you’ll stand out as the odd person not cosplaying. I’ll try and tweet some photos during the day but will endeavour to blog about it next week with photos and possibly very few words.
Did I say to bring money? You’ll find lots of stalls all trying to fleece you and sell you lots of useful stuff. I bought some DVDs last time but could have bought heaps of books, tshirts and weapons. There won’t be a lot good food as it’s at Jeff’s Ego so I recommend you try to bring most of what you want and only supplement that with some chips or something.