Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Unfortunately, no release date yet on this book. I am dying, dying waiting…

Cover art for A Dance with Dragons by George R R Martin

George R. R. Martin is my favorite author and writes what I consider to be the best fantasy series of all time: A Song of Ice and Fire. Yes, better than J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Whether you agree with that or not, if you like high fantasy, you will probably like Martin. The 5th book has been a long time coming and still will be a while, but according to his recent update, we might see it published this fall. He has also posted a new sample chapter from the perspective of Jon Snow.

Level 4 Human Wizard

Posted: 17 December 2007 in Uncategorized
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Boredom and insomnia led to the following:

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Wizard (4th Level)

Ability Scores:


Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard’s strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Game wishlist

Posted: 3 November 2007 in Uncategorized
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What I really want is a battlefield style game (such as Halo, Battlefield) but in a medieval/steampunk world. So weapons include slow-loading muskets, crossbows, swords, bows & arrows, daggers, clubs, etc. There would be stationary siege weapons like catapults, trebuchets and scorpions. For vehicles, there would be horses, possible fantasy creatures (but not dragons — too powerful), ships, and air ships (like zeppelins). And of course, this should be an MMOG. Now someone go build it.

Airship with balloon approaching volcano -- zeppelin -- credit: David Edwards

And check out David Edwards’ site (image link above). Some really cool digital art, if you’re into it. Naturally the airship is my favorite, but Sky Castle, Versity, and 3001 AD are right up there.

I read The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper a few years ago at the insistence of my ex-brother-in-law.  It was one of his favorite books from his childhood and I believe he put it near the level of The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings (but not quite).  I figured that was bloody high praise, but waited a while before I got around to it.  I’m not above reading kids books and seeing kids movies.  Especially when they promise to be dark.  I love dark fantasy.  So anyhow, I enjoyed the book, though there were parts that were a little slow.

And now of course, there is a movie coming out next Friday.  I’m curious how well they will pull it off.  I never read the whole series, but in the first book there was a lot of mystery about the back story.  Hopefully they won’t destroy that feeling.

James Rigney, aka Robert Jordan

It is a sad, sad day. James Rigney, aka Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time fantasy series passed away on September 16, 2007. He had been battling with amyloidosis for a while now and the publisher announced he died of “complications from primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy.” He was working on the final book in the Wheel of Time series.

Robert Jordan was the first fantasy author I read and really enjoyed. He is the reason I started reading fantasy at all. He influenced the entire genre over the past couple decades, helping authors like George R. R. Martin get a start by providing a cover quote for his first Song of Ice and Fire book, A Game of Thrones. He also provided many of the ideas for Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, though Goodkind denies it vehemently. All you have to do is read the books (that’s not a suggestion, by the way, Goodkind is a talentless hack) to see the similarities and ideas that were pulled right out of Jordan’s pages.

The last news I had heard from Jordan was a while back since I don’t check the Dragonmount website frequently. At the time, it seemed he was beating the disease with promising news from the Mayo clinic where he was getting treatment. When I read about this today on George R. R. Martin’s Not a blog, I was blown out of the water. We should all go light a pipe for this once physics major turn fantasy writer who survived hurricanes and Vietnam, but was no match for the ravages of time.


Posted: 3 September 2007 in Uncategorized
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Over Christmas while visiting family in Greenville, SC, I bought a stack of books at my favorite old haunt: Barnes & Noble. Among those books was Stardust by Neil Gaiman (more about this in a sec). Being a grad student with a raging blagoblag addiction, I don’t have a whole lot of time to read for pleasure. When I had a week to read during my vacation this summer, I did manage to catch up slightly. First I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which I loved. I also read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Mind you, I don’t read anything because it’s an Oprah Book Club book (the thought sickens me to the core), but I did first hear it mentioned when my wife Donna was watching Oprah a while back. I tend to sit by on the computer while she watches TV. It’s an unfortunate feature of my brain that I can’t not pay at least a little attention to the tube when it’s on. So I heard about the book and the premise seemed interesting. I’m big on post-apocalyptic stuff, and The Road did not disappoint. It was a very dark and sad tale of a father’s love and perseverence in the face of utter desperation.

Returning from this digression, I actually finished reading Stardust just prior to said vacation, but it had taken me several months to do so. Really that’s a shame when you consider how short the book is. Just before I finished reading it, I saw a preview on TV that looked extremely familiar: an air ship, a fallen star, a unicorn, and Wall. I love when a movie comes out that really gets me excited. When Stargate came out years and years ago, I was just walking by the TV and it captured my attention and riveted me for the remaining 20 seconds. I remember thinking, I have to see this movie. I didn’t quite get this thunderbolt for Stardust, but I did get a nice chill.

I deliberated reviewing the movie here with spoilers, but decided in the end to avoid that. I highly recommend reading the book. One of the things I like about Neil Gaiman is that he takes old ideas, like fairy tales, and makes them new. If you haven’t read his short story “Snow, Glass, Apples” (off of Smoke and Mirrors), you are really missing out. Stardust the movie was good, but there were additions, deletions and modifications that bothered me at first. The fact that Gaiman is an executive producer eased that pain a little, since I can only assume he had a major creative influence in the end product. The main thrust of the book — the central love story — still came through in the movie, which was the important part. Also, the special effects were decent and the pace of the adventure never left me wondering what time it was. So all in all, a very enjoyable movie. If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, then I suggest starting with the movie if you suffer as I do with modifications.