Tales of Maj'Eyal (ToME) is a graphical roguelike RPG. It started off in 1998 as an Angband variant (history), but has since been completely rewritten, ditching both the engine and the Tolkien setting. It recently became the first game to win the Roguelike of the Year award for two years in a row (and also the first game to win it more than once). [more inside]
This summer, The Paris Review interviewed two science fiction writers at length, Samuel R. Delany and William Gibson. Below the cut there are two passages, one from each interview. They aren't representative, they are just two of the many, many passages which have been going around in my head for the last few days. [more inside]
HBO's Game of Thrones was a huge hit (with some controversy and rebuttals of same), securing a second season only two days after its debut. Filming of said season finished on December 11th and now the production crew is pulling all the pieces together for the April 2012 start of season 2. A few details have officially and unofficially come out, details after the jump: [more inside]
The Rules of Magic. Every fantasy saga has its own rules for magic, and its own explanations for how the magical arts work. Where does magic come from? Who can use magic, and how? io9 has compiled a list of the rules of magic in 50 fantasy sagas. (jpg)
The fantasy artist of Xanth, Robert Jordan and many, many more...... If you read fantasy novels in the 70's, 80's, 90's, and beyond, up to ... well, just recently... you know his work. Please raise a . to... Darrel K. Sweet
Mordor’s going about it all wrong, incidentally. Harness all that geothermal energy, sell it to the humans, LIVE LIKE KINGS.
SF author and Mefi's Own Jscalzi was alone one night during a LOTR marathon and decided to live-tweet a running commentary.
Great food ideas for a fantasy and sci-fi themed Thanksgiving features recipes from Inn at the Crossroads (medieval recipes/Game of Thrones), Harry Potter Recipes, and The Geeky Chef ("a collection of recipes inspired by books, movies, and video games").
The Super Huge, Detailed Map of the Warhammer Old World is exactly what it claims to be. 29952 by 22528 pixels in size, it covers all of the Old World area of the Warhammer Fantasy setting. The map was made by Gitzman, who has made lots of other maps of the Warhammer Fantasy world, hosts a WFRPG podcast and has a bunch of other resources to help game masters and players in that setting. He had help from Andreas Blicher, whose site has even more maps of the Old World, and Alfred Nunez jr., who has even more maps, articles and resources for people interested in the Warhammer Fantasy universe.
Realistic stories once dominated American literature, but now writers are embracing the fantastical. What happened?
Snuff, Sir Terry Pratchett's 50th book (and 37th Discworld book) will be released in the U.S. tomorrow, and Neil Gaiman has interviewed him for Boing Boing. [more inside]
"Even if you ignore the embarrassing ceremony and clichéd platitudes, few of these awards actually reflected genuine quality or what is happening in mainstream genre publishing today."
British Fantasy Award winner returns prize; Sam Stone hands back award after criticism of judging process. [The Guardian] "Controversy has riven the 40-year-old British Fantasy Awards, with the winner of the best novel prize handing her award back just three days after it was bestowed. But the organisation and presentation of the awards has been drawing criticism since then, culminating in Sam Stone, the winner of the best novel award – named after American writer and editor August Derleth – announcing yesterday that she is giving it back. The biggest attack on the awards was delivered by editor and anthologist Stephen Jones, who on Tuesday posted a lengthy blog decrying the organisation of the BFAs and making several allegations against awards co-ordinator and British Fantasy Society chairman David Howe."
The paintings of Sergey Tyukanov are rich in colors, in characters, in details, delightful the eyes from the first sight. Each work is like a little world, where people live according to different rules. Normal proportions not respected in his works; surrealism characterizes his art the best, and traces of the Russian customs and traditional costumes may be spotted without much difficulty. It all seems to happen in a Russian fairytale or in the nightmare of an artist-because only in the head of an artist’s genius, such a nightmare could be born.
Over the summer, NPR solicited the input of its listeners to rank the top science fiction and fantasy books of all time. Over 60,000 people voted for the top picks which were then compiled into a list by their panel of experts. The result? This list of 100 books with a wide range of styles, little context, and absolutely no pithy commentary to help readers actually choose something to read from it. SF Signal comes to the rescue with this handy flowchart.
Oz and Ends is a blog about fantasy literature for kids. My favourite part of the site is the "Weekly Robin" feature, which muses on the well-known kid sidekick(s), from storytelling props and costume design to origins and possible futures.
You might know Parry Gripp (previously) as one of the nerf herders behind the Buffy theme song or the writer of dozens of obnoxiously catchy fake jingles. But did you know that he's also magic? Today, in honor of the release of Lev Grossman's The Magician King (review contains spoilers Grossman's The Magicians), Gripp has released "I Wanna Be a Magician," a Magicians fan song. [more inside]
NPR Books is asking people to vote for their ten favorite science fiction / fantasy books of all time. The list is exhaustive; the picking only ten is hard.
Cult books come and cult books go - that's part of what it means to be a cult book. A few keep reappearing, however. They get discovered over and over by successive waves of admirers. After the third or fourth reappearance, the suspicion begins to arise that this isn't a cult book, after all. It's a masterpiece with problems. Islandia is such a book. - Noel Perrin, "The Best of All Imaginary Islands" [more inside]
If you ever watched the 80s/90s UK children's TV fantasy show Knightmare, you may enjoy Adventure Call, from Limmy's Show, demonstrating the eloquence and imagination of the Scottish fantasy fan...NSFW [more inside]
Before Robert Jordan passed away, he dictated the ending of his Wheel of Time" series. This was just another bump in the rocky saga of the series. [more inside]
In other words, months before The War Games, The Mind Robber has quietly given us an origin story for the Doctor that is almost, but not quite, what we eventually get from the later "official" version. - Philip Sandifer discusses an alternate origin for Doctor Who.
"For a genre known for depicting obscure creatures, new concepts of civilization, and future predictions for humanity, sci-fi sure has a hard time being about more than white people." Multi-disciplinary artist Adriel Luis' list of "10 fantasmic films, books, and records to transport you to the unreal—while still letting you keep it real."
What to watch when you've finished running through The Wire, Dr. Who, Battlestar Galactica and Firefly on Netflix.
Why should you be watching HBO's Game of Thrones? In two words: Peter Dinklage. At 41 and expecting his first child, actor Peter Dinklage may finally be coming into his own. Though his breakout role in the indie movie Station Agent might not have made it onto your Netflix queue, Dinklage is winning accolades for his performance as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, the HBO series based on George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series, A Song of Fire and Ice. [more inside]
Terry Pratchett starts process to take his own life. Sir Terry Pratchett, the fantasy writer who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008, said yesterday he had started the formal process that could lead to his own assisted suicide at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. The fantasy writer Terry Pratchett says he has received consent forms requesting assisted suicide but has not yet signed them. [Previously] [Previously]
True love will get you laid for a couple of years and all of a sudden you're looking at someone and thinking, "What do I see in this person?"
Tamora Pierce is a writer of YA fantasy whose novels primarily feature female protagonists. Among other things, her novels explore privilege and prejudice within her fantastic cultures. In a recent interview for The Atlantic, she talks about why we need more girl heroes, the use of birth control for her teenage characters, and the myth of “sappy, sugary, true love”.
Fantasy writer Robin McKinley has a bat colony in her attic! (If you don't already love her try Sunshine or The Blue Sword.) It's the largest Pipistrelle nursery in Hampshire, and it's illegal to disturb them. Here's one on her chandelier! (Despite her claims to the contrary, the bats are not actually in her belfry: McKinley is, in fact, a bellringer, but pursues this activity offsite.) McKinley's bat-ventures have an antipodean analogue: the Botanic Garden in Sydney is still agonizing over what to do with its own adorable hell-fiend horde. (Previously on the blue.) Bats!
After over seven years, Stephen R. Donaldson, has stopped taking questions for his monumental and amazing Gradual Interview.
"After May 21, 2011, the Gradual Interview will no longer accept new questions or messages. I will continue to work my way through the questions which have already been accepted, but I can't do more. I'm too far behind on too many things, and the strain is affecting my concentration. Discontinuing the Gradual Interview is one of several things that I'm doing to simplify my life."The Gradual Interview is a fully-searchable question and answer session with his readers that currently contains over 2600 exchanges on topics including minutiae about his novels, his writing process, and many other interesting subjects. [more inside]
We all know beloved fantasy author Terry Pratchett has a sword, but did you know he has his own Coat of Arms?
The inmost circle is a geographically accurate map of Middle Earth according to Tolkien's design, and the journey of the Fellowship is plotted according to major destinations and places of action. - JT Fridsma [more inside]
In the basement rolling dice / I'm a wizard / When we play we do it right / Candles flicker / Fighting dragons in my mind / Just for kicks / DM says you're gonna die / Roll a D6
Fans of George RR Martin's "The Song of Ice and Fire" series are eagerly awaiting "A Dance With Dragons", the next book. This anticipation has led to hostility from some fans as to Martin's work ethic and the manner in which he spends his personal time.
A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book in George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, will arrive on July 12. [more inside]
Locus, the Magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Field, is the paper of record in the science fiction community. Every year the editors and reviewers at Locus publish a recommended reading list which includes novels, YA novels, first novels, anthologies and collections, related non-fiction, art books, and three types of shorter work (novellas, novelettes, and short stories). If you are at all interested in the current state of the SF&F genre you can't do better than Locus' yearly effort. The list for 2010 appears in the February issue. [more inside]
"I don’t particularly care for fantasy per se. What I actually cherish is something far more rare: the elevated prose poetry, mythopoeic subcreation, and thematic richness that only the best fantasy achieves, and that echoes in important particulars the myths and fables of old. This realization eliminates, at a stroke, virtually everything written under the banner of fantasy today."
... history is written by the winners. That's the philosophy behind "The Last Ringbearer," a novel set during and after the end of the War of the Ring... and told from the point of view of the losers. ... In Yeskov's retelling, the wizard Gandalf is a war-monger intent on crushing the scientific and technological initiative of Mordor and its southern allies because science "destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men!"
"Let's do those drive-in totals. We have: Nineteen dead bodies (plus fragments). Ten breasts (shame on you, TNT censors). Two zombie breasts. One-hundred twenty-five zombies. Mummy dogs. One-half zombie dog. Ten gallons blood. Brain-eating. Gratuitous embalming. Zombie fu. Nekkid punk-rocker fondue. Gratuitous midget zombie. Torso S&M. One motor vehicle chase (totalled by zombies). Pool cue fu. No aardvarking. Heads roll. Brains roll. Arms roll. Hands roll. Joe Bob says, Check It Out." Only on MonsterVision. [more inside]
Show The Monster : "Guillermo del Toro’s quest to get amazing creatures onscreen." Video: Monsters in the Making. (Via)
Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin had an eye for bold lines, vivid colors and hypnotic patterns but he also comfortable working in shades of gray, and he wasn't above making a buck. His early work illustrating fairy tales led naturally to his later engagement in the theater as a costume and set designer. [more inside]
"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."
Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown - A 90 minute documentary on HP Lovecraft with contributions by Neil Gaiman, John Carpenter and Guillermo Del Toro.
Richard Matheson—Storyteller - To mark the publication of a book of tribute stories writer and editor Richard Bradley has been blogging about the author's 60 year writing career- covering I Am Legend, Duel, and The Incredible Shrinking Man, not to mention Somewhere in Time (full index here). Of course Matheson is probably most famous for his contributions to the Twilight Zone, being one of it's three major writers and scripting Nightmare at 20,000 feet. Twice.
Ted Chiang is perhaps the finest author in contemporary science fiction -- and the most rarefied. A technical writer by trade and a graduate of the distinguished Clarion Writers Workshop, Chiang has published only twelve short stories in the last twenty years, one dozen masterpieces of the genre whose insightful, precise, often poetic language confronts fundamental ideas -- intelligence, consciousness, the nature of God -- and thrusts them into a dazzling new light. Click inside for a complete listing of Chiang's work, with links to online reprints or audio recordings where available, as well as a collection of one-on-one interviews, links to his nonfiction essays, and a few other related sites and articles. [more inside]
Fritz Leiber Jr. was born 100 years ago today. An actor (and son of an actor) and writer, he is best known for his characters Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (old school website). Project Gutenberg has some stories. Previously on Metafilter. [more inside]
Don't know what to buy your sexy nerd for Christmas? Maybe he/she would enjoy a customizable Cthulhu sex-toy. Or a "fully interactive" Na'vi experience. Or a steampunk death-ray. Or a ride on a silicone Gryphon. (All links NSFW)
The December Lights Project: A short story archive An archive of fanciful, feel-good stories that will keep updating throughout December. These are tremendous fun if you like scifi, magic and fantasy. One of my favorites so far is Queen of the Kitchen, by Karen Healey.