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The Value of Grit

One person’s disheartening pessimism that threatens the heart of western civilisation is another’s thought provoking deconstruction of conventions. Joe Abercrombie discusses the value of grit and grimdark in modern fantasy in response to some criticism regarding the state of the genre. [more inside]
posted by never used baby shoes on Feb 28, 2013 - 67 comments

Influential- though vile and ponderous

Fifty Sci-Fi and Fantasy Works Every Socialist Should Read (by China Mieville)
posted by showbiz_liz on Feb 15, 2013 - 146 comments

When Walt Met Peter Met Abe Met Andy Met Philip: "The Perfect American"

"Disney goes to Anaheim late at night to help repair the animatronic Disneyland Lincoln, which has been malfunctioning and attacking members of the audience. Disney gets in an argument with the robot about blacks, and Lincoln goes crazy again and whacks Walt...." (source). Starting today at 2 PM Eastern time (just under 3 hours from now) and for the next 90 days, medici.tv will stream, free of charge, Teatro Real's January 22 premiere performance of the new Philip Glass opera The Perfect American. It's based on the novel of the same name by Peter Stephan Jungk, which the NY Times called "a surreal, meditative, episodic account of the last days of Walt Disney." Four minute preview video. ENO rehearsal trailer. (Happy belated 76th, Mr. Glass.) [more inside]
posted by maudlin on Feb 6, 2013 - 21 comments

Collections of sci-fi online

Sometimes you might find yourself sitting at a computer, wanting to read something. But you don't want something long. You're thinking, what about a short story, and possibly something in the fantasy or sci-fi realms? You're in luck! Here are four collections, for your reading pleasure: Apex Magazine short fiction | Baen Ebooks Free Library, which includes some short story collections | Eclipse Online, from Nightshade Books | Strange Horizons fiction archive, including podcasts of many stories. If this is overwhelming, io9 has a pick of 5 short stories from January, with synopses. [Previously: Plane of the Ecliptic, on the Eclipse series | This isn't your grandfather's science fiction, where "Exhalation" is from the Eclipse series]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 5, 2013 - 15 comments

Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen

At a time when the Lord of the Rings didn't exist as a film or a book trilogy, Fritz Lang created the 5-hour-long film Die Nibelungen (The Nibelungs, 1924), based on the 13th-century poem Die Nibelungenlied (The Song of the Nibelungs). A short clip of Siegfried slaying the dragon was used as a trailer for the restored edition of the film. [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Feb 3, 2013 - 28 comments

H.P. Lovecraft's fantasy novel, as a comic and animated movie

H.P. Lovecraft, inspired by Lord Dunsany (Wikipedia; Project Gutenberg; UPenn online library) and Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom (annotated stories online), created the Dreamlands, in which he set the 20+ stories of the Dream Cycle. The longest story was The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (Wikipedia), completed in 1927, but unpublished in his lifetime. Comic artist, Jason Thompson, started illustrating the story in high school, then re-drew the story after college, and that comic was semi-animated as a feature-length film. He wrote up his influences for a hidden commentary on the DVD, and expanded it online as The Annotated Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. More Lovecraft sketches and comics online in Thompson's Mockman archive. [Previously: Lovecraft comic adaptations]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 1, 2013 - 34 comments

Walking To Mordor And Back Again

For the release of the Hobbit, Lindsay Ellis of the Nostalgia Chick (previously) has decided to look back at all the LOTR films in order to analyze how they changed genre film-making, expected movie length, extended cuts, the problems of adaptation, and why Eowyn and Merry are made for each other. (Fellowship Of The Ring, Two Towers, Return Of The King Part 1, Part 2) Still need more? Then why not watch Kerry Shawcross and Chris Demarais of Rooster Teeth (previously) try to walk the 120+ mile journey across New Zealand from the filming location of Hobbiton in Matamata to the filming location of Mount Doom, Mount Ngauruhoe in A Simple Walk Into Mordor.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 1, 2013 - 29 comments

Kindness killed, just as surely as the huntsman's knife

Seven For A Secret - an anonymous fanfic author creates seven unhappy ( or at least, unconventional ) endings for Disney Princesses by placing them in proper historical, mythological, or thematic context.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 27, 2012 - 53 comments

"Mio, min Mio" av Astrid Lindgren

This 1987 live-action film version of an allegorical fantasy by Swedish children's author Astrid Lindgren was co-produced by Swedish, Norwegian, and Soviet filmmakers; shot in Sweden, Scotland, and the USSR; and starred a mixed British/Russian/Swedish cast. Among others, it featured confirmed wizard Christopher Lee and an adolescent Christian "This Isn't a Car" Bale, and was scored by Abba's Benny Andersson. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on Dec 25, 2012 - 11 comments

There is always a last time for everything

Is Science Fiction promoting pseuodoscience? Is it not really better than fantasy? Is it exhausted and dying, per Paul Kincaid (part 1, part 2), a sort of genre-writing version of completing a list of The Nine Billion Names of God? Does physics-bothering unrepentant space case Alistair Reynolds have a compass pointing the way forwards?
posted by Artw on Dec 19, 2012 - 84 comments

Is the beard gray? Does he have a donut-shaped beard extremity? Does he look goofy?

How to identify each Hobbit dwarf by their epic beards
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Dec 14, 2012 - 142 comments

Warning, academic in the house

I am BUSY today, far too busy for a rant, but then I felt one coming on, and was worried I might end up with a migraine if I tried to stifle it. You know how it is. So let’s talk about sexism in history vs. sexism in fantasy. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Dec 8, 2012 - 127 comments

"Asking where a fairy tale came from is like asking who invented the meatball."

Once Upon A Time - The Lure Of The Fairy Tale [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 4, 2012 - 19 comments

Fantasy board games

Fantasy-themed board games from the early 80 to the early 90s.
posted by curious nu on Dec 3, 2012 - 54 comments

Jeffrey Beebe's Refractoria

Over the last fifteen years, I have created the world of Refractoria, a comprehensive imagino-ordinary world that is equal parts autobiography and pure fantasy. - Jeffrey Beebe [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Nov 27, 2012 - 11 comments

Adventure Chef, c'mon tell your friends, we'll cook in very distant lands.

Rutabaga, a webcomic about an adventuring chef.
posted by curious nu on Nov 15, 2012 - 9 comments

All I remember about it was that I was having sex with Pierce Brosnan in a hot tub. Except that he had a vagina.

"Emma Stone was my dream best friend for a number of weeks. We'd see movies together. Get drinks and gossip. I remember one dream where we just texted. She resurfaced as my best friend last fall after I saw The Help. An actual friend of mine once told me a story about meeting Andrew Garfield's best friend, which meant Andrew Garfield and I were dream best friends for the following few nights. Again, there was texting." The Awl asks people: What Was Your Weirdest Celebrity Sex Dream?
posted by The Whelk on Nov 15, 2012 - 113 comments

Behold, the Orc!

Ecce Orcus! An Argument for Humanizing the Orc [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 6, 2012 - 52 comments

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, a podcast in which writer and game designer Robin D. Laws (Hamlet's Hitpoints, The GUMSHOE system) and game designer and writer Kenneth Hite (Tour De Lovecraft, GURPS Horror) (previously) talk about stuff. Stuffs include: Why vampires are assholes and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, stopping WWI and Beasts of the Southern Wild, Margaret Atwood and the difference between a mystic and an occultist, why no invented setting is as interesting as the real world and Woodrow Wilson, Gencon and sundry RPGs, Neil Armstrong, HP Blavatsky and theosophy, the ebook prcing settlement, what big publishing could learn from RPG publishers, and the many crazy fictional possibilities of Charles Lindbergh and his UFO investigating chums, and Dungeons and Dragons edition wars and Aliester Crowley.
posted by Artw on Sep 30, 2012 - 30 comments

Light Ahead for the Negro...

Author and librarian, Jess Nevins, offers The Black Fantastic: Highlights of Pre-World War II African and African-American Speculative Fiction. [more inside]
posted by artof.mulata on Sep 29, 2012 - 5 comments

As you wish!

It's The Princess Bride's 25th anniversary! Little known facts about it. Fred Savage remembers. Why it's Jonathan Haynes's favorite film. Reunion. And don't worry, there's no remake in the works.
posted by Artw on Sep 25, 2012 - 160 comments

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, went on sale 75 years ago today. The first printing, by Allen & Unwin, was for 1,500 copies (which now fetch a premium at auction); the first reviewer, the son of the publisher, was paid a shilling. Through a contorted publishing history, exact or even approximate sales figures are unknown; "over a hundred million" is often quoted. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Sep 21, 2012 - 108 comments

South Wales, and Beyond the Infinite

What I wrote was unquestionably fiction — was fantasy. Among Others has magic and fairies. But I was writing fantasy about a science fiction reader who had a lot of the same things happen to her that happened to me. It’s set at the end of 1979 and the beginning of 1980, and it’s about a fifteen year old just when I was fifteen, and from a family like mine and in the time and place and context where I was. I was using a lot of my own experience and memories. But this is Mori, not me, and she lives in a world where magic is real. Jo Walton, who as editor for tor.com revisisted the Hugos 1953-2000, now has one of her own, taking home the 2012 Best Novel Award for Among Others. Other winners include Kij Johnson for her Novella The Man who Bridged the Mist (excerpt) and io9 regular Charlie Jane Anders for her novellete Six Months, Three Days. The Best Graphic Story award went to the webcomic Digger by Ursula Vernon. E Lily Yu took home the Bets New Writer award (technically not a Hugo) and was also nominated for her short story The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees. A couple of TV shows you have heard of also got awards. Links to many of the nominated stories here.
posted by Artw on Sep 3, 2012 - 51 comments

Magic realism: not fantasy. Sorry.

Magic realism: not fantasy. Sorry.
posted by shivohum on Aug 27, 2012 - 136 comments

"Very good, sir. Should I lay out your crazy adventure garb?"

What If Other Authors Had Written The Lord Of The Rings?...Wilde, Wodehouse, and more.
posted by The Whelk on Aug 19, 2012 - 50 comments

What Clarke said

Fall, Mortality, and the Machine: Tolkien and Technology From the beginnings of modern fantasy, in the work of Tolkien, technology has always been the enemy of the good life. But does it have to be that way?
posted by infini on Jul 28, 2012 - 82 comments

District of Wonders

In need of a regular dose of audio short fiction, whether it's horror, crime, or pulp fantasy? Welcome to the District of Wonders, a collection of podcasts spun off from the award winning StarShipSofa (previously, previosly).
posted by Artw on Jul 27, 2012 - 9 comments

False Positive: a stew of short sci-fi and the macabre comics

False Positive is a a short story, webcomic anthology, which author and illustrator Mike Walton likes to call a stew, cooked from the gut, made with "a scoop of horror, a pinch of science-fiction, a dash of fantasy, and a bit of (To Be Determined)." Mike says the language could be rated PG-13, and the visuals feature a varying degrees of comic book violence and gore. There are 10 stand-alone "chapters" posted now, and new posts are made every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Mike also made a short trailer to further pique your interest. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 23, 2012 - 10 comments

I've traveled to the floor of the pit of my own free will.

The trailer for Dungeons and Dragons 3: The Book of Vile Darkness has been released onto the Internet. [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on Jun 26, 2012 - 123 comments

"You can find the Beef", she stated, while doing a handstand for no apparent reason.

Tycho Brahe, probably best known for his drinking and pill binge of 1997 was the author of a great number of fantasy works, of which the most influential may have been The Story That Is Built One Sentence At a Time By Those That Read It.
posted by 256 on Jun 25, 2012 - 52 comments

Gorgeous fantasy photos

Kirsty Mitchell's late mother Maureen was an English teacher who spent her life inspiring generations of children with imaginative stories and plays. Following Maureen's death from a brain tumour in 2008, Kirsty channelled her grief into her passion for photography. She retreated behind the lens of her camera and created Wonderland, an ethereal fantasy world.
posted by Arbac on Jun 22, 2012 - 13 comments

In the land of the Old Masters, the multimedia technician is increasingly king.

Factum Arte in Madrid has made an animation film based on Giovanni Battista Piranesi's Carceri d'Invenzione prints; and have also built many of his pieces which shows the workings of his imagination, merging his architectural ambitions with his obsessive interest in antiquity. Giovanni Battista Piranesi was a source of inspiration for, among others, Goya, Poe, Escher, Max Ernst, De Chirico. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Jun 13, 2012 - 4 comments

Gingerbread House

"There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls. It’s been many years since any child was taken. But still, on nights like these, when the wind comes cold from Tsibeya, mothers hold their daughters tight and warn them not to stray too far from home. “Be back before dark,” they whisper. “The trees are hungry tonight.” Tor.com brings us some short horror/fairy tale fiction from Leigh Bardugo, "The Witch of Duva: A Ravkan Folk Tale."
posted by The Whelk on Jun 8, 2012 - 29 comments

Theodor Kittelsen

Theodor Kittelsen (1857-1914) was a Norwegian artist, famous for his (frequently astonishing) pictures of trolls, as well as his illustrations of dragons, fairies, folk stories and the occasional absolute horror. [more inside]
posted by dng on Jun 6, 2012 - 24 comments

"I will lead the attack!"

"First of all, we almost had no battle at all. For budgetary reasons we came very, very close to having all the action take place off-screen, the way plays have handled battle scenes for a few thousand years." - How the epic battle at the heart of the latest episode of Game of Thrones, Blackwater, written by George R. R. Martin and directed by Neil Marshall, came to be. Mentor relationships in Game of Thrones (and Mad Men). The National's Lannister song. And, perhaps sriking closest of all to the central themes of the show, Jezebel plays Game of Thrones: Marry, Fuck, Kill.
posted by Artw on May 31, 2012 - 241 comments

Where Do We Go From Here?

SF author and Mefi's Own Charles Stross talks about the future of "big idea" Science Fiction: If SF's core message (to the extent that it ever had one) is obsolete, what do we do next?
posted by The Whelk on May 23, 2012 - 71 comments

The Man Who Thought He Was King

"I want to know how I am a small press, if I am outselling Robin Hobb and Terry Goodkind and Tolkien?" Fantasy author M.R. Mathias has a disagreement with Fantasy-Faction.com.
posted by Avenger50 on May 21, 2012 - 68 comments

"The beauty of [science fiction] is—the whole point of it is—that humans are the same."

Each morning at 9am for the next two weeks, (Mefi's Own) scifi and fantasy author John Scalzi will be chatting with musician Jonathan Coulton about one of his science fiction songs -- a different song each morning, -- in a daily podcast over at Tor.com called Journey to Planet JoCo. Series index. On May 29th, they'll be premiering a brand new, previously unheard Coulton song.
posted by zarq on May 17, 2012 - 3 comments

The Use Of Aslan Or Morpheus Is Cheating

Tor.com asks: So Who Would Make Up The Epic Fantasy Version Of The Avengers?
posted by The Whelk on May 10, 2012 - 169 comments

Probably not suitable for actual combat with dragons.

How to Make Fantasy Video Game styled Helmets and Armor. [more inside]
posted by quin on May 5, 2012 - 10 comments

What's good for the goose...

Posing like a man: after doing his back in imitating the cover poses fantasy heroines find themselves in (previously), Jim Hines is now trying out the male equivalent. Will these be any more dignified? The answer might surprise you! [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Apr 24, 2012 - 45 comments

How to be a fan of problematic things.

How to be a fan of problematic things.
posted by zoo on Apr 3, 2012 - 206 comments

The wizard under the hill

Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Brisingamen trilogy is to be concluded with Boneland, over 50 years after it started.
posted by Artw on Mar 16, 2012 - 30 comments

There are neither beginnings or endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.

"It all started with wondering what it was really like to be tapped on the shoulder and told that you are the savior of mankind. Ten years of thinking about that, and I began writing." He was James Oliver Rigney, Jr., a Vietnam vet who went on to get a degree in physics from The Citadel, and was then a nuclear engineer for the US Navy. He put all that behind him and started writing a variety of fantasy novels under various aliases. As Reagan O'Neal, he wrote the Fallon trilogy of historical fantasy in the early 1980s, which he followed up with a quick series of Conan novels as Robert Jordan. Under this pen name, he spent a decade planning and four years writing The Eye of the World, the first book in The Wheel of Time, an epic storyline in a fantasy world. Jordan had planned out the broad story arc from the beginning to the "final scene in the final book," but he died before his epic tale could be completed. A young author, Brandon Sanderson, was chosen by Rigney's wife and editor, Harriet McDougal, to complete the portions of the tale left as a loose collection of notes. One last book became three, and just last month, the release date of the final book was set: January 8, 2013, in the final month of the Year of the Dragon. Now that the end is in sight, you might feel the pull of nostalgia to finish the series, or maybe you're interested to see what all this fuss is about. With around 11,000 pages, 635 chapters, and more than four million words, it's a complex, daunting world to (re)enter. Fear not, the internet is here to help. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 10, 2012 - 66 comments

Reversal of the Heart

Reversal of the Heart - a 13 minute animated film of the fantasy persusasion, the senior thesis of artist Carolyn Chrisman.
posted by Wolfdog on Mar 8, 2012 - 6 comments

Roll 1d12 dot com

It's On The Ceiling! Roll d12:
1. d100 Swords of Damocles
2. City of the Intellectual Bats
3. Manhole-like trap door to maintenance level
4. Tapestry of webs depicting events in spider history
5. Stalactite pueblo dwellers: evil dungeon fairies
6. Adventurers impaled on barbed spikes
7. The furniture: nailed up by prankster
8. Alarming amount of dripping water and muddy seepage
9. Pulsating illumination from strange glass tubes in metal fixtures
10. Shriekers!
11. Eyes (d1000)
12. Hand-chiseled diagram of dungeon level
This and many other useful tables for DM improvisation at The Dungeon Dozen. New table every day!
posted by JHarris on Feb 3, 2012 - 22 comments

"Except for that Abercrombie. Swear that guy has Plot Armor to prevent anything bad from ever happening to him, just like his characters."

10 SFF Authors Play D&D Together’ by Brent Weeks
posted by Fizz on Jan 25, 2012 - 39 comments

"This was a game he never won, even when he was sober."

PodCastle is a free weekly fantasy podcast with 192 full-length episodes and 67 mini-episodes. Featured authors have included Elizabeth Bear, Hal Duncan, and MeFi's own Willow Fagan. [projects]
posted by 256 on Jan 23, 2012 - 7 comments

Day at Night, half-hour New York public television interviews from the 70s

Day at Night was an interview series on the public television station of the City University of New York that aired from 1973-4. CUNY TV is in the process of digitizing and uploading the 130 episodes that were produced, with 46 done so far. The episodes are just under half an hour in length. Among the people interviewed by host James Day are author Ray Bradbury, actress Myrna Loy, medical researcher Jonas Salk, singer Cab Calloway, writer Christopher Isherwood, nuclear scientist Edward Teller, comedian Victor Borge, tennis player Billie Jean King, linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, composer Aaron Copland, actor Vincent Price and boxer Muhammad Ali.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 16, 2012 - 6 comments

A Pixie is trapped in frost...

William and Sly 2 is a gorgeous, ethereal fantasy exploration game wherein you play a nimble fox tasked with finding the scattered pages of your human friend's journal, while gathering mushrooms, finding keys to unlock mystery boxes, and freeing rune-bound spirits and pixies trapped in frost along the way. [more inside]
posted by taz on Jan 16, 2012 - 14 comments

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