The title of Allen Williams' website, "I Just Draw," undersells his works. These are no idle doodles, but rather, as Guillermo del Toro wrote: "Entire worlds flow from Allen Williams' pencil and brush. Creatures and characters more twisted and full of humanity than our imagination dares to conjure. He is an incredible draughtsman and a true original mind." You can see more of Williams' works on his blog. Click on the images to enlarge them. [more inside]
Old School FRP is a tumblr blog with a ton of illustrations and art from the golden age of Dungeons and Dragons and games that were totally not Dungeons and Dragons.
There’s a moment which comes every time Minh Ha enters the Hall of the Dead: a single, agonizing moment of hope when she sees the streets before the bombs extinguished the lanterns hanging in the trees—when she sees Mother and the aunts exactly as she remembers them, their faces creased like crumpled paper—when she hears them say, “Come to us, child,” in Rong, just as they once did, when handing her the red envelopes of the New Year celebration.
It never lasts.
The Problems of the 1st and 3rd Worlds have been well covered. And in 2011 we found out about 5th World Problems and 6th World Problems. But there are new worlds and new problems (and new ways to express them). Let's explore some shall we? [more inside]
The Castle That Jack Built — by Emily Gilman, a finalist for the short story category of the 2013 World Fantasy Awards. (via)
"I think the answer is 100 per cent of people cheated! That's what everyone tells us. Do we mind? No." A history of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy game books.
If you rented VHS horror and sci-fi in the late eighties and early nineties, then you’ll recognize the name of Charles Band. [more inside]
At several moments during the presentation, I wrote in block capitals, circling and underlining. This is the headline feature. This is something nobody has tried or managed to do before. Then, toward the mid-point, while I was still processing what had already come, lead designer Dave Georgeson demonstrated a feature that changed everything.
Everquest Next’s world is made of voxels and everything in it is destructible.
As much as Metafilter loves Jim Henson's Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, neither of those films would be half as powerful without the work of Brian and Wendy Froud. [more inside]
Science fiction and fantasy writer/editor Jay Lake has been living with cancer for years, but in early May received notice that unfortunately he wouldn't do so for much longer (diagnostic details), with the most optimistic forecast giving him just a year left to live. If nothing else, this has given him time to wind up his affairs, as well as do something few people get the chance to: attend his own wake.
Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples , has swept the Eisners, taking home awards for Best Continuing Series, Best New Series and Best Writer. Here's why you should be reading it.
The Moon is Rolling in Her Grave is a video adaptation of the first chapter of the ongoing (since 2003) comic series "No Rest For The Wicked" by Andrea L. Peterson, a fantasy / adventure / horror tale that takes traditional fairytales and turns them on their heads: "Ms. Peterson uses, in conjunction with several more popular fables, folktales that you may have never even heard of. The entire plot actually centers around a little known Grimm fairytale called 'The Buried Moon', while also making reference to 'Red Riding Hood', 'Hansel & Gretel', 'The Girl Without Hands', 'The Boy Who Went Forth and Learned What Fear Was', and many MANY others." [more inside]
The 2013 Locus Awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy have been announced by Locus Magazine, and (at least) two MeFi writers have won in the novel categories. [more inside]
What would the night sky look like if the other planets were as close as the moon?
"If Shirley Jackson’s intent was to symbolize into complete mystification, and at the same time be gratuitously disagreeable, she certainly succeeded" - The New Yorker takes a look at the over 300 letters in reaction to The Lottery
Nill Kamui is an independent island caught in a power struggle between the forces of Donatia, the land of Knights and the Church, and Koran, an empire of secrets and the immortal empress Ghost Mother. When the Red Dragon, the ancient protector of the island, goes berserk and starts killing for no reason, a desperate plan is hatched: a team of representatives from each of the three powers is given a mission to find why the Red Dragon went mad and stop him by any means necessary. Red Dragon is a tabletop RPG campaign with its own trailer, and that's not all. [more inside]
The LA Times Hero Complex looks at diversity in SF and Fantasy fiction.
"I've been thinking recently about the way readers come to be in sympathy with characters in a story. This is something that isn't talked about much, and when it is it seems to be in terms of how to manipulate the reader. Indeed, I stopped reading Orson Scott Card for a different reason than the reason everyone else stopped reading him -- long ago he said in a book on how to write that you get reader sympathy by taking a sympathetic character, preferably a child, and doing something terrible to them, like for instance torturing them. Once I knew he was doing this on purpose it was like "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain", I couldn't enjoy reading because I felt manipulated. Also, torturing children? Really? That's the only way to make me care? I don't think so." -- Jo Walton's Wiscon speech on how to make readers care about your characters.
Magdalena Bors constructs and photographs fantastical landscapes in domestic spaces. Her site doesn't make it easy to link specific images, so check out the different galleries under Images.
Orson Scott Card's Unaccompanied Sonata [Google Books], which he has called one of his favorite short stories, is an darkly enchanting tale about a boy who, at a young age, is taken from his family and brought to a house deep in the forest...
"So. I get it. The world used to agree with you. You used to be able to say things like, “I really like those lady writers in this industry, especially in swimsuits!” and your fellow writers, editors, agents, and other assorted colleagues would all wink and grin and agree with you, and Asimov would go around pinching women’s asses, and it was so cool!" -- Kameron Hurley is not amused by the ongoing sexism problems in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America or the idea that criticism of this is censorship. [more inside]
Cecil Crowninshield, resident mystical defender of Salem Massachusetts, has put down his Lumurian Quartz topped wand and picked up the keyboard to help keep his neighbors informed of goings-on around town via a series of local news columns - Impress your date! - The Top Five Salem Sandwiches and the ghosts who stole them! - Magick On A Budgetk! When not writing his regular column, Cecil enjoys commenting on others. [via mefi projects]
Because you’ve seen this story so many times, because you already know the nature and history of llamas, it sometimes shocks you, of course, to see a llama outside of these media spaces. The llamas you see don’t have scales. So you doubt what you see, and you joke with your friends about “those scaly llamas” and they laugh and say, “Yes, llamas sure are scaly!” and you forget your actual experience. -- We Have Always Fought: Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative by Kameron Hurley.
Each event has a different theme, revolving around a past era. Previously, Steam Garden did a Meiji-themed party — a fascinating time when Japan was opening its doors to the West, and fusing Victorian fashion with traditional kimonos and obis. This time, the code word was Celtic Fantasy. Luke describes it as “a blend of industry, fantasy, and epic adventure set to a soundtrack of exciting tribal and Celtic music.” - Japanese Steampunk, complete with bagpipes, medieval food, fire dancers and wood elves.
Vim Adventures. Have you always wanted to learn vim but were too intimidated by its vimness? Then give vim adventures a shot! Combining fantasy adventure with learning an archaic terminal program, this game is so nerdy you'll surely alienate friends and family. But who cares, you'll know vim! [more inside]
Richard Kadrey is not the most prolific novelist in the world. Still, every five, six years or so out comes another book like Metrophage, or Kamikaze L'Amour, dark, violent, intense works mostly set in and around Los Angeles with characters straight out of a good punk rock song. The self-confessing film nerd is probably best known for his Sandman Slim series, and if you're impatient for the forthcoming Dead Set novel, you can bide your time with a ton of short stories online. [more inside]
Unsounded is an ongoing fantasy webcomic by Ashley Cope. Updates are Monday-Wednesday-Friday, the scope of the story is apparently enormous, the writing is great, the world is complex, well-planned, and full of fistfights, magic-fights, political intrigue, zombies, giant dogs as beasts of burden, diverse characters, and smoke eels from the great beyond. Chapter 1 begins here.
As you know Bob, the gender inbalance within science fiction and fantasy has been a hot button item for a while now. As the just released Strange Horizons count of books reviewed and reviewers writing in sf publications in 2012 shows, this gender inbalance shows no tendency to decline just yet, with some notable exceptions. However it might just be that this gender imbalance is exacerbated in the count by the omission of RT Bookreviews? [more inside]
U.K. illustrator Kate Baylay creates gorgeous book illustrations, like these for The Olive Fairy Book. [more inside]
"I should have known before Night Shade came to me with a deal that things were rotten. Instead, I got an email immediatley upon announcing that I’d inked the deal saying “You know they aren’t paying people, right?” Everything authors knew about the rotten abuse at Night Shade was shared in private. With a few exceptions (Moon and Williams, most notably) no one was talking out loud about what was happening. The SFWA was accomodating and gracious and gave them chance after chance. We should have spoken up. All of us." Kameron Hurley talks about the culture of silence surrounding the problems at Night Shade Books. [more inside]
Caldera. "Through the eyes of a young girl suffering from mental illness, CALDERA glimpses into a world of psychosis and explores a world of ambiguous reality and the nature of life and death." [Via]
‘I am a phantasmagoric maximalist. I like things to be overwhelmingly strange and capacitous. I want what I write to live; it isn’t about something, it is something’— Michael Cisco. [more inside]
A collection of baseball writers have gotten together for a different kind of fantasy draft. All the players are fictional, although some players are more fictional than others. [more inside]
"It’s pretty safe to say that a decent chunk of the population experiences sex-related sneezes." [more inside]
"There use to be just sci-fi [sic]; then along came New Wave, New Weird, Cyberpunk and countless other genres; now new writing is stepping beyond even these" -- The Irish Times discovers it can be hard to tell what's science fiction and what's fantasy these days.
"When looking at a sample of bloggers reviewing SF/F, a majority of men will skew toward reviewing more men. A majority of women will skew toward a more equal gender parity, or the opposite in which they review a majority of women. There will be a handful of outliers." -- An analysis of the visibility of women in (online) science fiction and fantasy reviews and whether the gender of the reviewer impacts that visibility.
A brief Tumblr rant about Fantasy: The great temptation, the fatal temptation, of adult fans of fantastic fiction is the temptation of Law. We want the contents of our imagination taxonomied and classified, ordered and indexed, subject to rules and regulations. Gaps exist to be filled. Mysteries exist to be solved. Legends are just timelines that haven’t been formalized yet. Fantastic fiction becomes a code to crack. [...] It’s like people really want to write a wiki, and have to come up with the pesky “moving, powerful, imaginative literature” stuff out of obligation. via
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]
"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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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.
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]