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.
An Illustrated History of Games Workshop and Fighting Fantasy - Jackson and Livingstone - audio, sans illustrations. The story of how Steve Jackson (not that Steve Jackson) and Ian Livingstone kickstarted tabletop roleplaying in the UK and founded a gaming behemoth that is very different today.
Jeff Vandermeer discusses Amazons top 10 SF/Fantasy books of the year, which he selected in consultation with Amazon editors : Part 1, Part 2.
OMNI was launched (PDF) by Kathy Keeton, long-time companion and later wife of Penthouse magazine publisher Bob Guccione, who described the magazine in its first issue as "an original if not controversial mixture of science fact, fiction, fantasy and the paranormal". [more inside]
On Tor.com, Mefi'sown Patrick Garcon (smoke) is writing lively essays on Victorian fantasy illustration, from the Pre-Raphaelites to Orientalism. [via mefi projects]
The Lone Wolf 'choose your own adventure' series [previously] is considered by many to have been the best of its kind. Author Joe Dever licensed the books in 1999 to be distributed for free online. Project Aon, the organization which distributes the books has now released a dedicated client for playing Lone Wolf, automating all record keeping and randomization. Kieron Gillen, comic book writer and games journalist, writes an appreciation of the series and review of the new client. If you don't want take the time to go through it on your own, rpg.net had a 'let's play' series starting here (index here). But go play it yourself, epic fantasy adventure awaits!
The annual Orbit books survey of Fantasy cover art: Fantasy Art, The Changing Fashion of Urban Fantasy Heroines, Color trends in Dragons, Title Trends and Fonts.
Umineko no Naku Koro ni (warning: that entire description is possibly a lie) is a dojin visual novel (or, as the creators prefer, a sound novel) that has recently reached its seventh chapter Japanese. In addition, a group called the Witch Hunt has recently released an English patch for the sixth chapter. Forming the third and fourth part of the When They Cry series that began with Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Umineko cranks the concept of metanarrative up to 11 and then breaks the knob. [more inside]
Inspired by the cage matches between popular characters over at Suvudu, Random House's SF/fantasy blog, Heather Zundel and friends have started a YA Fantasy version. At least 3 of the characters' authors are involved in the fight write-ups, although one author reacted differently. All I know is that I have a lot of books to check out.
Are you an aspiring writer of genre fiction? Would you like to workshop your stuff before submitting it to magazines and publishers, but you don't happen to have a group of local friends that you can workshop with? Critters.org is an online, highly automated fiction workshop. You submit your manuscript, it waits in a queue until its time comes up, and then it gets sent out to all the active subscribers, some of whom will hopefully send you some helpful feedback! Make sure to critique at least one story every week, though, or you lose your privileges to post your own stories to the queue. [more inside]
War of the words - Science fiction was once driven by a faith in human ability to change the world. These days, the genre seeks to expose the illusions of everyday life. cf. near-future science fiction [1,2] & radical presentism  (via mr)
John Jannuzzi of Textbook pulls together fresh-off-the-runway, high-fashion looks for fictional characters and historical figures, answering that eternal question: What Would Holden Caulfield Wear? Or Eleanor of Aquitaine? Or Zelda? Or Rasputin? Or an assortment of Pokemon?
Fans of Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear please take note: they are designing some kind of iPhone App. [more inside]