Art by Scott Grimando
Okay. So, maybe I made up the quote in the title, it’s not from this book, but, well… it’s true, no? Just look at this awesome cover.
I think we can all agree that, in general, there is a lot of pretty awful Fantasy and Science Fiction cover art these days, right? Sure, there’s some great work being done (like this, or this), but there’s also a proliferation super generic, dudebro, fistbump, “Pass me my hood, brah”-style covers that do little to improve the mainstream opinion that Fantasy is for kids, or neckbeards living in their parents’ basement. Continue reading
The Flames of Shadam Khoreh
Release Date: 20130605
Publisher: Quillings Literary Services
In 2011, I raved about The Winds of Khalakovo, the first instalment in Bradley P. Beaulieu’s The Lay of Anuskaya. I acquired the follow-up, The Straits of Galahesh, several months before it was released in 2012. Unfortunately, the first 50 pages felt impenetrable even after reading them a dozen different times. When Beaulieu announced the upcoming release of the final volume, The Flames of Shadam Khoreh, I committed myself to finishing the second novel in order to read the conclusion. Despite a long, arduous struggle through The Straits of Galahesh that never really abated, I’m so pleased to call The Flames of Shadam Khoreh a rousing success that exceeds all of the expectations placed on it by Beaulieu’s exceptional debut.
A rousing success that exceeds all of the expectations placed on it by [The Winds of Khalakovo].
Beaulieu’s third book begins nearly two years after the events of The Straits of Galahesh. War has moved from the islands to the mainland, and the Grand Duchy knows its time may be limited. The rifts between worlds grow ever wider, and Nikandr believes Nasim is the only one who can close them. I offer only the most basic of framework because to reveal more would result in endless paragraphs as to call Beaulieu’s narrative sprawling is a gross understatement. Before I go too far into what makes The Flames of Shadam Khoreh a success, I think it’s important to couch it in terms of what came before. Continue reading
'We Have Always Fought': Challenging the 'Women, Cattle and Slaves' Narrative
I’m going to tell you a story about llamas. It will be like every other story you’ve ever heard about llamas: how they are covered in fine scales; how they eat their young if not raised properly; and how, at the end of their lives, they hurl themselves – lemming-like- over cliffs to drown in the surging sea. They are, at heart, sea creatures, birthed from the sea, married to it like the fishing people who make their livelihood there.
Every story you hear about llamas is the same. You see it in books: the poor doomed baby llama getting chomped up by its intemperate parent. On television: the massive tide of scaly llamas falling in a great, majestic herd into the sea below. In the movies: bad-ass llamas smoking cigars and painting their scales in jungle camouflage.
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. Continue reading
I happened across these maps a couple of weeks ago on the Fantasy sub-Reddit (enter at your own risk), and they haven’t left my mind. So, like any thought that won’t escape, I felt it’d be best to set it free so I can move on.These maps are hand-made, and gorgeously textured. The map-fetishist in me (and, frankly, the ol’ Warhammer fan) is madly in love. It’s been discussed to death, but there’s something magically tangible about a good map, one on paper, or leather and hung on a wall, and I’d love to see how these models appear in person. Continue reading
A Memory of Light
Release Date: 20130108
Publisher: Tor Books
After nearly twenty three years and countless millions of words vomited out upon thousands of pages, Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series finally concludes with its fourteenth volume, A Memory of Light. It has been a memorable series for those who’ve read, it albeit for some such as myself, it has become more an exercise in patience and restraint, waiting to see if the payoff justifies to any extent the laborious parsing of repetitive descriptions, redundant sentences, clothing and furniture porn, hackneyed villain motivations, etc. My own opinion of the series has fluctuated between a diversion during my last semester of grad school in the Fall of 1997 (it was a change of pace from reading Hitler’s memoirs and speeches for my grad seminar/research) toward it being a repetitive, poorly structured (and written) clunker of a novel/series. I wrote a series of posts on re-reading the Jordan-penned books, most of them for the first time since the release of the ninth book back in November 2000, and the re-reads did little to improve my deepening dislike for the series. Yet the first semi-posthumous release, co-written by Brandon Sanderson, I thought at first was a marked improvement. That was before I began to understand while reading the second co-written volume, Towers of Midnight, that the planned three-volume conclusion to the Wheel of Time series was terribly flawed in terms of narrative structure, characterization development, and prose. Therefore, it was with some trepidation that I ordered A Memory of Light and read it. Unfortunately, it is one of the worst-written books in a series renowned for its mediocre, bloated prose. Continue reading