Release Date: 20110122
Publisher: Candlemark & Gleam
Whenever I encounter the argument that reviewers ought not to speak negatively of any book they didn’t like, but should instead say simply that the story, while not to their taste, might well be to someone else’s, I experience the overwhelming urge to tear out my hair by the roots. If all reviews were necessarily positive, there’d be little point in reading them: the mere fact of their existence would tell us that the reviewer liked the book, and while there might be some residual interest as to why, after a while, I suspect that the lack of contrast would render the whole endeavour redundant. Individual taste is undeniably a subjective thing, but that doesn’t mean we’re wrong to feel strongly about it, and it certainly doesn’t moot the function of criticism – and subjectivity aside, there’s still such a thing as quality. For instance: if a restaurant served me overcooked steak, flavourless gravy and limp vegetables in a filthy environment, then my best and most useful response is not to swallow my objections on the basis that someone, somewhere might’ve enjoyed the meal, such that warning my friends to eat elsewhere would unfairly endanger the chef’s livelihood.
The point being, it’s incredibly disingenuous to pretend that individual taste is only composed of positives, or that what we enjoy matters more than what we don’t. To stick with the food metaphor, if someone wanted to gain a complete understanding of my palette, my strong dislike of bitter flavours, aniseed products and raw vegetables would be equally as important as my love of good cheese, wine and sashimi. It’s contrast that gives the full picture, and when it comes to book reviews – or reviews of any sort, for that matter – it’s the balance between negative and positive opinions that allows the reader to fully compare the critic’s taste with their own. Continue reading
We’re all aware of the prototypical ‘tough’ heroine that floats perpetuates itself in the the Fantasy/Science Fiction/Superhero art world: clothes a-tatter, cleavage heaving, an uncomprehendingly contradictory air of both immense sexuality, helplessness and badassness. But, what about all those little girls (and boy) who are growing up and looking for a strong, female rolemodel. Whether a beautiful portrait, or an inspiring character, I’ve gathered together a collection of strong women who kids (and adults) can hopefully find some inspiration in.
When I grow up, I’m gonna be
I don’t have children, but when I do, I won’t mind one bit if they look up to characters like these and, just maybe, tell me, “Daddy, when I grow up, I wanna be a Knight, a Super Woman, A Wizard!” (Or even a Time
Lord Lady.) For more art like this, check out my post on ‘Women Fighters In Reasonable Armor’
Who are some of your favourite inspirational women in Science Fiction, Fantasy or Comic Books?
Just a bit of fun for a slow Wednesday afternoon. Adore this art style. And those colours? Holy moly. Art by Liam Brazier.
Everybody has a favourite superhero. Whether you love the vulnerability of Batman, Superman’s struggle with what it means to be human, or Spider-Man’s fight for Mary Jane, it’s easy to connect with these super-powered humans (well, human in most cases!) and recognize that despite their superhuman abilities, they’re as damaged and vulnerable as the rest of us.
And that’s what makes these paint splatter portraits (which are actually produced digitally) by artist Arian Noveir so wonderful; not only do they look great, but they manage to capture that unguarded side that so many superheroes possess. They’re a beautiful, subversive look at the traditional hero-figure.
More of Noveir’s art (including some more superheroes and a wonderful nod to Freddie Mercury of Queen) can be found on his DeviantArt Gallery page.
This post was originally published on Tor.com