Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Sandman Reread: Brief Lives


Tor continues its reread of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series with Brief Lives:
As a foil, Destruction pits Dream against his own sense of responsibility. What’s evident, in reading Sandman as a whole, is that so much of the story is based around acceptance. Acceptance of life, of death, of reality, of unreality. Acceptance of responsibility or utter rejection of it. Think of those who step forward to continue Dream’s work while he is imprisoned for all those years. Then think of Lucifer, who abandons the very underworld that defines him and gives the responsibility to someone else. Think of Morpheus, who spends almost the entire series attempting to reclaim and rebuild his Dream kingdom in just the right way—always tasking Merv Pumpkinhead with new renovations—and then finally accepting that he is destined to be replaced by a new incarnation.
Full Story: HERE

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Joe Abercrombie: The Value of Grit

Mr. Joe Abercrombie has strung together some words regarding grit: specifically, he responds to people complaining about 'grit' in fantasy novels:
Now before anyone makes a straw man out of me, let me say that this is not intended as some kind of manifesto.  I don’t think everything has to be gritty by any means, in fact there’s a degree to which grit loses its power the more of it there is.  Every writer has to find their own style, their own way to be truthful.  And with great grit comes great responsibility.  It’s easy in an earnest desire to be truthful, or perhaps a less earnest desire to bludgeon the reader with the amazing dirty grim gritty grim depths of which you are capable, to ride roughshod on your spiky horse over rightly sensitive issues.  To cause offence through crap writing.  Maybe to a degree that’s inevitable.  Removing all crap writing from a given book is a herculean challenge.  But I believe the role of a writer is not to avoid offence.  Just to think carefully afterwards and reflect on how you might do better next time.  To be assessing criticism and constantly striving to become that little bit less crap.  But you’ve also sometimes got to laugh in the face of criticism.  Because the role of the writer is also to throw caution to the wind and write the most honest and heartfelt books you can.  Better to have a book that many readers love and some find revolting than a book that no one reads at all.  Far, far better.  Gritty is one tool in the writer’s arsenal, and it’s one I personally like to use.  In discussing gritty, I’m going to be a little gritty.  Possibly even grimdark.  But if you really don’t like that shit, why are you even here?
Full Story: HERE

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Trailer: Game of Thrones Season 3

They need an editor who understands eye trace and pacing but here's the trailer for season 3 of Game of Thrones:

March 31st :)

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Sandman Reread: Fables and Reflections


Tor continues their reread of Neil Gaiman's groundbreaking Sandman series with Fables and Reflections:
Orpheus is, of course, no original character himself. But Gaiman isn’t trying to mimic Virgil or Ovid in his retelling. First, in “Thermidor,” he gives us a violent historical tale about Johanna Constantine amidst the French Revolution, with the head of Orpheus as a magical artifact capable of weird and terrible things. Then, in the one-shot special appropriately titled “Orpheus” (originally with a glow-in-the-dark cover in its original, floppy incarnation) Gaiman tells the whole tragic tale of the mythical musician and his fruitless descent into the underworld. It’s one of the best—and most important—stories in all ofSandman, which makes it even stranger that it wasn’t part of the original 75 issues of the series, but released as a stand-alone special instead. “Orpheus” has the whole of Sandman in its DNA. The missing brother, Destruction, appears prominently in the story, and Orpheus’s painful life, and non-death, is not just unusually brutal because it’s the story of Morpheus’s own son, but because, in retrospect, so much of this single issue parallels the larger story of Morpheus himself.
Full Story: HERE

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Sandman Reread: A Game Of You


Tor continues its reread of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series with A Game Of You:
Yes, some characters in this story have ties to previous arc, tenuously, and others will play larger roles before the series comes to an end, but for all of the resonant echoes delivered by A Game of You, the most impressive is that it’s just a really great tale. What seems at first to be Gaiman pushing the series further than it might be able to sustain (funny animals and fairy tales can be a bit much, especially in a comic that began its run in such a bleak yet ambitiously intelligent way) turns out to be exactly what Sandman needed to move away from the weight of its own central character. That isn’t to say thatA Game of You is light and airy—it’s not—but it clashes the vulnerability up against the ultra-menacing, and it smashes the visions of childhood reveries against the realities of burden and responsibility.
Full Story: HERE

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Sandman Reread: Season of Mists


Tor continues their reread of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series with Season of Mists:
In the twenty issues that preceded Season of Mists, Gaiman and his artistic collaborators introduced most of the members of the Endless. We had met Dream, of course, and Death. And Desire and Despair. And Destiny had popped up, but makes his presence felt more fully in the opening chapter of this arc. And, here, we are also introduced to Delirium, the unstable pixie of a sister, and a missing brother (Destruction, though his name is never spoken in this arc) who has cut off all ties with his family, for reasons to be explored in future Sandman stories. 
Starting the arc with a family meeting, one that helps to more firmly define the rules and relationships between these characters, gives Season of Mistsmore of a sense of completeness than any other Sandman arc. Gaiman may not have been thinking about the collected editions of his works at all, but this is the first arc that feels like it could have been written with a future collected volume in mind. It references some earlier stories and points toward future tales, but it also gives you the entire picture of Morpheus’s world in this opening chapter, and tells a story that resolves by the end of Season of Mist’s final issue.
Full Story: HERE

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Kate Elliot: Crown of Stars


Over at Orbit there's an excellent article in which Kate Elliot looks back at her series Crown of Stars:
For years I would often say apologetic things about the setting of the book – apologizing is one of those reflexive personality things that I’m really sorry I can’t shake off – calling it ‘faux medieval’ because I was hyperaware that I am not an academic or a medievalist and thus have no specialized knowledge. Sometimes I made these kind of mildly disparaging remarks about my own work thinking it would head off criticism: for one thing, because Crown of Stars is an alternate history drawn from medieval Europe not an historical novel purporting to recreate with rigor an actual period of medieval Europe (10th century Germany, if you care about such things); for another, because I so often heard people denigrate epic/high fantasy, a genre I have always loved. At times I apologized simply because I know my writing has flaws; I’m not perfect; I make mistakes: For some reason this all had to be apologized for even if it is in the nature of creative work to have flaws.
Full Story: HERE

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Friday, February 1, 2013

The Sandman Reread: Dream Country


Tor continues their reread of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series with Dream Country:
Gaiman uses the story to, of course, reflect on the act of storytelling—as he does throughout Sandman—but it’s no celebration of the commercial aspects of the trade. These are desperate writers in this story—Madoc mostly, though we get the clear sense that Erasmus Fry was then what Madoc is now—and there’s nothing wonderful about their work. It comes from somewhere else, not the intangible ether, but from the sordid and terrible abuse of another soul. And Morpheus, sympathetic to suffering and imprisonment, not only frees Calliope (who he shares a past relationship with, and not a pleasant one according to their conversation), but punishes Madoc in vengeful, ironic fashion: he gives the writer an overflow of ideas, more than he can handle. Madoc goes insane, story concepts flowing out of him in a mad fervor…then he ends up with “no idea at all.” 
The real horror behind this story seems evident: for a writer, someone who lives off storytelling, it’s not the lack of ideas that’s most frightening. It’s the extremes to which the writer will go, the inhumanity he will sink to, so that the ideas may continue to flow.
Full Story: HERE

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