Aug
16

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GenCon 2017

gencon writerEarly this afternoon I’m driving off to GenCon 2017. I’ve been looking forward to it all year. I’ll get to connect with writer friends I rarely see, interact with fans, and bask in the glow of all of my favorite forms of nerdery. I’ll get to wander the great hall of treasure, examining scores of wonderful products. Even if I don’t actually intend to buy any but a tiny percentage of what I see, it’s fun to look it all over.

And then there’s the section of artists and writers, which I’ll be visiting as well, both to say hello to some writer friends and to check out the work of the professional and semi-professional artists. You can find some amazing things.

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll do a daily blog of my adventures, as I’ve sometimes done in the past. I’ve never been able to gauge how interested people actually are in hearing about conventions they themselves don’t attend. I’ll be busy on a number of panels each day. (You can see most of my schedule here.)

But I can say this — come Saturday night I’ll finally reveal the secret sword-and-sorcery project I’ve been working on. I can hardly wait to share the news, but I will hold on for just a little longer…

Aug
14

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Vargr

vargr cover

For my birthday my friend Brad got me a copy of the newish James Bond graphic novel, Vargr, and it proved just as excellent as the mighty Hocking had led me to believe.

Every frame is made to count. There are numerous panels where there is no dialogue but plenty of story, and via them we can see exactly HOW Bond cleverly defeats a henchman or takes on a warehouse full of killers, or what have you (I hesitate to say more for fear of spoiling the excitement). Bond has time for a clever quip or aside, but he’s not hokey jokey. He’s quick on his feet, smart, and lethal, and just a delight to see in action. I should pause, as well, to praise the excellence of the dialogue, which just crackles with comments revealing of character without front loading a whole bunch of character exposition. It’s masterful, revealing much with minimal words.

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Aug
8

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Absence

1304701148-half-mast-flagSometimes it’s difficult to believe my father’s been gone 17 years, and then I remember that the terrible hammer blow of his death is no longer the ache that it was, and hasn’t been for a long time. That’s fortunate, because I couldn’t have endured for long with that much daily pain. It faded, as it must, and now sometimes days and even weeks might pass without me thinking about him.

He was a good man. He wasn’t without his flaws, but few of us are. At one point, after I realized he wasn’t perfect, I felt a weird sense of betrayal and tended to downgrade him a little, for which I still feel ashamed. Then, much later than I should have, I realized his part in the world was much more than just “dad” to me and my sisters. And as I’ve aged and had teenagers of my own I’ve come to understand him a little better. Many’s been the time that I’ve wish I could have asked him for advice, although I’ve become so used to not having it now that I don’t think about it much any more.

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Aug
7

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Alchemical Storytelling

fmabAs my wife and son began re-watching this series today, I thought I’d repost this review here from its original appearance in 2012 over at Black Gate. I should add that since I wrote this article I’ve tried a number of well-recommended anime series and I’ve yet to find one that so fully fulfilled and exceeded its promise. After five years I still think of it quite highly and I think it may well be a masterpiece. Anyway, here’s what I wrote in 2012:

I haven’t watched much anime in my time. Frankly I haven’t gotten a lot out of the shows I’ve seen, many of which seem to consist of posing in the midst of fights and shouting at opponents. But I chanced upon something a few weeks back that began with potential and then delivered on it episode after episode. I found fabulous world building and strong character arcs.  I watched half hour after half hour the way I devour chapter after chapter in a great fantasy novel, poised on the edge of my seat wondering how things would resolve.  Read More

Aug
4

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Reruns

lambvol1I found myself scrolling around through some of my previous posts on heroic fiction, pulps, and sword-and-sorcery this last week and decided that rather than draft something new I’d just point readers towards some of my favorite oldies.

First, an overview of some great pulp historicals.

Here was my look under the hood at Robert E. Howard’s writing techniques.

Here I wrote about one of my favorite writers, Leigh Brackett.

Harold Lamb is the unsung and often unrecognized grandfather of sword-and-sorcery. Also, he was a great adventure writer. Here’s proof.

Lastly, how can I discuss pulps without mentioning the one-and-only Ki-Gor?

But wait, there’s more! Here I discuss a unique pulp collection on my shelves. Feast your eyes upon these with envy!

 

 

Writing

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