Various and Sundry

A few weeks back I mentioned my inclusion in a nifty writing anthology, Writing Fantasy Heroes¬† (where I share a table of contents with some pretty talented and famous writers) and an essay about the book went live this week over at the blog of the talented William King, probably best known in North America for the creation of Warhammer’s famed Gotrek and Felix.

Not only is the essay (by editor Jason Waltz) of interest, there’s an ongoing discussion in the comment section about the nature of heroes that might well be of interest.

In other news, I stumbled onto a new review of The Bones of the Old Ones, this from The King of the Nerds. The majority of reviewers seem to agree with me that the second book is better than the first (and the majority of them seemed to really dig the first as well, which makes that kind of statement even more pleasing to the ear).

Here in my homeland along the shore of the Sea of Monsters I’m still working away at my secret writing project, and the royal We is quite pleased. I’ve also been caring for my wife as she suffered from laryngitis and an ear infection. She’s finally starting to feel better, although the laryngitis itself is still hanging on pretty strongly.

I almost hate to mention any kind of medical topic — well, I don’t like giving too much detail about our private lives in any case —¬† because any time I mention a medical topic I get spam medical posts and must prune them from threads. I’m STILL getting medical spam because I mentioned “ear infection” in a post at some point in the last twelve months. But wait, there’s more. The other day a spammer added a comment to my notebook post from a few months back. He or she was trying to trick fans of the movie The Notebook to visit their site by searching for mentions of the movie The Notebook and then cramming in a paragraph about the movie, followed by a link, as though he or she was a fellow fan! Being spammers they didn’t even bother to see if I was really talking about the movie (I wasn’t).

Meanwhile, in speculative fiction, my wife and I watched the first two episodes of Defiance and think it has promise, although neither of us are completely¬† in love with it. (The beautiful bordello owner with a heart of gold? 8 alien races? But then I remember how Roddenberry had to have the second pilot of Star Trek end with a fist fight so the network would buy it, and recalled that artistic vision has to meet the demands of the network and still might DIE, like my beloved Firefly and the original Star Trek.) We liked it enough we’ll keep going.

In my alleged spare time I’ve been reading some books I’ve been asked to blurb, and returning to Shakespeare. There are still a number of Shakespeare plays I haven’t read (or watched — typically I read them, then watch a BBC production). First up was Antony and Cleopatra, which had some fine moments but felt choppy, and didn’t strike me as being as grand as some of my favorites, no matter T.S. Elliot’s admiration for the play. Of course the choppiness all comes down to presentation, so I’ll be very curious to see it performed. Now I’m two acts into Coriolanus and so far I’m liking it better.

I’ve read and watched most of the famous tragedies and almost all of the histories, but I’ve yet to read The Tempest, and know next to nothing about The Winter’s Tale and Cymbeline, which I’ll probably tackle next… although I might also try some Dickens, who I haven’t read since I was force fed A Tale of Two Cities in high school. I hated it then, but I also hated Shakspeare’s Julius Caesar (read in the same class), which I later discovered was brilliant. I expect I will discover that it was young Howard who was stupid rather than Dickens…