Category Archives: Books

This week, in Fulsome Fantasy Fiction…

If you’re keeping track of these things – and there’s no good reason on Terra that you should be – I’ve finally finished ploughing through the first instalment of German fantasy writer Markus Heitz‘s “The Dwarves” series.  730 pages down, only around a couple of thousand more to go.  Yay for post-Tolkien endurance!

“Blood of Elves” – by Andrzej Sapkowski – it’s way nerdy. Realize.

I’m now waiting for the second chunky volume in Heitz’s series to arrive and so have turned my attentions to another European fantasy novel – Andrzej Sapkowski‘s Blood of Elves – with a collected volume of Stan NichollsOrcs also lined up and ready to go.

Harold Ramis’ clever cloning comedy, “Multiplicity”

Increasingly, I find myself believing that Harold Ramis‘ clone comedy Multiplicity had kind of the right idea when it comes to apportioning time and effort to various tasks – if only I had a Fluffrick clone to go out and do the less than exciting work stuff and leave me the time that I need to keep up with my reading.

Whatever you’re reading this weekend, be sure to enjoy it and why not share a brief review/blog link in the comments?

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Edgar Wright’s “The World’s End” to shoot in September?

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Per Deadline’s story, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost will reunite for the third in the loose trilogy which began with Shaun of the Dead and continued with Hot Fuzz, with shooting expected to start in September and a Spring 2013 release pencilled in.

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What this means for the heavily rumoured, Wright-helmed Ant Man movie is anybody’s guess – will we get a Guardians of the Galaxy” (that’s them pictured above) movie instead in 2014 or the equally long talked-up Doctor Strange film to bolster the cosmic side of the Marvel movie universe?

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Epic Fantasy Avengers Assemble!

The Heraldic Shield of Awesome Sauce

Nifty shield courtesy of the genius nerds at Fantasy Shields.com

Inspired by a post over at the Tor Books blog, which posits a line-up for a Fantasy equivalent of “The Avengers“, I couldn’t let a day go by without pledging my team of Ye Olde Awesome Fictional Nerds into the fray…

To lead this band of brothers, sisters and brigands?

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We’re going to need magic – that’s a given.  We’re also going to need some one with quick wit, nifty sartorial skills and every team has to have one member liable to go off the deep end and indulge their dark side every so often.  Severus Snape is the complete package.  Just make sure that he hasn’t worked his mojo on the team’s +5 to Health Mead beverages and we’ll be fine.  Think of him as Nick Fury, sans eye patch but replete with devastating sarcasm and lank locks of doom.

Sorcery taken care of – next, we’ll be needing some brute strength, Tank-style.

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Because, you know, Hellboy is Teh Awesomez and is more than a match for his Hulkness.  Also, somebody with his chequered past, supernatural Rolodex is and possessed of The Right Hand of Doom is going to be a cat that you want to have on side when the intergalactic/dimensional cannon fodder start showing up en masse.

If we’ve got magic and damage on lock down, we should be looking at having a sneaky, acrobatic, multi-tasking assassin on side.  Preferably with cute, pointy ears.

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That’s Felicia Day as Tallis in the web series for EA’s otherwise unloved Dragon Age 2.  Elf representation covered, quick wits aplenty and she could probably dash out a nifty Elven ballad or two around the team camp fire on a cold night in the forest.

If we’re basing our team around the Avengers template, I’m going to have to find a Tony Stark/arcane technology specialist from somewhere. And given my abiding love for the video games, we’re going to kill two ancient beasts with  one stone.

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Yep, that’s the Alchemist class from “Torchlight” – who’s as near as dammit to being both Iron Man and Black Widow in the same package.  At least when I’m playing, that is.  Multi-tasking?  Me?  On a school night, yet?  But of course…

We’re going to need somebody who can handle a bow and arrow and take down fools with almost disdainful aplomb…

Yep, Neytiri from “Avatar”, you’ll do nicely (and as some would argue that “Avatar” was more fantasy than SF, there’s certainly a case to be made…)

I confess, I’m slightly at a loss for a Captain America analogue in my uncanny squadron of fantastic misfits – any ideas will be gratefully accepted…

(Not So) Stealth Edit!

After going away and thinking about it for a while – I’m giving the Cap role in my coterie of weird heroes to….

Gabriel Belmont, conflicted warrior hero of the recent “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow” revamp – he’s got the combat thing down pat and can brood for days.  Armour? Check.  Strong moral convictions? After a fashion.  He’s probably got some kind of shield to employ that I’ve yet to find, down some back alley in the game.  Yep, he’s in.

As Garrett points out in the comments, I’m still in need of a good fictional Thor analogue – and suggests Ares, from Greek mythology, but also reinvented for various Marvel titles in the expanded “Avengers” family.

He’s a massively overpowered warrior from antiquity thrust into the modern era, able to summon ancient weaponry from his Mythological Ancestral home, battle like a maniac and has a history with the wider “Avengers” continuity.

Yep, he’s in…

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Fat Reads, Groaning Bookshelves

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This post is inspired by a thread over at the nerd-friendly Sword & Laser reading group over at Good Reads – blimey, sci-fi and fantasy books are a bit on the portly side, wouldn’t you agree?  Not for many world-building fantasy authors the notion of a quick and dirty, 260 page novel – that’s barely a preface in the realm of the elves and darkling folk!

As much as I love the process of getting a new book, cracking the covers and disappearing into a new world, I still get a little intimidated when I pick up Markus Heitz‘s “The Dwarves” (my latest read) and noting that it runs to 733 pages – that’s a commitment and a half, particularly when you consider that this book is but the first entry in a series (Book two, “The War of the Dwarves”, is a girthy 752 pages, book three “Revenge of the Dwarves” is 800 pages and the final “The Fate of the Dwarves” is back to a manageable 752 pages).

That’s a long time to spend reading about diminutive bad asses with lovely beards and lethal axes, I’m sure you’ll concur.

One of the criticisms of this kind of fiction is that it tends to urgently need the services of an editor to weed out florid over-writing and excessive descriptions of armaments and architecture but that’s not necessarily a problem for me – I don’t need detail to aid my immersion in a fantasy universe but it does help to have a sense of what things look like and from where in history the author may have drawn from.  Educational and nerdy – my favourite combination!

The only problem with this kind of fiction – other than the hipness or lack thereof, which doesn’t bother me for a second – is that I’m going to need bigger book shelves sometime soon.  That or the local branch of Oxfam are going to get a bumper donation of older books next week.

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Cultural Endeavours for May 4th 2012

It’s a long holiday weekend in the UK and that can mean only one thing – it’s time to avoid DIY and that kind of soul-sucking stuff  and leap wildly into the ready, saucy arms of music, books and films.

“The Dwarves” by Markus Heitz – no, that’s not my purse in the top right of the picture.

First up, Markus Heitz’s epic fantasy novel “The Dwarves”, which vaulted to the top of my reading list when I read that he was collaborating with Blind Guardian on the story for their next album.  As I’m currently devouring Blind Guardian’s back catalogue at a rate of knots, this novel seemed like a no-brainer for me.  736 pages of adventure for foundling Dwarf Tungdil, whose solitary status in the land of men is challenged when he’s tasked to venture into a wider world and meet his own kind for the first time, finding himself thrust into dangers and a threat to his race quite unlike anything he’s ever known.

In short?  European high fantasy – I’m all over it.

On a entirely related tip, cast your peepers over this duopoly of bad assery:

Blind GuardianImaginations from the Other Side

Blind Guardian – “Somewhere Far Beyond

And, yes, you do score a multitude of Special Internet Points if you resisted the urge to look at either of the Blind Guardian CD cover artworks and yell Tolkien at the top of your voice.  Kudos to you!

The albums date from – consults Wikipedia discography – 1992 (“Somewhere Far Beyond”) and 1995 (Imaginations From The Other Side) and pre-date what is many fans favourite BG release, 1998’s concept-themed breakthrough album, Nightfall in Middle-Earth.  Knock yourself out – yell “Tolkien” all you like when it comes to that record…

So, that’s my weekend – I may try to sneak in a viewing of “Night Watch”, too, as I’ve been reading the books – and I hope that yours is equally pleasant, be it spent with your family, friends or some combination thereof.  Just remember – keep it geeky, peeps…

 

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“A Game of Thrones” – Metallic K.O.

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Over at A Metal State of Mind, atleastimhousebroken, sterling writer, metalhead and fan of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice & Fire” series has penned a series of posts matching characters from the epic fantasy saga to apropos metal songs (Sansa Stark?Nightwish!).

I confess that it’s testing my geek resolve – this bank holiday weekend in the UK might be the one in which I take my first steps into Westeros…

So many books/tv series – so little time…

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Black Venus

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Via SoGeekChic.

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