Review: A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin

November 6, 2013 in General Topics

A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin

I’ve always been leery of the time investment asked by epic fantasy series authors. There is just something about being propositioned to sign on for, say, fifteen books, that asks more of my gut than any wandering knight or misbegotten king ever could. “Here there be a dragons,” they say. “Come with us on our epic quest.” My heroic response: “Here there be Bo. She is on the go!”

I have kids. Expecting to complete an epic fantasy series requiring such so much free time–to put it mildly–requires more than a little hopeful optimism.

So A Game of Thrones had me skeptical from the first crack of its pages, and I fully thought I might not make it through. This first book in George R.R. Martin’s series isn’t much smaller than that most-mammoth example of fiction I’ve read, Stephen King’s unabridged version of The Stand. And there are four other books in line behind this one, with a slated two more to still be written. Egad.

But I’d been gifted my copy, and if there is one thing I love in my fiction, it’s intrigue (which the series has a reputation for), so I thought: why not? And we were off to the joust. Read the rest of this entry →

Review: American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

September 13, 2012 in General Topics

American Gods, by Neil GaimanDepending on your outlook about the subject matter, American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, is either remarkably imagined, impossibly bleak, or a combination of those two extremes. Gaiman himself poses no easy answers to the questions of faith and the supernatural world, having written a novel that could be seen as the inverse of Stephen King’s The Stand.

King’s work portrayed dueling forces drawing opposed factions of humanity to their banners in the ultimate battle between good and evil–a conflict to decide the fate of mankind. Even one of King’s central baddies, Randal Flagg, had a lastname appropriate to his purpose. Gaiman provides the opposite scenario: here, his powers could fight a savage war amongst themselves, and it’s strongly implied that not only would the average human be unaffected, they wouldn’t even notice. And his protagonist, known only as Shadow, could also be seen as a man with a name apropos to his role.

(Warning: Minor spoilers lie ahead.) Read the rest of this entry →

Review: Geist, by Philippa Ballantine

March 2, 2012 in General Topics

Geist, by Philippa BallantneChurches were centerpieces of communities during most of the world’s more recent centuries. These icons of stone and iron were designed to project a sense of awe and obedience, and also remind supplicants that the forces of evil would be held in check. But how might such an organization look if dark influences were a constant, corporeal threat? Enter Philippa Ballantine’s Deacons in her debut novel, Geist.
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Sturdy Reindeer Seeks Stable

November 11, 2011 in General Topics

I am open to reselling “On Dasher”, which ran in the Drabblecast to very positive feedback a few years back. It’s a Christmas fantasy tale that involves Dasher the reindeer in a globe-spanning race with a Kirin, and of course there is the obligatory cheerful Christmas message. It was a lot of fun to write.

If you know of or hear of anyone looking for some good reindeer fodder for the upcoming Christmas season, let me know, and you will be on the cool list.

Stay tuned.

How about the number 50?

June 26, 2011 in General Topics

Doing some math today with my fiction, I discovered I’ve written over fifty short stories since starting writing seriously back in my twenties. That is quite awesome. And a little bit obsessive.
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