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2012 in review

31 Dec

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 38,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 9 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Happy Birthday…

1 Dec

…To Fabulous Realms!

Yes, the very first post, Tad Williams: The American Tolkien?, appeared exactly one year ago today and I just couldn’t let that minor anniversary go by entirely unremarked. I very much started this website purely as a short-term thing but it ‘grew in the telling’ (as one of my favourite authors would have said) and now I’d never even dream of stopping. I’ve really enjoyed sharing my genuine love of fantasy, folklore, myth and legend over the past year – never imagining for a second that anyone else would be interested in my humble scribblings. That’s why I hugely appreciate every single comment, follow, view or like that this site has ever had and fondly hope that there are many more in the (hopefully) many years to come. For my part, I plan to keep on blogging (to paraphrase another of my favourite authors) until they nail shut the lid of my coffin 😉

Thanks for stopping by!

Duncton Wood

11 Oct

There have been many great fantasy sagas that have had animals rather than humans as their central characters. Perhaps the most famous example of ‘anthropomorphic fantasy’ is Richard Adams’ tale of the rabbit kingdom of Watership Down but there are many other distinguished entries in this sub-genre. The Silver Tide and the other books in Michael Tod’s Dorset Squirrels series tell of the struggles of England’s indigenous Red Squirrels against invaders from overseas. Tod has also written fantasy novels with other animal characters – including elephants and dolphins – as his main protagonists. The hallmark of Tod’s books is his ability to make readers sympathise fully with the animals despite (or perhaps because of) their non-human nature. Of older vintage are the novels in the Kine saga by A R Lloyd, an heroic fantasy trilogy that charts the struggles of a wild weasel from youth to old age. Lloyd’s anti-hero Kine (which is an old English word for weasel) is presented realistically – there is no ‘magic’ as such in his world – but his ‘kingdom’ in the form of the English countryside is every bit as fully realised as Middle Earth, Narnia, Earthsea or any other fantasy world which you might care to mention, thanks to Lloyd’s lovingly descriptive prose. Martin Hocke’s The Ancient Solitary Reign tells of the struggle of a community of barn owls against a ‘monster’ eagle owl that encroaches on their territory, forcing them into an uneasy alliance with their traditional rivals, the tawny owls. Tod, Lloyd and Hocke all portray nature unflinchingly as ‘red in tooth and claw’ – there is nothing ‘cute’ about the squirrels, weasels and owls that feature in their novels, any more than the rabbits of Watership Down resemble fluffy cartoon bunnies. In all of these animal fantasy sagas, each author’s serious approach, coupled with their obvious immersion in the world which they are striving to depict and their devotion to realising their protagonists as fully-developed characters rather than animals with human characteristics, is what makes their work so unforgettable. William Horwood’s Duncton Chronicles are a worthy addition to the creature fantasy sub-genre, as well as a superb illustration of everything that is great about these types of books.

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20 May

Love this series!

Ghost Cities

If I mentioned a bespectacled boy wizard with an undead nemesis, two best friends and a flying familiar you might think I was talking about Harry Potter but what I’m actually referring to is The Unwritten, a clever, post-modern graphic novel series by Mike Carey. The comics follow Tom Taylor, who was the inspiration for a series of hugely successful children’s fantasy novels in the vein of Harry Potter, written by his father Wilson Taylor, who disappeared mysteriously just after writing the story’s conclusion. The Unwritten deals with themes related to fame, celebrity, and the relationship between fiction and human consciousness. Basically, Tom Taylor’s life was screwed up from the start because his father modelled his bestselling novels so closely on his son’s real life that the fictional Tommy Taylor’s fans constantly compared him to his counterpart (turning him into the most pointless variety of Z-level celebrity in the process). In Wilson…

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18 Mar

This caught my attention!

Endless Highway

Click on the image above for the story. I agree with Stephen Fry – what pointless, self-defeating bullying!

“To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered”.

Voltaire (1694 – 1778)

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13 Feb

The Maryland Book Bank

A lot of people enjoy reading because it gives them the opportunity to immerse themselves in a completely different world.  Readers can transport themselves into past eras or imagined futures, travel to distant countries or discover new cultures.  In some cases, authors successfully create entirely fictional and fantastical worlds for readers to visit, where the places and creatures within are given life by the unbridled imagination of the writer (i.e. The Lord of The Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter).

White Planet, a new fantasy novel by Ash Silverlock, introduces readers to the icy and mysterious planet of Rygarth, where a small colony of humans is struggling to survive in inhospitable conditions amongst dangerous creatures.  As the first part of the series The Ice World Chronicles, White Planet sets the foundation for the story surrounding the Tunguskan Icehold and its place within Rygarth.  It…

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The Books of Magic

28 Dec

Let me tell you about a bespectacled young schoolboy with a pet owl who finds out one day that he’s a wizard – and no, I’m not talking about Harry Potter! Timothy Hunter is the star of Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel series The Books of Magic, which tells the story of a young boy who has the potential to become the world’s greatest sorcerer. Despite the striking superficial similarities between Timothy Hunter and Harry Potter, The Books of Magic actually came into being several years before J K Rowling’s creation was released on an unsuspecting world. The similarity was once noted by a journalist from The Scotsman newspaper, who asked Gaiman if he thought Rowling was aware of his 1990 comic, to which Gaiman replied that he ‘wasn’t the first writer to create a young magician with potential, nor was Rowling the first to send one to school’. Gaiman’s view, with which I tend to agree, is that whether or not Rowling had read The Books of Magic, the similarities most likely result from both it and the Harry Potter series being inspired by similar works, in particular those of T H White (author of The Once and Future King). The idea that Rowling and Gaiman were were both simply ‘drinking from the same well’ is supported by the prevalence of common archetypes from myth and fantasy in both their works.

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‘White Planet’ has been published!

10 Dec

Anyone who enjoyed reading my post yesterday on ‘Frank Herbert’s Dune Saga’ may also be interested in my new novel White Planet, which has just been published as a Kindle e-book and is now available for download on the Amazon website. More details are below but White Planet is basically a science-fiction/fantasy set on the ice world of Rygarth, whose snows hide ancient secrets and restless evil. It is also the first part of an ongoing series, The Ice World Chronicles, which should hopefully appeal to regular readers of this blog as well as anyone who has an interest in epic fantasy and/or space operas in the traditions of Frank Herbert, Robert Jordan and J R R Tolkien.

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Hello world!

30 Nov

Welcome to my blog!

I’m a fantasy writer and on this site you’ll not only find samples of my work but also articles concerning folklore, myth and legend, reviews of movies, books and graphic novels and much else besides (including the occasional short story – you lucky people!).

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