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Ode to Blackadder

When it comes to British comedy, Monty Python reigns supreme. They’re the Tolkien of the fantasy genre in that, while there were those that came before, and those that were better since, they define the field. And I love me some Monty Python, not just because they split my sides, but because they helped introduce me to Blackadder. For those not growing up in Dallas in the mid-90s (and I’m guessing there are at least three or four of you out there), there were only about six TV channels at the time. Mainly because my parents flatly refused to get cable until I moved out. Which was probably wise on their part. But that’s beside the point, which was that viewing selection was rather limited in

Darklands Fantasy Playlist

Novel Playlists from Fantasy Novelists treats each fantasy novel like a feature film and encourages the author to put together their own dream soundtrack. So listen attentive as ML Spencer leads us through the grimdark nightmare of Darklands, the third installment in her Rhenwars Saga, before previewing book four and five in the series. Compelled to obey the dark god he pledged his soul to, Darien finds himself tasked with delivering the people of the Black Lands from under the curse of darkness which shrouds the skies. With the enemy mage Azár, Darien sets out across a barren darkscape to assume his place as the leader of a people who despise him. As he journeys deeper into the shadowed was

JJ Abrams Passes the Turing Test… Barely

I’ve had a theory for a while now that JJ Abrams is robot. Well, an Artificial Intelligence actually, one designed to recognize human emotions and reflect them back to the user in screenplay form. And it’s very advanced, one able to pass the Turing Test so well very few notice. For those nerds who read my blog and yet somehow don’t know what the Turing Test is, it basically boils down to the machine passing as human if a human is unable to tell if their conversational partner is a machine based on text only responses. And if you don’t know who JJ Abrams is, well the AI program went through a long beta phase the early 90s under the moniker Jeffrey Abrams until going wide as JJ.0 with the scre

Forgotten Realms vs Avatar The Last Airbender: Best Fantasy World

The importance of worldbuilding cannot be overstated enough in the fantasy genre, where authors play god as they invite audiences to inhabit their constructed universes. Narnia would not nearly so memorable without its talking animals, nor Lord of the Rings without its elves, dwarves and hobbit holes that kicked the genre into high gear. Fantasy stories cannot be disentangled from the worlds they inhabit, which makes them half the draw, yet we will endeavor to attempt to find the best fantasy world today. As always, I’m joined by fellow fantasy author, and all-round academic extraordinaire, Daniel E. Olesen, to put this issue to bed. Matt: Despite my long-standing running water policy for an

A Gathering of Ravens Fantasy Playlist

Novel Playlists from Fantasy Novelists treats each fantasy novel like a feature film and encourages the author to put together their own dream soundtrack. Offering a playlist as vast and stark as the lands he draws inspiration from, Scott Oden shares his latest historical fantasy novel A Gathering of Ravens: To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcneas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind--the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days. Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the

(Baby) Hippogriff Babyback Ribs

Every fantasy pitmaster out there has a secret recipe (or three) for hippogriff kept under lock and key. This is because hippogriff, along with troll and minotaur, makes up one of the “Big Three” meats every cook must master if he or she expects to rise in the ranks in barbecue competitions. That makes these award-winning recipes prized and passed down from generation to generation, usually after some vicious infighting amongst the kids (particularly among hobgoblins). Despite this usual cloud of secrecy, we here are Bugbear BBQ are dusting off our recipes tome to share our secrets with the world(s). We do this not entirely out of the goodness of our hearts, rather to show the other pitmaste

Lucifer's Star Fantasy Playlist

Novel Playlists from Fantasy Novelists treats each fantasy novel like a feature film and encourages the author to put together their own dream soundtrack. And though in space no one can hear you scream, they can certainly hear you sing. So tune in as author C.T. Phipps takes us on a grimdark spacefaring tour de force for his novel Lucifer’s Star: Cassius Mass was the greatest star pilot of the Crius Archduchy. He fought fiercely for his cause, only to watch his nation fall to the Interstellar Commonwealth. It was only after that he realized the side he'd been fighting for was the wrong one. Now a semi-functional navigator on an interstellar freight hauler, he tries to hide who he was and esc

The Wrong Lesson From Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman has claimed the top spot for the second week in a row, and suddenly everyone seems sure that a female-starring superhero(ine) film is the next big thing. I’m afraid this is totally the wrong lesson to take away from Wonder Woman’s success in that everyone seems to be focusing on the “woman” rather than the “wonder” in her name. I should also probably preface this post in that I thought it was a good movie rather than a great one. I think it lucked out from the low bar it needed to clear from all the other DC films, such that it just needed to not fall on its face at the first hurdle to be considered a smashing success. But, that said, it also had the Hollywood millstone of being

Where Loyalties Lie Fantasy Playlist

Novel Playlists from Fantasy Novelists treats each fantasy novel like a feature film and encourages the author to put together their own dream soundtrack. So listen up as Rob Hayes takes us on a nautical aural adventure through his grimdark pirate adventure Where Loyalties Lie: Everybody knows Drake Morrass is only out for himself. As the fires of a dying city burn on a distant shore, Drake sees an opportunity to unite the other pirate Captains under his flag and claim a crown for himself. If he is to succeed he will need allies and the Oracle named Keelin Stillwater, the best swordsman in the isles, as Drake’s right hand. With enemy ships sailing his waters and setting fire to his cities, a

Character Introductions

It would be cliché for me to open with the phrase “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” so I will instead stretch my brain back to my Biology 101 class to invoke Konrad Lorenz and his imprinted geese. The long and the short of it is, Lorenz realized that geese will imprint on the first moving thing they see and assume it is their mother. This would occur during a “critical period” within the first hours of their lives, and would be irreversible once established. Mind you, we’re a lot more advanced than the geese Lorenz studied, yet audiences also experience a critical period when introducing characters, which was important enough of a concept to Blake Snyder that he nam

Vampires vs Werewolves: Best Monster

There are entire manuals dedicated to dissecting monsters, but when most people hear the word their minds go to the old Universal movie monsters consisting of vampires, werewolves, ghosts and Frankenstein's monster, which, oddly enough, are all also cereals here in the US. But with Twilight injecting a watered-down version of the old White Wolf RPGs into mainstream culture, werewolves and vampires have left the others in the dust and now vie for the top monster spot. As always, I’m joined by fellow fantasy author, and all-round academic extraordinaire, Daniel E. Olesen, to put this issue to bed. Matt: In this discussion there can be no disagreement to the fact vampires will always take the t

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