Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Fire Emblem: Fates - Birthright

Well, that is over. I have completed Fire Emblem: Fates - Birthright, a 3DS game that is worthy of a book, so poignant was the plot and ties forged with the characters. Justice, equality, charity, and peace are the best reasons to draw steel, and then only in defense.
But it is a terrible thing when a double-edged blade cuts your heart, and family, in two.
Yet what if...?

Farewell Corrin & Azura, Silas & Hinoka, Kaze & Oboro, Ryoma & Felicia, Takumi & Mozu, Saizo & Kagero, Hinata & Hana, Subaki & Rinkah, Hayato & Sakura, Kaden, Jakob, Scarlet, Reina, Azama, Orochi, Yukimura, Shura...and the fallen and otherwise Nohrian royals. And Lady Mikoto, whose dream came true.

Let Azura's song ring forth:

"You are the ocean’s gray waves
Destined to seek
Life beyond the shore
Just out of reach

Yet the waters ever change
Flowing like time
The path is yours to climb

In the white light
A hand reaches through
A double-edged blade cuts your heart in two
Waking dreams fade away
Embrace the brand new day

Sing with me a song
Of birthrights and love
The light scatters to the sky above
Dawn breaks through the gloom
White as a bone

Lost in thoughts, all alone."

Saturday, August 27, 2016


The human profession that brings a person closest to the role of a Creator God is a Fantasy author. A revelation I came to while agonizing over the placement of a certain mountain range and its affect on the history and folklore of that particular world and its cultures.

Seriously, no other job allows one to create worlds in their entirety.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Just City, Plato?

My father and I just finished The Just City, book #1 of the Thessaly Trilogy, by Jo Walton – a book of that rarest of genres, Historical Fantasy.
In his Republic, Plato details what he holds to be a city that maximizes excellence and is perfectly just. So what happens when the Greek goddess Athena decides to actually set it up as an experiment, aided by a few hundred adults (and robot workers) from all eras of human history?

The answer: a strange place even by Fantasy standards (and that is saying something). A place that, to stand, must needs endure irrepressible Socrates as well.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Grimdark GRRM

You all know my opinion of GRRM and his A Song of Ice and Fire (i.e. A Game of Thrones), but I just learned that his style what I called Corrupted Fantasy actually has a proper name: Grimdark Fantasy
(The term was inspired by the tagline of the tabletop strategy game Warhammer 40,000: "In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war."

Apparently GRRM is the sub-genre's generally acknowledged founder. British academic, critic, and novelist Adam Roberts describes Grimdark as a sub-genre "where nobody is honourable and Might is Right," and as "the standard way of referring to fantasies that turn their backs on the more uplifting, visions of idealized medievaliana, and instead stress how nasty, brutish, short and dark life back then 'really' was." He critically notes, however, that Grimdark has little to do with re-imagining an actual historic reality and more with conveying the sense that our own world is a "cynical, disillusioned, ultra-violent place."
An opinion with which I wholeheartedly agree.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Stories...stolen or reforged?

Philip Pullman, author of the immortal fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, once answered to a query that his chosen Coat of Arms would be "A bird of the raven family with a diamond in her beak. This is the storyteller: storytellers always steal their stories, every story has been told before."

For myself, as much as I respect Pullman and adore His Dark Materials, I cannot fully agree with this statement. All storytellers certainly draw from one another, but to say that "every story has been told before" is, again in my own opinion, an unfair exaggeration.
I have found, rather, that stories are recycled – ideas given a new coat of paint and combined in new and different ways; or, to use Pullman's diamond metaphor, author's craft their own unique gem by combining the style's/techniques of others coupled with their own personal flare.

(Thus say rather that each diamond was mined from akin sources, but cut and crafted by widely differing members of the same guild.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Winds of Change started

Just started Winds of Change, book #2 of The Mage Winds Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey.

No idea where this is going to go but, between Hawkbrother mage training, two sadist-mages one of whom is a king, and the Star-Eyed's divine intervention...well, to call it a respite for interesting change would be an understatement.

May you live in interesting times, as the Shin'a'in curse goes.
Luck, old friends.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Winds of Fate completed

OK, so it took an EON longer than it should have, but I just finished Winds of Fate, book #1 of The Mage Winds Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey.
Nothing like seeing old friends grow older and meeting new ones along the way, though I really did not appreciate collecting yet another sadist-mage enemy en route.
Watch yourself Princess Herald Elspeth k'Sheyna k'Valdemar. You too, Adept Darkwind.