Monday, February 27, 2023

Hyloscirtus tolkieni

Hyloscirtus tolkieni

A newfound species of stream fog has been discovered on the slopes of the Andes mountains in Ecuador by researchers Juan C. Sánchez-Nivicela, José M. Falcón-Reibán, and Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia. Interesting news certainly, but why is this on a Fantasy blog. Because the trio of scientists are also devout fans of a certain trilogy entitled The Lord of the Rings, and have named the critter Hyloscirtus tolkieni.

"'It would seem that it lives in a universe of fantasies, like those created by Tolkien,' the researchers wrote in a news release. 'The truth is that the tropical Andes are magical ecosystems where some of the most wonderful species of flora, funga, and fauna in the world are present.'...After immersing himself in the works of Tolkien, particularly The Lord of the Rings, Sánchez-Nivicela now sees parallels between the author’s fantastical creations and the mystical jungle world he traverses while on field expeditions." 

This parallelism is owed to the fact that protecting, maintaining, the world's natural beauty is a key theme in The Lord of the Rings, as evidenced in places such as The Shire, Rivendell, Fangorn Forest, Lothlórien, and Ithilien. Treebeard and the other Ents are called Shepherds of the Trees, guarding the Fangorn. Faramir and his  Rangers of Ithilien protect, naturally, Ithilien. While Elrond and Galadriel used their Rings to "ward off the decays of time and postpone the weariness of the world" in Rivendell and Lothlórien. As to The Shire, well, the Hobbits protect and maintain their own. Another parallel which factored Sánchez-Nivicela’s decision to name the new frog after Tolkien lies in the fact that, much as the natural beauty of Middle-earth was threatened by the greed and industrialization of Sauron and Saruman, so is our world's threatened by similar is less supernatural forces. On that note, I shall let the good researchers have the last word.

“In a stream in the forest there lived a Hyloscirtus. Not a nasty, dirty stream, with spoor of contamination and a muddy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy stream with nothing in it to perch on or to eat: it was a Hyloscirtus-stream, and that means environmental quality.”

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Completed The DioField Chronicle

I just finished playing The DioField Chronicle, a game of stellar political complexity with a combat system wedding the best elements of Fire Emblem and Age of Empires, all augmented by incredible graphics and being fully voice-acted. All of which makes the game quite engrossing and unique, though it was quite a bit on the short side for my taste. As to the plotline, well, it all comes down to game's official description: "A band of elite mercenaries calling themselves Blue Fox arise amidst the flames and the chaos, their fates and valiant deeds to be sung of in ages yet to come. But when all is said and done, will the name Blue Fox come to signify hope or darkest tragedy?"

A question I now know the answer to.

Regardless, it was an honor working with you Izelair and Zoruaq Wigan, Fredret Lester, Iscarion Colchester, Lorraine Luckshaw, Rickenback "Rickles" Madea, Shivat Malzin, Estalt Yewfare, Castavere Bunnow, Umarida, Tremina Umbert, Catherine, Donovar Sullion, Hezeliah Shaytham, and Chappleman.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Just started Sword-Bearer, volume eight of the Novels of Tiger and Del by Jennifer Roberson

He was Tiger, born of the desert winds. She was Del, born of ice and storm.

Just started Sword-Bearer, volume eight of the Novels of Tiger and Del by Jennifer Roberson.
I know weather is fickle and the deadly Punja desert more so, but one basic fact everyone can take for gods' granted truth is that it does not snow in the, as Del put it, hoolies-cursed hot South. Until now. Si'anasa, weather-working, weather magic, is a play which can only mean trouble. Which means tis likely time to return North to face this North-born threat, hope Tiger can put his ioSkandic nature to controlled use, and that this time Del meeting Kalle does not end in a death-dance. Indeed, the only certainty now is that they will get captured at least once. Meaning it is time to step back into the circle.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Just finished Sword-Bound, volume seven of the Novels of Tiger and Del by Jennifer Roberson

He was Tiger, born of the desert winds. She was Del, born of ice and storm.

Just finished Sword-Bound, volume seven of the Novels of Tiger and Del by Jennifer Roberson.
Guarding caravans and fighting death-dances, rescuing others and getting rescued – because of course Tiger and Del got captured again. Adventure is nice, but domesticity is definitely better. As to Umir, well, one definition of insanity is going the same thing repeatedly yet expecting different results, and no one ever called Umir a sane man; though the price for his madness was high on all sides. Terribly high. No wonder Del wanted an ale at the end.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

My father and I just finished The Kingdoms and Empires Series by Jaclyn Moriarty

My father and I just finished The Astonishing Chronicles of Oscar from Elsewhere by Jaclyn Moriarty, the fourth and final book of her Kingdoms and Empires Series.

I cannot stand it. A double sentiment here, firstly because it is over and secondly since I said this any numbers of times as we read it. For this book is a celebration of everything that makes the Kingdoms and Empires great! Like book one it was a madcap adventure that went beyond the mere whimsicality to the point of a nearly new sub-genre of Absurdist Fantasy, but with the poignant emotional depths of book three and written in the beautiful back and forth narrative of book two. (I mean come on, whoever heard of questing to save an Elf City from their own king-choosing ritual gone wrong that even gone right risks collective mass death?) Better yet – we were JONESED! – for not only did Moriarty continue to channel the great Diana Wynne Jones, she played a trick that had us howling at the ceiling and pounding the bed in mad delight summarized by the words "I cannot stand it" and "just another day in the Kingdoms and Empires." Days we will miss, for reading this series was almost like getting Jones back. An utter, grinning ear-to-ear and groaning joy filled with all the unexpected tricks of bright magic.

We already miss you so much Bronte Mettlestone and the Mettlestone-Staranise sisters Astrid, Esther, and Imogen; Oscar from our world, Alejandro, Finlay, Honey Bee and rest of the Children of Spindrift, the various Mettlestone Aunts. The K&E Alliance is blessed to have you.

(By the way, Jaclyn Moriarty obviously had WAY TOO MUCH FUN writing this series!) 

Just started Sword-Bound, volume seven of the Novels of Tiger and Del by Jennifer Roberson

He was Tiger, born of the desert winds. She was Del, born of ice and storm.

Just started Sword-Bound, volume seven of the Novels of Tiger and Del by Jennifer Roberson.
Domesticity definitely agrees with the Sandtiger and Del, but a little adventure to sharpen skills could not hurt, could it? Oh no. Because half the sword-dancers of the South are totally not still hoolies-bent on killing them (or at least Tiger), and other half absolutely do not want to drag Tiger (and probably Del too) before Umir the Ruthless. What could possibly go wrong? Knowing these two, everything, but it is still an absolute joy to rejoin them and see how often they get captured and escape. Time to step into the circle once again.

(Yes, I know I said I would pick up Sword-Bound upon completing the Lumatere Chronicles, but I tore through it with time enough to spare to for the Nine Realms, and then I had to fulfill a very pleasant promise to J.V. Hillard by reading Vorodin's Lair. Still, tis only February. Seems I am a faster reader than I thought.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Finalist in The Feathered Quill 2023 Book Awards

Actually, I had forgotten that The Last War was even in the running for The Feathered Quill 2023 Book Awards 😅 So learning that my book was a Finalist in the Fantasy category is a pleasant surprise.