Archive for fantasy

Fables, Book One, by Bill Willingham

Posted in Books, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , on July 6, 2016 by davidnm2009

After playing “The Wolf Among Us”, I gained the opportunity to read the first book of Bill Willingham’s Fables series.

The basic conceit is that the former inhabitants of the fairy tale Homelands have been forced to migrate to our ‘real’ world. Most of them are living in either New York, or out on an isolated reservation called the Farm. The stories cover the issues faced by the Fables as they try to carve out some place for themselves inside Mundane society. The roles the Fables find themselves playing can be quite different from what their previous lives have conditioned them to expect…

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Shrine to the Dragon God

Posted in Art, Uncategorized with tags , on May 14, 2016 by davidnm2009

It is finally finished – hurray!

I skipped a few of the more complex shadows, but as an experiment in colour and lighting, this was interesting.

Safely You Deliver, by Graydon Saunders

Posted in Books, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , on April 18, 2016 by davidnm2009

“Safely You Deliver” is the third, and most recently-released, instalment in Graydon Saunders’ Commonweal series.

The world of the Commonweal is ancient, and its history is sodden in magic. The Power, as it’s called, has altered everything, from the cultures and economies of the world to the very people themselves. “Human” is a term whose meaning has become rather loose, encompassing as it now does a range of post-human species. Most of these species were deliberately engineered by various Sauron-wannabes to serve as some variety of forced labour. It’s fair to say that it’s not a happy place…

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Gleam, by Tom Fletcher

Posted in Books, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 17, 2015 by davidnm2009

I have a soft spot for post-industrial urban wastelands. It’s why I enjoy roaming the Capital Wasteland in Fallout 3, or why some of my favourite bits of the Mass Effect series are the ones on Tuchanka. It’s also why I found Lud to be the most vivid and immediate of the places visited in the Dark Tower saga. I also like ontological mysteries – you know, those sorts of stories where you either wake up somewhere strange or where you have a bizarre world whose origin and nature are a puzzle.

So it’s no wonder that this book caught my eye.

The titular Gleam is a vast, half-ruined urban wasteland, emerging from a swamp. It’s located somewhere else – the night sky isn’t ours, containing two moons and a globular cluster-like formation referred to as ‘the Battle’. Whether that somewhere else is another planet or another universe entirely is unclear. However the inhabitants of Gleam are (mostly) human. The elite of Gleam live within a structure called the Pyramid, which is located right at the centre of the wasteland. The surrounding area is known as the Discard. Life in the Pyramid is secure, but regimented to the extreme. Life in the Discard is freer, but dangerous.

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The Prince of Nothing trilogy, by R Scott Bakker

Posted in Reviews with tags , on November 10, 2015 by davidnm2009

I have a confession to make: I’m allergic to Christmas. Whilst I get that it’s a major holiday in our culture, I just don’t enjoy it. In fact, my dislike is strong enough that I spend most of the Christmas week fantasising about being at work – this is literally the only time in my year when that happens!

Anyway, I seem to have developed a very odd coping mechanism for dealing with Christmas overload: I seek out the most messed-up, bleak, dystopian books I can find, and read them obsessively. It sounds – and is – bizarre, but the strategy does actually work.

R Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing trilogy got me through Christmas 2014.

This trilogy is a challenging reading experience. The best comparison I can think of is to some of darker-themed Sabaton albums – powerfully-performed, musically-impeccable but also rather dissonant! (I’m going to put a trigger warning on this review, as this series does have some very, very dark moments. If something could be triggery, it’s probably in here.)

If you took one part Warhammer 40K, one part Thomas Covenant, a sprinkling of Tolkien, maybe a dash or two of Mage: The Ascension and Werewolf: The Apocalypse and a very healthy seasoning of ‘OMG WTF that’s horrible!’, you might just end up with something like this series.

Let me start my review with a quick summary of the situation at the start of the first book (also, the spoiler lamp is ON)…

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The World of Ice and Fire

Posted in Reviews with tags , on November 10, 2015 by davidnm2009

Earlier this year, I acquired and read “The World of Ice and Fire”.

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The March North, by Graydon Saunders

Posted in Reviews with tags , , on November 3, 2015 by davidnm2009

This book is an interesting experiment – egalitarian fantasy.

If I had to name something it reminded me of, I’d point at Glen Cook’s Black Company novels. There are similar elements – in “The March North”, ordinary soldiers have to interact and work with extremely powerful sorcerers. But there are also some very big differences.

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