Garlic or gold: Tips for dealing with common fantasy monsters

While strong female characters in fantasy literature are not uncommon, they are often created by men.  If you don’t believe this makes a difference, just take a look at Roy Thomas’s Red Sonja, or even William Moulton Marston’s Wonder Woman.  Novelist Anne Bishop turns traditional expectations of buxom, sword-wielding fantasy heroines on their heads, however, in her stellar series, “The Black Jewels.” The series was originally conceived as a trilogy, with the first book, Daughter of the Blood, published in 1998, Heir to the Shadows in 1999, and Queen of the Darkness in 2000.  The title refers to the magical jewels which are awarded to (almost) every individual in a coming-of-age ceremony.  The darkest jewels are the most powerful.  In an interesting twist, jeweled women are the dominant ruling force, holding court over a coven of female attendants and a harem of fawning males.  Bishop’s first three books tell the story of a young girl named Jaenelle Angelline who has the ability to become the most powerful witch in the universe. Read the rest of this entry »

Jasper Fforde’s literary mysteries

British writer Jasper Fforde’s literary mysteries have become popular over the years thanks to an inventive world and a determined heroine named Thursday Next.

She’s the modern woman caught up in an alternate reality where fictional characters can become entangled in crimes. The Thursday Next series chronicles her adventures as she sets out to solve cases and help the beleaguered.

The first book, “The Eyre Affair”, came out in 2001. In it, Thursday finds herself embroiled with the problems of the mysterious Rochester from “Jane Read the rest of this entry »

Dragons in your mailbox: Investigating fantasy fiction magazines

Some of the best and most ground-breaking fantasy writing has traditionally been published in magazines, and the same is still true today. One big change is that you no longer have to rely on the “pulps” for your monthly dose of swords and sorcerers; there is some great fantasy to be found in the online ‘zines, too.

One big advantage to reading fantasy magazines as well as novels is that you can become aware of a variety of new styles, trends and authors inexpensively.Additional information can Read the rest of this entry »

The lasting appeal of “Alice in Wonderland”

For a book that was originally written to protest higher math (imaginary numbers and such that created a world where the laws of reason no longer exist… interesting history) “Alice in Wonderland” has been an extremely long-lasting classic story. The reason for that is several-fold, and the sum of the whole is greater than any of its individual parts.

First off, the book is whimsical and enjoyable for the younger audience. From characters like the Read the rest of this entry »

Our Picks: Best Fantasy Writers of the Last 50 Years

We know this article’s going to meet a lot of argument across the web but we have to get it out there: our list of the top 3 fantasy writers of the last 50 years. Whether or not you’ve been to to get online and order their books or you’ve simply heard of them through the grapevine, do yourself Read the rest of this entry »

“I do believe in fairies”: Fantasies based on fairytales

As writers’ we have the privilege of creating new and exciting worlds. Within those worlds we can populate it with fantastical creatures. Lands possessed by Orcs or countries ruled by peaceful elves are just some of the possibilities open to a fantasy writer. One of the most popular characters to include in a fantasy novel is faeries. Faeries can be found in many different cultures folklore and religious texts. But fairies are not just a character of the past many modern Read the rest of this entry »

The weird works of Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is the author of the wildly popular children’s book, Coraline. Turned into a major motion picture, Coraline tells the story of a girl, discontent with what she has, who ventures through a secret door into another world populated by quasi-mirror images of her life. It is a cautionary tale, intended to teach children the age-old lesson that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Neil Gaiman has had a long and storied literary history. As a child, he was Read the rest of this entry »

An introduction to fantasy manga

There are many different kinds of entertainment out there for people all over the world to enjoy. One of the most popular forms of entertainment in this day and age is Manga. Tons of people are beginning to appreciate these stories in the same way that they love a good movie or a novel by their favorite author. To be fair, manga books are almost exactly like reading a graphic novel. They are serials and the story continues with each volume Read the rest of this entry »

Suffering from “Seeker” withdrawal? Check out the books

In just two seasons, the television series Legend of the Seeker (based on Terry Goodkind’s “Sword of Truth” novels) has won the type of fan loyalty usually reserved for shows twice its age. How can we tell? Because when the cancellation of the series was reported on April 26, fans began a campaign called “Save Our Seeker.” These earnest individuals are manning tables at fan conventions, sending DVDs to public libraries, and purchasing ads in trade magazines. Goodkind himself has published an announcement supporting the campaign, but the show’s fate remains in flux. If you can’t get enough of the wood guide Richard Cypher and his companions, now’s a perfect chance to check out Goodkind’s original novels.The eleven-book series began in 1994 with Wizard’s First Rule and ended in 2007 with Confessor. The television series roughly covers the first three novels, although the show’s producers Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert have stated that it’s more important to keep the feel of the characters faithful rather than slavishly follow the events of the series. Perhaps inspired by the success of the show, a new novel, The Omen Machine, has been announced on Goodkind’s website. Read the rest of this entry »

J.K. Rowling in the after-”Harry” world

“What a difference 24 hours makes.” This was J.K. Rowling’s comment on how quickly the attitudes of the press can change, but it applies equally well to the author’s overnight success. In 1997, Rowling published the first book of her Harry Potter saga, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and became possibly the most-recognized fantasy novelist of recent times. Even more unusual for a fantasy series, the books enjoyed popularity across all age groups and international borders. The final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was the fastest-selling book ever at the time of its release, with 15 million copies sold in the first 24 hours. It’s certainly a hard act to follow. So, what’s next for Rowlingand have we really seen the last of the series, as she insists? Read the rest of this entry »

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