Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Voltaire's Adventures Before Candide

Do you sometimes sit there, in your petty little chair, wondering what it all means? Why are we even upon this planet? What insane person decided to place us here and give us these meaningless, hopeless, idiotic chores to blindly complete? This bizarre story about Candide before he sat down to write Candide will not answer that question, but will at least take your mind off the screaming hell that is reality.
Warning: The following contains material which is harmful to the sane.
I'm serious. If you value any of your connections to reality, stop right here. This is not some trick to get you to keep reading, like a Lights Out episode, it's a real warning. You probably got this for free, and that's a good thing—my other work is not as all-out nutso as this piece of drivel.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blackadder Moment

"I'm anaspeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericombobulation."


Friday, February 17, 2012

Blurb for the Spaces Between

The current one isn't working. It sounds too cliche, when in fact I'm making fun at those cliches. Thinking of changing the blurb to this:

An exiled warlock sits fuming in his confinement. A not-so-secret holy Order can't keep its "elite" members alive. An idiot man-child talks to a dead man who leads him nearly to his death. A Holy Temple sits waiting for new tenants as the others were slaughtered by a demonic abomination. And a bull-headed mercenary is convinced he can trek off into the great north and learn magic.

Fantasy clichés are put to the test in this off-beat and dark fantasy story. There is an adventure, a journey, a quest if you will. But the "heroes", if you dare call them that, will not even come close to saving the world.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Little Clue

Not content at just writing fantasy, I've started a new project. I have no life and that's OK. Here is a little clue:

After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of King Herod, suddenly some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east asking, "Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage."
 When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They told him, "At Bethlehem in Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote:
'And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are by no means the least among the leaders of Judah, for from you will come a leader who will shepherd my people Israel.'"
Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared and sent them on to Bethlehem with the words, "Go and find out all about the child, and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage."
 Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And suddenly the star they had seen rising went forward and halted over the place where the child was.
The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
But they were given a warning in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Need for a Dystopian Ideal in Fantasy

We need a dystopian ideal in fantasy.
It is perfectly normal and OK that the heroes survive, that the magic item is found and that at least most of the main good guys stay alive. But what if they all get to the end and are murdered by the evil villain? Because, after all, that is most likely what would happen in reality, isn’t it? One cannot face a fully-loaded freight train with a pen-knife and hope to survive.
Of course, fantasy stories deal with the heroes, as most stories do. The guy/gal who is strong enough to rise up and find the ring or save the prisoners. That’s fine. What would the point be of telling a long and involved narrative if you’re just going to kill everyone off anyway? Who would read that?
Isn't it worth the effort to find out? Life is not always fair.
There are too many predictable endings and too many predictable scenarios, in fantasy especially. George RR Martin (to name a massive name in the genre) has done well to keep us off-balance by killing of a slew of characters we may have rooted for.
I tell you it is not enough.
Let's take the Seanchan in Wheel of Time...constantly oppressing those who can channel, stringing them on leashes like dogs, and treating them worse. It fits the dystopian milieu, through dehumanization of the damane, and its obvious parallel to slavery. But what will happen in the final book? Will someone rise up from within, or will Rand crush them utterly? Who is to say, but my money is on the liberation of the damane. Again, it's not quite close enough.
Who will rise up from inside and try to change the oppressive society, try to overthrow the leaders? Often in heroic fantasy, the hero swoops in and saves everyone. But in reality that change doesn't happen this world, people still buy other people. Nothing changed overnight after the civil war. And so I fear the Seanchan issue will get a different paint job in the final book, perhaps a good one, but maybe not one that will please the "fans" of dystopia, those who want Jordan/Sanderson to make a statement.
Fantasy needs more Seanchan-like examples, I believe, in order to provide some balance to the hero-goes-on-the-quest-and-saves-the-world. If a world is being dominated by a religion, a system of government, or a mad warlock, who says that the good guys have to win?
I know, I know, it is fantasy, and thus almost anything is possible. But fantastical worlds don't have to come with a guideline stating that a hero must rise, find a sacred relic, and rescue everyone from damnation. What if there is no sacred relic? What if the "hero" traverses a thousand miles only to be flung into a bit of Doom?
This scene, and others like it, would go a long way to add a unique dynamic to the genre. I suspect it would be unpopular with major publishing houses who want to stay safe and secure in the established clichés. But for those authors daring enough to push the envelope and reflect a world where the oppressed and downtrodden are not necessarily liberated, there could be a major benefit of having launched a new trend.