Welcome, readers of Shady Vale! Knights of Tyrsis! Home Guard of Arborlon! Welcome, one-and-all, to the reread of Terry Brooks’ classic epic fantasy novel, The Elfstones of Shannara. For the next several weeks, leading up to MTV’s debut of The Shannara Chronicles in January, 2016, we’ll join Amberle, Wil, Allanon, Eretria, and the elves of the Westland in their quest for the Bloodfire, and their war against the Dagda Mor and his demons of the Forbidding.
Last year, I became a parent. The birth of my child was a transformative experience, and, since then, I’ve been drawn to stories about parents — their relationships with their children, the way parenthood affects their decisions, the endless possibilities for familial relationships. The day your first child is born, you wake up as Bilbo Baggins — naive, selfish — but then, suddenly, you are thrust into the role of Gandalf — teacher, protector.
Science Fiction and Fantasy is full of parents — loving parents (Lily Potter) and awful parents (King Robert Baratheon), incredible parents (Cordelia Vorkosigan) and mysterious parents (Tam al’Thor), and all around kickass parents (Zamira Drakasha). Parenthood affects them all differently, challenges their motivations, and changes the way they interact with the world around them. Without children, they would all be dramatically different people (even King Robert).
Series: Five Books About…
I mean, just look at it. That world is just waiting for a lost gamer to wander through it’s lovely twists and turns.
Studio Ghibli is well-known to American audiences for being behind such classic films as Academy Award-winning Spirited Away, as well as My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Tales from Earthsea (an animated spin-off of Ursula K. Le Guin’s much beloved series of fantasy novels) and director Hayao Miyazaki’s art style is immediately recognizable for its simple charm and timeless characters. Marrying that art style with a video game and placing it on a platform with the juice to do Miyazaki’s imagination justice seems like a no-brainer.
Everybody has a favourite superhero. Whether you love the vulnerability of Batman, Superman’s struggle with what it means to be human, or Spider-Man’s fight for Mary Jane, it’s easy to connect with these super-powered humans (well, human in most cases!) and recognize that despite their superhuman abilities, they’re as damaged and vulnerable as the rest of us.
And that’s what makes these paint splatter portraits (which are actually produced digitally) by artist Arian Noveir so wonderful; not only do they look great, but they manage to capture that unguarded side that so many superheroes possess. They’re a beautiful, subversive look at the traditional hero-figure.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand using a live-action trailer (which are notoriously cheesy) for a videogame when the publisher can commission beautiful CG to do the job. It’s worked for Skyrim in the past, and the 80s and 90s proved that live-action video and videogames don’t mesh well. Still, the production values are sky-high for a project like this and it’s better than Dragon Age: Redemption, so that’s a win for hardcore Elder Scrolls fans. Thankfully, for the rest of us, the release of Skyrim is just around the corner and we can soon all be lost in its digitally rich, lovingly crafted world without fear of real flesh and blood actors.
For anyone who’s read Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, it probably seems suitable that the television and film adaptation has long been in limbo. For a few years now, news of the adaptation has popped up at various times as news (both good and ill) surfaces, from vague promises to casting announcements to budget cuts. Now, it seems like fans finally have some news that’s worth getting excited about. The Dark Tower is heading to HBO.
Most recently, Universal Pictures shelved the ambitious project, citing growing costs as a major concern for the series, which will consist of three films, each being bridged by a television mini-series. The project was set to star Javier Bardem, the Academy Award-winning Spanish actor best known for playing the ruthless killer in No Country for Old Men.
Since its release in 2004, World of Warcraft has stolen lives, spawned marriages, sated curious adventurers, raked in cash and changed the face of online gaming forever. It’s with no small amount of impatience that millions of gamers the world over anticipate new expansions for the game and Blizzard Entertainment has just blown the lid off the latest at BlizzCon 2011. It’s called Mists of Pandaria and finds its roots in an old practical joke.
The big news? A new race. A new class. A new zone.
Excited for Skyrim? The next installment of the immensely popular Elder Scrolls series is set to debut on November, 11th (11/11/11, right?) and promises to suck away the social lives of millions of fantasy-buffs all over the world, inspire countless misadventures, and spawn an equal number of
horrifying hilarious glitches to amuse Youtube users until the next game from developer Bethesda Softworks.
Can you imagine, then, that Skyrim was almost a game based on George R.R. Martin’s equally (and enormously) popular A Song of Ice and Fire series?
It’s a cultural phenomenon in Japan (though, no, they don’t take a holiday for its release, as popular sentiment seems to believe) and has a successful cult following in North America, so when Square Enix made a promise to announce a new title in the Dragon Quest series on Sunday, September 4th, gamers on both sides of the pond took notice. The game “announced” (for it had already been announced, months earlier), though, ruffled some feathers and took everybody by surprise.
Do you pine for the days when RPGs were simpler? Do you look back fondly on grinding against T-Rexes in Final Fantasy VI (or III or whatever you want to call it these days), or the time-travelling antics of Chrono Trigger? Now you’re all grown up, though, and can’t get enough of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire or HBO’s Game of Thrones, right? Well, have you ever been curious what the videogame version of A Game of Thrones might’ve looked like if the series had found superstardom when it was first released in 1996? Thanks to College Humor, we don’t have to ponder any longer!
It’s a terrifically funny little homage (which has its tongue planted firmly in cheek); the absolute highlights being Jaime Lannister’s infamous run-in with Bran Stark, Dany and Drogo’s rhythm-based mini-game, and the MIDI rendition of the Game of Thrones opening theme song.
As with all things Game of Thrones- or College Humor-related, it’s NSFW!
On the surface, Leviathan Wakes, volume one of The Expanse, appears like any other space operaspaceships duke it out in the silent vacuum of space; down-on-their luck security officers spend their time policing backwater space stations; terrorist groups cause mischief in the name of freedom and equality; various factions exist within an uneasy peace, always on the edge of inter-planetary warfare.
So, Leviathan Wakes set itself apart not by its weird aliens, nor its so-cool-I-gotta-have-it technology, but rather by its lack of such genre staples. You see, instead of plumbing the depths of the universe and its trillion stars, author(s) James S.A. Corey (a pseudonym worn by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) decided instead to explore a future where interstellar-travel is still only a pipe-dream. Reminiscent of the long-dead population of Easter Island, humanity is stuck in a solar system-sized bubble and, as time ticks away, they can’t help but cannibalize everything good in their ever-failing quest to leave the solar system behind.
Minecraft is an open world, retro-styled videogame that places the player in a never-ending and dynamically-created game world, gives them the ability to build (nearly) anything they want and then sets them free to explore.
Quaint, huh? But like a plain canvas, Minecraft just oozes potential and awaits an ambitious artist to unlock its secrets. Needless to say, there have been some incredible constructions, many drawing inspiration from some of our favourite science fiction and fantasy universes.
I’ve gathered together some of the Minecraft creations that have impressed me the most, whether from their accuracy or their scope—they include a 1:1 scale model of the USS Enterprise, a perfect replication of the overworld from The Legend of Zelda and even Laputa from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.
I recently stumbled across these amazing constructs by artist Brian Dettmer and fell completely in love. As someone who won’t even dog-ear a book (and god help someone I find using one of my novels as a hard surface to write on!) I should be appalled by such rampant destruction of beautiful words… but I’m not. I’m smitten. These repurposed books are wonderfully inventive and stirring, and would be the perfect muse to sit on my writing desk at home.
Boston.com’s The Big Picture is my favourite web site. And so it was much to my delight to wake up this morning to find that they’d launched their 2010 Hubble Space Telescope advent calendar! What is it, you ask? Every day this holiday season, The Big Picture will be posting a gob-smackingly amazing photo taken by the famous Hubble Telescope. If you’re as much a space nut as I am, you can’t miss it!
For fans of wonderful photography (and who isn’t?), The Big Picture is an absolute must-bookmark website. Between photo-journalistic coverage of all the current conflicts and social events going on in the world, to beautiful collections showcasing the wonders of our world and the people, animals and landscapes that define it, The Big Picture is sure to leave you at times cheered and humbled, melancholy and amazed.
Entertainment Weekly has 11 new photos from the upcoming television series adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s mega-successful (and mega-awesome) A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series:
From the wonderful desk of John Kenn come these terrifying(ly charming) monster tableus doodled onto Post-It Notes. Why Post-Its? Kenn explains on his blog (linked above):
I write and direct television shows for kids. I have a set of twins and not much time for anything. But when I have time, I draw monster drawings on Post-It Notes. It is a little window into a different world, made on office supplies.
Below the cut, a couple more of my favorites:
- Sweepstakes Brian Froud’s Goblins Sweepstakes! 13 hours ago
- Suzanne Johnson Fiction Affliction: September Releases in Paranormal Romance 1 day ago
- Keith DeCandido The Stargate Rewatch: Universe Season One 1 day ago
- Stubby the Rocket This Homage From Batman to Snoopy is One of the Most Beautiful Things in Comics 1 day ago
- Justin Landon Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Last Argument of Kings: “Greater Good” and “Skarling’s Chair” 1 day ago
- Stubby the Rocket Harry Potter and the Customer Is Always Right 1 day ago
- Sweepstakes The Sleeping King Sweepstakes! 1 day ago
- Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 52 10 mins ago on
- The Stargate Rewatch: Universe Season One 43 mins ago on
- Five Sci-Fi Books That Crank Out the Funny 51 mins ago on
- The Stargate Rewatch: Universe Season One 58 mins ago on
- The Stargate Rewatch: Universe Season One 1 hour ago on
- The Stargate Rewatch: Universe Season One 2 hours ago on
- Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 52 3 hours ago on