Post Tagged with: "fantasy"

Psychopomp Now Available On Amazon Kindle (And You Can Still Read Our Excerpt)

Psychopomp Now Available On Amazon Kindle (And You Can Still Read Our Excerpt)

Cover of Psychopomp by Amanda Sledz

Psychopomp Volume One: Cracked Plate, the literary dark fiction novel by Amanda Sledz, is now available on the Amazon Kindle.

You can still read my interview with Amanda here and read an excerpt from the novel here.

You can also buy it in print from Amanda, Powells or Amazon.

May 29, 2013 0 comments
Fiction: Selkie Stories Are For Losers By Sofia Samatar

Fiction: Selkie Stories Are For Losers By Sofia Samatar

“Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar:

I hate selkie stories. They’re always about how you went up to the attic to look for a book, and you found a disgusting old coat and brought it downstairs between finger and thumb and said “What’s this?”, and you never saw your mom again.

I work at a restaurant called Le Pacha. I got the job after my mom left, to help with the bills. On my first night at work I got yelled at twice by the head server, burnt my fingers on a hot dish, spilled lentil-parsley soup all over my apron, and left my keys in the kitchen.

I didn’t realize at first I’d forgotten my keys. I stood in the parking lot, breathing slowly and letting the oil-smell lift away from my hair, and when all the other cars had started up and driven away I put my hand in my jacket pocket. Then I knew.

I ran back to the restaurant and banged on the door. Of course no one came. I smelled cigarette smoke an instant before I heard the voice.

“Hey.”

I turned, and Mona was standing there, smoke rising white from between her fingers.

“I left my keys inside,” I said.

Full Story: Strange Horizons: Selkie Stories Are for Losers by Sofia Samatar

February 1, 2013 0 comments
Technoccult Interview: Psychopomp Author Amanda Sledz

Technoccult Interview: Psychopomp Author Amanda Sledz

Cover of Psychopomp by Amanda Sledz

Amanda Sledz

In her series Psychopomp, author Amanda Sledz takes a literary approach to writing about urban shamanism, magical thinking, tarot, telepathy and other themes usually reserved for the fantasy genre. The series follows four characters: Meena, a woman who has experienced a break with reality; her parents, Frank and Esther; and Lola, a teenager who is becoming a shaman whether she wants to or not.

The first book in the series, Psychopomp Volume One: Cracked Plate, explores mental illness, empathy, our differing experiences of place, immigration and cultural identity, and the way our experience of family shapes our identity — without resorting to the cliches of genre fiction or descending into boring academic prose.

Amanda was raised in Cleveland and now lives in Portland, OR. She is self-publishing Psychopomp, but her work has appeared eFiction Horror and various small literary magazines. You can also check out some of Amanda’s works in progress on her site.

An excerpt from the first installment is here. You can buy the book from Amanda here, from Powells Books or from Amazon here.

I recently caught-up with her to talk about Psychopomp, self-publishing and more.

Klint Finley: I understand you wrote a first draft of the first book in college — can you walk us through how the book evolved?

Amanda Sledz: I started working on it during my last semester of graduate school. I’d finished the entirety of an MFA in nonfiction writing, and thought I’d try my hand at fiction before escaping the clutches of academentia. There were a lot of subjects that I wrote about in my master’s thesis that were perceived as being unbelievable, because magical thinking as a means of interacting with hardship was described as a natural way of operating. The tone of the thesis (which was a memoir) became very self-conscious, with the over-awareness of the audience that’s required for decent nonfiction writing. I found myself longing to write something uncorked that still utilized the same themes.

I finished the first draft, which consisted of a shorter version of each section, very quickly. The editing and perfecting and development of repetition took a long, long time.

I abandoned it after wrangling it and getting sections of it published in small literary magazines. Then just over a year ago I was cleaning off my hard drive and thought doing nothing with it would be a waste.

And, in a way, as Grant Morrison might say I had myself locked in a hypersigil. I’m fairly certain my writing career would be permanently stalled if I didn’t let it escape.

December 12, 2012 1 comment
Neil Gaiman Writing Sandman Prequel

Neil Gaiman Writing Sandman Prequel

i09 reports that Neil Gaiman announced at Comic-Con that he’s writing a prequel to Sandman. J. H. Williams III of Promethea fame is set draw it. Here’s a transcript of part of Gaiman’s pre-recorded announcement:

When I finished writing The Sandman, there was one tale still untold. The story of what had happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman #1, and why he was returned from far away, exhausted beyond imagining, and dressed for war.

Full Story: io9: Neil Gaiman’s writing a prequel to Sandman in 2013

I haven’t read Sandman since I was 15 – about half my life ago. I have no idea if it’s actually good – it was the best thing I’d ever read up to that point (other than Watchmen), but I hadn’t read all that much. I think it’s time for a re-read.

July 14, 2012 0 comments
Early Issues of Heavy Metal Reassessed

Early Issues of Heavy Metal Reassessed

Heavy Metal issue one cover

Sean Witzke reviews the first two issues of Heavy Metal magazine:

The first issue of Heavy Metal is shakily put together by the offices of National Lampoon. Equal parts translated reprints from Metal Hurlant, American underground comics, and new work, which is how the book would eventually move forward throughout the years. The first issue isn’t quite sure of the tone it wants to set or the kind of material they’d be interested in publishing. Metal Hurlant had a very vague definition of “science fiction”, one that the uncredited introductory editorial at the start of the issue pokes fun at. Heavy Metal is just a name for the book, and the material inside may have an emphasis on science fiction it is by no means a collection of science fiction or fantasy. Instead it a showcase of the kind of talent and the kinds of comics that would become the magazine’s standard – here in the first issue are Moebius, Druillet, Corben, Mezieres, and Vaughn Bode. All make their first appearances to herald a defining run on the series where for YEARS in every issue, at least one story was made by an absolute genius of the medium, even if it was a two page gag strip.

Full Story: supervillain: Time builds itself painlessly around them

(via Ian)

See also:

Heavy Metal Fan Page

Ian’s Moebius site

July 6, 2012 2 comments
Male Writer Tries to Imitate Male and Female Fantasy Novel Poses

Male Writer Tries to Imitate Male and Female Fantasy Novel Poses

Jim C. Hines as Conan

Fantasy author Jim C. Hine tries posing as both male and female characters from fantasy novel covers. His conclusions:

  1. Men on book covers are indeed posed shirtless in ways that show off their musculature. However…
  2. Male poses do not generally emphasize sexuality at the expense of all other considerations.
  3. Male poses do emphasize the character’s power and strength in a way many (most?) female cover poses don’t.
  4. When posed with a woman, the man will usually be in the dominant, more powerful posture.
  5. Male poses do not generally require a visit to the chiropractor afterward.

Jim C. Hine: Striking a Pose (Women and Fantasy Covers)

Jim C. Hine: Posing Like a Man

See also:

A contortionist/martial artist says he can’t imitate that female fighting pose from comic books

Escher Girls: Redrawing Embarrassing Comic Book Women

April 28, 2012 1 comment
Dune/Star Wars Parallels

Dune/Star Wars Parallels

Justine Shaw, Star Wars and Dune comparison

Probably obvious to those who have read the book and seen the movies, but interesting in light of the Skywalker Paradigm, which holds, for example, that Jabba is nobility and not a gangster (he’s referred to as “Lord,” Luke must approach him diplomatically) and that the Jedi do not have supernatural powers, but are just master manipulators and hypnotists (sort of like male Bene Gesserit).

The page includes details on many of the influences on Dune as well, such as General Semantics.

Star Wars Origins: Dune

See also:

Sacrifice and Submission: Game of Thrones and the Aesthetics of Fascism

Jodorowsky’s Dune

February 12, 2012 0 comments
When Did Magic Become Hereditary?

When Did Magic Become Hereditary?

The Twelfth Enchantment author David Liss on the portrayal of magic in popular story telling:

In the past, people generally believed they could acquire magic in two ways: through learning the craft, either from another practitioner or from books; or through obtaining magic from a powerful being-think Faust or the classic, demonized witch, both of whom get their mojo from Satan. Anyone could learn magic as long as he or she had access to the knowledge or could make a connection with the right supernatural entity. The important point is that in theory, the gates of magic were open to everyone, and what I find most interesting is how that has changed in popular culture. [...]

Magic has gone from being an open system to a closed one. Their massive popularity make the Harry Potter novels and films the most glaring example, but it’s everywhere, and has been for decades now: TV shows like Charmed and Wizards of Waverly Place, books like those of Laurell K. Hamilton and Charlaine Harris. More often than not, magical practitioners are born, not made. Magic is an exclusive club. You can watch and be envious, but you can’t join.

i09: When did magic become elitist?

Also, Alyssa Rosenberg writes: “I wonder if a sense of biological magic also correlates to a sense of unease about how much power we have to impact our lives and to change the world. Believing that you can put the evil eye on someone, or that you can summon the devil, means believing in your own capacity to learn, hold, and wield power. Biological conceptions of magic are a way of explaining your own powerlessness. We can’t change our lives — but we’re also not responsible for changing the world — because we’re not Harry Potter, or the Slayer, or the Halliwell sisters.”

(both links via David Forbes)

Not unrelated are Michael Moorcock’s essay on the fascist, conservative and/or reactionary strains running through sci-fi and fantasy fiction, and this essay by Stokes on the aesthetics of fascism and the TV series Game of Thrones.

November 4, 2011 2 comments
Alan Moore Mentor Steve Moore Releases New Novel Somnium

Alan Moore Mentor Steve Moore Releases New Novel Somnium

Somnium

Steve Moore, a mentor to Alan Moore (no relation), is publishing his novel Somnium through Strange Attractor. It’s available for pre-order from the publisher. S. Moore was the subject of A. Moore’s audiobook Unearthing, which discussed the circumstances of the writing of Somnium. It’s received praise from Michael Moorcock and Iain Sinclair.

From Strange Attractor:

Written in the early years of the 21st century, when the author was engaged in dream-explorations and mystical practices centred on the Greek moon-goddess Selene, Somnium is an intensely personal and highly-embroidered fictional tapestry that weaves together numerous historical and stylistic variations on the enduring myth of Selene and Endymion. Ranging through the 16th to 21st centuries, it combines mediæval, Elizabethan, Gothic and Decadent elements in a fantastic romance of rare imagination.

With its delirious and heartbroken text spiralling out from the classical myth of Endymion and the Greek lunar goddess Selene, Somnium is an extraordinary odyssey through love and loss and lunacy, illuminated by the silvery moonlight of its exquisite language.

With an afterword by Alan Moore, whose biographical piece Unearthing details the life of his friend and mentor Steve Moore, and includes the circumstances surrounding the writing of Somnium.

October 11, 2011 0 comments
Sacrifice and Submission: Game of Thrones and the Aesthetics of Fascism

Sacrifice and Submission: Game of Thrones and the Aesthetics of Fascism

Triumph of the Will
Triumph of the Will, 1934

star wars
Star Wars, 1977

This essay supposedly has spoilers up through the most recent Game of Thrones book, but the first page or so of the essay sets the ground work for fascist aesthetics and is quite interesting. I’ve only read the prelude to the first novel, and haven’t seen any of the show, but I don’t think anything was spoiled in the first few paragraphs.

The essay opens with a nice long quote from Susan Sontag:

It is generally thought that National Socialism stands only for brutishness and terror. But this is not true. National Socialism—more broadly, fascism—also stands for an ideal or rather ideals that are persistent today under the other banners: the ideal of life as art, the cult of beauty, the fetishism of courage, the dissolution of alienation in ecstatic feelings of community; the repudiation of the intellect; the family of man (under the parenthood of leaders). These ideals are vivid and moving to many people, and it is dishonest as well as tautological to say that one is affected by Triumph of the Will and Olympia only because they were made by a filmmaker of genius. Riefenstahl’s films are still effective because, among other reasons, their longings are still felt, because their content is a romantic ideal to which many continue to be attached…

And unlike Michael Moorcock’s famous rant about fascism and fantasy, the author of this essay writes:

Let’s just get this out of the way. I am not calling George R. R. Martin, or any of the other authors discussed in this post, a Nazi. Nor am I calling them Blackshirts, nor connecting them with any other historical group of totalitarian assholes. The aesthetic principles I’m discussing here are neither the result of fascism nor indicative of fascism, they just take advantage of the same emotional circuitry that fascism takes advantage of. These are not politicized aesthetics, rather, fascism is aestheticized politics. It’s not quite accurate to claim that aesthetic similarities don’t imply any ideological similarities at all, but that’s a lot closer to the truth than the other way around.

Over Thinking It: Game of Thrones and the Aesthetics of Fascism

(via Wes)

See also: Staging the Nation’s Rebirth: the Politics and Aesthetics of Performance in the Context of Fascist Studies

July 26, 2011 0 comments