Why Sorcerers Have Long Grizzled Beards

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Ever notice that fictional sorcerers always seem to have long, grizzled beards? Ever wondered why?  Well, probably you haven't, but you're about to find...

The James Allison Stories: Dreaming of the Past

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Robert E. Howard produced several series: Solomon Kane, Kull of Valusia, Bran Mak Morn, and finally Conan the Cimmerian, all existing more or less...

The Science Fiction Fan’s Bucket List

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I've been fortunate to be able to travel a lot and do many things I've always wanted to do.  Some of my opportunities have...
The Princess Bride: Is this a Kissing Book?

Crossroads: Is this a Kissing Book? SFF’s Relationship with Romance

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Whenever I think of speculative fiction's relationship to romance, I am always reminded of that scene in The Princess Bride where Fred Savage's character...

Amazing Stories from Mexico – Book Review: Three Messages and a...

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Three Messages and a Warning - Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic - edited by Eduardo Jimenez Mayo and Chris N. Brown Small Beer...

The Artful Collector: Collecting Strategies Part 2 “Whatever It Takes”

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Rich men (I am going to fall back on the male gender because most of the collectors in the field of illustration art and...

How to Begin a Short Story

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Maybe I'm just impatient, but I'll generally stop reading a short story if the first two paragraphs don't answer the following questions: Who is this...
The Lost Boys

The Lost Vamps: Bloodthirsty Flicks that Actually Don’t Suck

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Vampire flicks have been all the rage since Twilight flooded the box office with sticky, coppery crimson in '08, and have proven a solid...

Women in Armour vs. Chicks in Chain-mail

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One of the more common tropes of fantasy illustration is depictions of women in armor, but this is not necessarily unique to fantasy illustration....

The Chocolate Teapots of the 21st Century

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Looking back at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear disaster of 3/11/2011, I ask more questions about Japanese robotics. Baudrillard and M. John Harrison are roped in to help. Also, we bought a Roomba.

Cloud Atlas Shrugged – or let the Skyfall

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On Monday Skyfall was released on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK. Tomorrow Cloud Atlas will open in UK cinemas. Two films, poles apart....

Top Ten RPG Game Systems of All Time

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Pull the blinds and turn off the phone, it’s time to head to the Game Room and lock in on some hardcore meta-gaming action. ...

Unicorn

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I've wanted to leave the realms of fantasy behind this time, and move on into the vastness of open space, but then this came...

Crossroads: The Power in Paranormal Romance

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Happy Valentine's Day! In my first draft of this week's essay, I started to trace the history of the paranormal romance all the way from...

Dark History: Bran Mak Morn

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Robert E. Howard, more than anything, wanted to sell to Adventure Magazine. This publication of the Buttrick Co. was considered by many the best...

The Galapagos Frontier Thesis

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The formative American experience was the conquest of the western frontier. Would science fiction and fantasy exist without the frontier model? What does Japan's parallel conquest of Hokkaido tell us about the legacy of colonial expansion?

Art + Fandom ≠ Fan Art, part II: Images of Galadriel

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Well it looks like I put my foot right into it in my previous post! Several people objected to my definition of the term...

The Top Ten Roleplaying Games of All Time

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Pull the blinds and turn off the phone; it’s time to head to the Game Room and lock in on some hardcore meta-gaming action. ...

The History of Fantasy, Part II: Barbarians and Elves and Jesus...

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         The nineteenth century closes with two books that will be imitated constantly for the next hundred years or so: Lewis Carrol’s Alice...

Dress for the Occasion 2: The Decked-out Heroine

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Previously I blogged about that favourite trope of SF & Fantasy illustration: The Scantily Clad Female. That topic generated a lot of comments, so...

Judging A Book By Its Cover (Art)

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The old axiom about not judging a book by its cover notwithstanding, I am going to judge the merits of various book covers that...

Crossroads: Tripping the Noir Fantastic

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Last week, we talked about some of the tensions between science fiction and noir. Fantasy, which relies on metaphor even more than science fiction,...

Horrorcast: The Drabblecast

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If you love to start your day with photos of catacombs and bone chandeliers, or listen to ectoplasmic psychodramas while doing your grocery...

Fiction and the Happy Brain

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STORY HORDER As a child, I was a story horder. I couldn't get enough of them. I was very fortunate to have parents who read...

Art + Fandom ≠ Fan Art: Definitions

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Before I get properly rolling with this blog, I thought it might be worth taking a moment to stake out the territory I plan...

Tarzan, Celebrating the Centennial: A Review

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Christmas 2012 was very good. And one of the reasons it was so good was that among the presents that Santa (in this case...

Why Doesn’t Fantasy Sell in Japan?

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Epic fantasy is a hard sell in Japan. Why? A country so saturated in the fantastic seemingly ought to have an affinity for our beloved genre. But shared passions often get lost in translation.

NEW! MODERN! CONTEMPORARY! HIP!

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I have spent a lot of time in previous posts dwelling in the past. I have been like an old man suddenly lost to the present, the memory of times past reeling behind his eyes while he absently stirs his tea. Well, I think perhaps I should bring this topic into the present and talk about some of the science fiction and fantasy artists working today. There has been an explosion of fantastic art. In the past fantastic art's only reason for being was as illustration to fantastic literature. That changed and today fantastic art is it's own reason for being. You can find fantasy art on posters, tee-shirts, coffee mugs. You can find it on the internet almost as easily as you can find pornography or lolcats.

The Elves of Japan

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In Japan, even the elves are different. Fantasy novelist Satoru Sato has won a place in the postwar fantasy canon for his uniquely charming creations, the Korobokkuru.
Smaug the Golden - Sunila Sen Gupta

Hobbit Art – Before the Movie (well, almost)

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Kia ora and welcome to my new Visual Arts blog on Amazing Stories! First up, let's have some Hobbit art. Let me state this outright: I am not going to try to determine who is the "greatest artist" in the fandom. I am not particularly interested in who is the most technically proficient, or the most outrageously inventive. Who gets the biggest fees, the most prestigious projects, has the greatest fan base, or who, by whose definition, is the “most famous”. I like to feature art I like.