C. S. Lewis

The History of Fantasy, Part I: Books of Monsters

      Some people like to date Fantasy as starting with Tolkien, some like to reach back to the tales of the ancient world, but I like to split the difference and start with Beowulf. In terms of historical reach, the Anglo Saxon world is barely a stone’s throw from us today, and you can […]

Sword & Sorcery – What’s In A Name?

Sword & Sorcery has become a term of derision since the 1980s. There are good reasons for this but much of that derision is out of ignorance. The barbarian baby has been thrown out with the Hyborian bath water. This blog will outline the history of S&S, its major players, its ups and downs, and […]

Muse of a Wizard

Open your heart to a fantasy tale, ones like your mother told you when you were still small.

Science Fiction Christmas

Since this is my last post before Christmas I feel I should at least acknowledge the holiday season. Not everybody celebrates, true, but in this day and age everybody knows about it. So, Christmas is a tradition filled with iconic images, not the least of which is the jolly fat man in the red suit. […]

SWORD & SORCERY & J. R. R. TOLKIEN

In September 1937 an English Don named John Ronald Reuel Tolkien published a children’s book called The Hobbit. Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan, had been dead for fifteen months. In 1950 Gnome Press published the first Conan stories in hard cover. July 1954, Tolkien begins publishing a second version of his mythology, but […]

Zero-Magic Fantasy

Zero-magic fantasy is a growing subgenre. But can it ever rise above the level of thought experiment? And what are the tradeoffs?

American Tolkien

There is a kind of writer whose name evokes not just the titles of their best-known novels or the characters in them, but a certain way of experiencing the world. If one hears the name “Hemingway” it is hard not to think of cold Italian rains and the sound of mortar shells, or perhaps smoky […]