Accents in fantasy are mostly British. Does this make it more authentic?

I’ve been pondering this BBC article since yesterday and I think there is a rather simple explanation. Arguably, Tolkein invented the modern fantasy saga in The Lord of the Rings. It is widely acknowledged that the people and races that populated the series were based very much on specific periods of English history.

The Hobbits, who live in the ground and have a simple approach to life are generally considered to be a quasi mix of Iron Age Briton and post-Roman Briton (the areas not occupied by the Saxons in the early part of their migrations and conquest). Continue reading

Racism in fandom

‘Why wasn’t The Hunger Games cast as I imagined in my racist reading?!’ is the inflammatory headline from Bim Adewunmi in today’s The Guardian. It is a pretty inflammatory article too and I have mixed feelings about the content. I feel that some of this criticism is fair but some is unfair and the writer is guilty of hypocrisy and perhaps some degree of hypersensitivity. Continue reading

I have my premise (Arc)

For the Arc 1.2 short story competition. You may remember a few days ago when I posted the email that there must be strong emphasis on credibility of technology and of human interest.

The solution came to me at the weekend and I’ve decided that the setting will be a dinner date between two people who have wildly different views on a shared common interest. My personal views strongly echo one of these characters but it has been fun seeing it from the other side. I’ve been playing around with ideas tonight and have a cursory introduction typed up.

One way or another, all will be revealed soon.

The Power of Words #2: The Public Apology

“I’m sorry but this constant demand for public apologies really offends me” so says comedian David Mitchell. I think he’s right. The demand for and dishing out of public apologies for everything everywhere for misdemeanours committed by whomever from the dawn of recorded history to the present day has become a fetish in public life and I have to wonder where it will all stop. Continue reading

Site of the Week: Language is a virus

I mentioned a little while ago that aside from other things, I was having trouble finding the motivation or time to write any fiction. I also mentioned that I was looking for good prompt and help websites for writers who come up against all sorts of problems such as writers block, stuck on character names and other intellecutal ailments that halt us in our tracks. Language is a virus is an interesting blog that is a collection of writing exercises, generators, hints and tips. Continue reading

Arc 1.1 Review

Here then, at last is my review of the first volume of the Arc ezine. I’ve had to read it this weekend as I promised “Percolated Prose” that I would have a concept ready for her to ponder over by the close of play tomorrow and that required some research in reading the first edition. I must say that it is a slick and professional production that you would expect to see from New Scientist. Continue reading

Pullman to re-tell Grimm’s fairytales

Interesting news from the stable of Philip Pullman as he announces a compilation of Hollywood style reimaginings of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It is said that it will not be a book only for children.

He has dabbled in re-imagining stories before when he wrote The Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel Christ. I’m looking forward to these. Pullman is a phenomenal writer whose work, though is genred as “Young Adult” literature, has a depth that appeals to adults.

Book Review: Others by James Herbert

Books like Others really demonstrate the adaptive writing style of Britain’s best contemporary horror writer. WHen he published his first novel The Rats in the 1970s, it stirred up controversy for its gruesome writing style. It is now (thankfully) seen as a horror classic and the writing style is praised as a necessary plot device for the brutality of the post-war inner city deprivation of the London that Herbert grew up in. Having just looked at his list of novels published to date has made me realise just how good a writer he is and how different each of his works are. Of course there are some I do not enjoy so much but every writer has books that are not well received. Continue reading

Arc 1.2 needs you…

I know I’ve yet to review Arc 1.1 as promised (I’ve barely skim-read it) but already I’m receiving promotional material about the next volume. Due out in May (so it is quarterly then), unsurprisingly it will be called Arc 1.2.

Today I received a call for submissions for a competition they are running:

Enter our writing competition & you could be published in Arc 1.2

Arc has teamed up with The Tomorrow Project, Intel’s futurism project, to run a competition soliciting near-future stories with a heavy technological emphasis. Not only will we publish the winning entry in issue 1.2 of Arc, and pay £500 for it, we will also pay £200 each to five runners-up, whose stories will then be published on the Tomorrow Project website and used to stimulate conversation about our shared future. Continue reading

Book Review: Confessions of a GP by Benjamin Daniels

This is one of those type of books that digital-only publishing has become famous for. If it was in hard copy, it would be a paperback that you wouldn’t want to pay too much for and would be perfect holiday reading. That isn’t to say that it is valueless or badly written, because it isn’t. I mean it in the politest possible way in that without self e-publishing, it might never have seen light of day and that would have been a shame. Continue reading