A Workshop with Garth Nix

This weekend I got a rare opportunity to attend an ASA workshop run by one of my favourite fantasy authors – Garth Nix. For anyone who doesn’t know, Garth is the author of the world famous Old Kingdom fantasy series (consisting of Sabriel, Lireal, Abhorsen and most recently, Clariel) and many other books (A Confusion of Princes is another favourite of mine). He has also worked as a literary agent, editor, publicist and bookseller and is just generally a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the book industry, and particularly the fantasy and science fiction genres. Needless to say, I was a little star struck! Continue reading

Reading Classic Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels

As a teenager, hearing the word “classic” coupled with the word “book” was enough to make me suspicious. “Classics” were the books I got forced to read in school. They were the books everyone told me I simply must read, the books I thought would surely be great… until I found myself struggling through an archaic tome that was neither interesting nor inspiring. Even more daunting was the fact that this canon of old, famous and important books was seemingly endless. I felt like I might be in the grave before I finished them all. Continue reading

One Year Blogiversary

It’s officially been one year since I started this blog! Doesn’t feel like that long but hey, time flies. In truth it started out as a bit of an experiment, turned into more of a habit, and then became a regular part of my life.

I’m not sure what one typically does on one’s blogiversary, but I thought this might be a good opportunity to pick a selection of posts from the past year that have been particularly popular (or that were simply personal favourites). Continue reading

Epic Fantasy Novels and Long Beginnings

Image: Wizard Figurine

Photo by Anvica via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It’s been a while since I’ve read a typical epic fantasy novel. I’ve been caught up in the realm of fantasy romance and science fiction, and only recently found myself returning to a more old-school breed of fantasy when I picked up Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind.

I’m about halfway through it and am really enjoying it so far, but reading it reminds me of the love-hate relationship I have with epic fantasy. This relationship is largely caused by one thing: beginnings. Continue reading

Resolving Sexual Tension in a Paranormal or Fantasy Romance Series

Kissing Behind Umbrella

Photo by Emi via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I’m having a dilemma at the moment. I’m working on a manuscript, and while I’m nearing the end of it, I can already see that it is too long. And not just a little too long. It’s more than 100,000 words too long. The prospect of editing it down to a reasonable size is nothing short of terrifying.

When I mentioned this to a friend they said, “why don’t you just make it two books?” Continue reading

My Top 25 Science Fiction Movies

Image: UFO

Forbidden Planet, 1956. Photo by Bill Lile via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In my last post I listed my picks for the best 25 fantasy films of all time… but in the process of whittling it down to those favourites, I kept remembering wonderful science fiction films that I wanted to add to the list. I resisted the temptation because it was a fantasy film list, but now I’d like to give those films their own space to shine. So here are my favourite 25 sci-fi films: Continue reading

My Top 25 Fantasy Movies

The Director- A Young Walt Disney?

Photo by Joe Penniston via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Last week I pointed out that there are many different types of fantasy movies… so many that picking favourites can not only be a challenge, but make any list you cobble together look a little all-over-the-place. Nevertheless, I still wanted to identify the ones I absolutely loved. So without further ado, here are my top 25 fantasy films (and I should point out, many are childhood favourites… I guess those are often the ones that stick with you):
Continue reading

The 10 Popular Types of Fantasy Movies

Image: Popcorn

Popcorn. Photo by Joakim Wahlander via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

While we don’t hesitate to label a film “science fiction”, it’s a much rarer occasion that we’ll call a film a “fantasy”. Sure, things like Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and Harry Potter immediately scream fantasy, but beyond these key examples, things can get a little fuzzy. Just the other day, I was trying to think of my favourite fantasy films and found myself floundering. Continue reading

Science Fiction and the Joy of Discovering Something New

Image: M82 Galaxy

M82 Galaxy remixed from the Hubble Legacy Archive. Photo by Adam Evans via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved reading fantasy novels. I can read and enjoy books outside of the genre, but it’s always been much harder for me to love a book – to become completely engrossed – if it’s not fantasy (that said, I recently read The Help, and it turned out to be one of the exceptions to the rule). Sure, I’ve dabbled in a few other genres, but fantasy is where my heart has always been.

Up until a couple of years ago, however, the spread of other genres I’d sampled had a glaring omission. Continue reading

Accepting the Existence of Magic

Image: Floating Woman in Forest

Photo by Andrei Oprinca via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you’re a paranormal fantasy reader you might find this scenario familiar:

The main character, Mary Sue, has finally cottoned on to the fact that things around her aren’t quite what they seem. In fact, things are getting downright weird. The various laws that govern time and space and normality in her world are breaking to pieces around her. In short, she’s encountering the supernatural… either that or she’s just mad. This is a fantasy novel, however, so you can be 99% sure it’s not madness.

The trouble is, Mary Sue continues to insist that she is mad. Continue reading