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):
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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

Exotic Names: 7 Languages That Inspire Fantasy Authors

Image: World Globe

Old Globe. Photo by Kenneth Lu via Flickr CC BY 2.0

You open a book and come across an unusual place or character name. Maybe it’s got some strange consonants packed in. Maybe it even has an apostrophe or two. You’ve got no idea how to pronounce it… but if you’re used to reading fantasy this probably hasn’t fazed you. Exotic invented names are commonplace in this realm.

Some fantasy names might stand out in your memory: perhaps famous ones like Isengard and MordorAzkaban and Quidditch, Targaryen and Dothraki. Others might not. Regardless, the majority of them are not as made-up as they seem. Continue reading

How Did You Read Your Books Last Year?

Image: Books, Audiobooks and eBooks

This is going to be a very brief and non-very-fantasy-focussed post, but I’m curious to hear about other people’s reading and book buying habits.

For interest’s sake, I decided to work out stats on what format I read my books in last year (with the help of Goodreads). Here is the spread: Continue reading

My Favourite Fantasy and Science Fiction Books in 2014

Image: Sydney Harbour New Year's Fireworks 2013

Only one more day left in 2014! And even though this isn’t really a review blog (though I do mention books I’ve enjoyed), I thought I’d follow in the footsteps of several other bloggers I’ve seen recently and take this opportunity to list a few of the best fantasy and science fiction books that I’ve read this year. Continue reading

5 Ways to Keep Your Dragons Fresh

Image: Fire Breathing Dragon

“The Dragon of Hell”. Photo by balt-arts via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

Dragons are popular creatures, particularly in epic high fantasy. If you pick up a fantasy book at random, I’d say the chance of you encountering a dragon at some point during that book are high. In fact, doing a brief and highly unscientific survey of my fantasy shelf, I’d say about 15% of them involve dragons in some way (and i’m sure if I read exclusively epic fantasy that percentage would be higher). Personally, I’m not someone that actively seeks out dragons, but I always enjoy a well-wrought dragon when I encounter one.

The question is, when there are so many dragons out there, how do fantasy authors make their dragons feel fresh and interesting? Continue reading

Fantasy Authors Read 1-Star Reviews

I stumbled across this series of videos the other day: a whole host of famous fantasy and sci-fi authors (including Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie, John Scalzi, Laini Taylor, Jacqueline Carey, Elizabeth Bear and more) reading scathing 1-star Amazon reviews for their books aloud. It’s pretty funny. My favourite is the third video. Continue reading

The Special Effects You Don’t See

Image: Barn from The Landing Short Film

Image from the short film The Landing

A fleet of space ships swoops into battle, a dragon flexes its wings, a superhero uses their incredible powers… in films and TV shows, these are the kind of scenes where you’re likely to comment on the amazing (or not so amazing) special effects. Their very nature, as things that don’t exist, will make you more inclined to scrutinise them, and decide whether you are impressed or unimpressed by how they have been brought to life on screen.

What we rarely notice are the copious special effects that re-create real things. Continue reading