Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Shadows of a Fading World

My latest S&S tale is now available in Shadows of a Fading World here

Ages pass. Civilizations fall. Strange magics arise. New stories emerge. From H.G. Well's "The Time Machine," to Clark Ashton Smith's "Zothique," to Jack Vance's "The Dying Earth,' readers have thrilled to stories set at the decline of civilization, or far beyond.

Long Count Press presents seven original tales of sword and sorcery set in the aftermath of dead or dying worlds, by authors Ian Creasy - Digging for Paradise, Robin Wyatt Dunn - Fire Dancer, Rhonda Eikamp - Severance, Christine Frost - Moonfall, Neal F. Litherland - Paths of Iron and Blood, Micheal Mina - The Myroblyte, and David J. West - The Serpent's Root

My tale is an adventure set in and outside and ancient city where the cure may be as deadly as the disease. Surprise twists abound and I hope you enjoy this tale of Saphir the thief.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


47 Ronin, directed by Carl Rinsch


47 Ronin, translated by A.B. Mitford

I watched the movie a couple weeks ago and meant to post a review sooner, but I also just finished reading the original translation this morning and I suppose appreciation for one is stronger with the other.

The premise for the movie remains the same as the original, though Hollywood turned the film into a mythic-fantasy. I will say that at least the theme was overall Japanese = the shape shifting witch, the Tengu, and some psuedo-Oni type beast. I was glad that the film had overall a Japanese cast (excepting Keanu) and that it did remain true to the honor code of the Ronin by keeping the Seppuku (ritual suicide) intact for all necessary characters.

My favorite character was played by Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai, The Wolverine) as Oishi,
who was the lead Samurai of Lord Asano Naganori. After sorcerous treachery forces Lord Asano to commit Seppuku - Oishi regroups Asano's exiled Samurai - now become masterless Samurai or Ronin, including Kai (Keanu Reeves) who is a strange half-breed loyal to the betrayed Lord Asano.

Kai is a runaway from the Tengu (one of my all time most visited blog posts) and as such is capable of bringing some extra special presence to the Ronin's cause. I found Keanu the weakest thing about the movie but I digress, I did honestly really enjoy the film. There is a slight romance between Kai and Lord Asano's daughter but everything - including the sorcery and spectacular fight scenes take a back seat to this being about honor.

For the Samurai honor is everything and this movie didn't wimp out with a non-traditional ending to the original tale, it stayed true enough to that vision of the sacred 47 Ronin. I kinda wish that they had kept the original method of Oishi fooling the enemy Lord, but that might not have translated very well to an American audience.

Either way, this was one of my favorite films I've seen in the theater in a long time. Oh and one more thing I got a kick out of as I watched the closing credits. There was a massive bad Samurai champion, (he never spoke but was simply a juggernaut facing the Ronin) he was credited as the Lovecraftian Samurai I had to check out the actor on turns out the guy is the U.K.'s tallest man. He is 7 foot seven and a half. He was sorcerous in nature in the film but I couldn't really say what made him Lovecraftian.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Read Somewhat Lately

As you loyal readers know I've had a down and out year of gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth (love) in any case I'm putting forth a renewed effort to be around and keep up some useful if not entertaining content.

The Hammer and the Blade, by Paul S. Kemp

I thought this was great and am very pleased to note that Mr. Kemp has recently announced here that he will be doing at least 2 more collections of Egil and Nix.

This harkens back to the days of Sword and Sorcery novels being quick action romps before the days of the long convoluted multi-character epic fantasy phone books.

In any case, Egil and Nix are out for that big score, and what happens next has repercussions throughout the novel with sinister sorceries nipping at their heels for revenge.

I liked the magic in this (powerful but at a terrible cost) and I enjoy Kemp's action prose. I will get the next in the series reasonably soon.

Gardens of the Moon, by Steven Erickson

 And just as I finish singing the praises of the standalone small roster of character novels I begin on one of the BIG ONES! Steven Erikson (and Ian C. Esselmont's) Malazan Books of the Fallen.
This has a ridiculously huge cast of characters with enormous far reaching points of view and plotlines spanning the globe. Like the Illiad and Odyssey we have some Gods or at least Demi-gods interfering with human plans and wars, we see the two sides of warring nations and even the intersecting allegiances within one army.

It seems that Erkison has a flair for many characters and I applaud him for it, they all have depth and feeling and even a small aside is important. It can fly in the face of the reader who always wants to be with their favorite and I can't recommend this for those readers who need the intimacy of a small cast but if you are in the mood for such I truly enjoyed this. Much more so than Jordan's Wheel of Time, and almost on par with Martin's Song of Fire and Ice.

I will start on the next in the cycle (or even a prequel of Esselmont's) soon.
Savage Wolverine: Kill Island, by Frank Cho

I've been a big fan of Wolverine since day one, and a fan of Frank Cho's art for ages as well, though this is the first time I've actually read one of his stories.

Let me start by saying Cho's art is fantastic as usual, always visceral and sensual he really mixes what is so appealing about the comic as medium. When it comes to storytelling I can't say he is as strong, I was lost a few times with one of the POV characters within the arc, but that could be my own fault for falling out with regular Marvel reading the last few years.

I did enjoy the idea of a savage new island within the Savage Land, a Cthulhu type alien held in stasis, and the revolving story of Wolverine and Shanna therein. It did open up for a continuing storyline and I'll have to look for that to see how things continue. So I suppose it did hold me enough to continue with Cho's writing as well.

 Avengers Prime, by Brian Michael Bendis, Alan Davis

Bendis got me back into the Avengers back when Marvel relaunched New Avengers around 10 years ago. Since then the team had some great story-lines and even a Civil War that really tore at the Iron Man/Captain America bond.
Avengers Prime is largely about them getting that bond back via becoming powerless in a shattered Asgard with Thor.

If there is one kind of storyline that appeals to me in comics it is when your super hero loses his superpower - for example best run of Wolverine ever???
{When Magneto pulled out his adamantium and he lost his healing factor and all his enemies came gunning for him. Wolverine #75 - #100+ by Larry Hama}

So I loved seeing Iron Man doing his best smart alecky self without the suit, Thor without his hammer, and Cap with a sword AND shield!
Nothing brings a team back together like something so desperate and perilous.
And its neat to see even old foes like Enchantress lending a helping hand against the forces of Hel. Great book.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

REH 108 Years: A Perfectly CROMulent Birthday

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite writers - Robert E. Howard

He would be 108.
I had forgotten it was his birthday til a moment ago but was actually listening to my audiobook of "People of the Black Circle" whilst taking the kids to school.

Weird Tales Magazine, the original publication of many of his best stories, posted a great tribute with loads of sword swinging art and several of REH's poems this morning  here. 

and a final thought...

I cannot express enough how much moving to LA just barely makes me feel this way ~

“Barbarianism is the natural state of mankind. Civilization is unnatural. It is the whim of circumstance. And barbarianism must ultimately triumph”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Still Alive...

I'm still here, just been too distracted getting married and moving to do much on the old blog, but as I get back into the groove of being married and such, I expect to be able to record my writerly progress and thoughts and be apart of the interwebz that I have enjoyed with all of you so much.