Summer of Conan: The Robert Jordan Pastiches

Tor asked Robert Jordan to write Conan novels on the basis of a book he sold several times but never published titled Warriors of the Altaii.  In explaining why Warriors of the Altaii was never published, Jordan’s editor and widow Harriet McDougal compared it to the Gor books.  Jordan also published seven Conan novels in three years, edited several Conan novels, put together a chronology of Conan stories, then went on to publish over fifteen years twelve Wheel of Time novels averaging over 800 pages each.  He was a little busy to rewrite Warriors of the Altaii is what I’m saying.

Harriet described Warriors of Altaii as “muscular fantasy.”  Considering Robert E. Howard’s Conan tales, the (non-Conan) sword and sorcery of L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter that I’ve read, and the Tor Conan pastiches, I think it fair to say they represent three distinct sub-genres: weird fiction, sword and sorcery, and muscular fantasy.

Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Throwback SF Thursday | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Short Review Roundup – Movie Edition

I don’t watch many movies, but I’ve been doing alright lately.  And not just King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.  I caught Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 in the theater.  You can blame my wife for Big, JimFear138 for In the Name of the King, gitabushi for Orcs!, and my misspent youth for Lost Boys.


Continue reading

Posted in Sundry | Tagged | 4 Comments

Game of Thrones Recap: Season 7, Episode 5

After one of the best episodes of the entire series, are we in for a letdown with a slow episode tonight?  I think not.  I’m hoping for some White Walkers.  Maybe even, if we get really lucky, a dire wolf.

Scheduling update: I will be traveling next weekend and won’t be able to watch the show live.  My recap will go up later that week (maybe Wednesday, but probably not until Friday).

Spoilers are a ladder.

Continue reading

Posted in Fantasy, Sundry | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Summer of Conan: The Next Conan Movie Should Look More Like Mad Max

We deserve another Conan movie.  One that is more 1982 Conan the Barbarian and less Conan the Destroyer or 2011 Conan the Barbarian.  (I posted short reviews of the three Conan movies last week.)

Making a good Conan movie brings certain challenges.  Not the least of which is the difficulty of finding an actor who can credibly portray a character as physically imposing, athletic, and charismatic as Conan, and the difficulty of finding a director/writer remotely as unconventional and brilliant as Robert E. Howard.  But I am specifically referring to what I call the “Stump Problem.”  Rick Stump lays it out, and says a great bit more, in this blog post.  The gist of what I am concerned with is that the 1982 and 2011 movies are origin stories that revolve around Conan avenging the killing of his parents; this is both non-Conanical and hurts the prospects of future movies (if Conan has achieved his life’s purpose, why do we care anymore?).[1]  Everything must be personal.

This is a particular problem for a couple reasons.  The first is that the 1982 movie looms large over any adaptation of Conan.  It is that movie, and not the original Howard stories, that did the most to fix the image of Conan in the mind of today’s movie viewer.  The second is that contemporary movies are simply obsessed with origin stories and making it “personal.”  The modern superhero boom brings with it a weird obsession with origin stories.  A large chunk of the MCU movies are origin stories.  It gave us a Spider-Man origin story just ten years after we got a (very successful) Spider-Man origin story.  Continue reading

Posted in Fantasy, Sundry, Throwback SF Thursday | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

DNF Review of Hex-Rated by Jason Ridler

I had to request an ARC of Hex-Rated as soon as I saw the cover.  The snake, the woman tied to a post, the guy in a cheap blue suit, the font of the title…it’s a little lurid, it’s got a lot of style, everything screaming one of those cheap little paperbacks you find at the used bookstore.

Sadly, Hex-Rated just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.

I don’t DNF many books, but I have a stack of ARCs waiting to be read, not to mention Conan pastiches.  One of those books, Age of Assassins, is excellent and shared a release date.  My issues with Hex-Rated are worth explaining at some length, though, and I do so below.

Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Game of Thrones Recap: Season 7, Episode 4

Last week saw major setbacks for the good guys.  Will the losses continue?  Will reversals come?  Will things slow down this week after the big events from last week?

Spoilers are Coming.

Continue reading

Posted in Fantasy, Sundry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Big Read: The Dark Tower Movie

After a short hiatus, the Dark Tower Big Read returns!  As more of a Big Watch, really, since this post is a review of the Dark Tower movie.  I only made it through two of the books before the movie hit theaters, but the movie appears to bear scant resemblance to the books.  That’s ok!  It is also awful.  That is not ok!

(You can find all of my Big Read posts here.)

Continue reading

Posted in Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Sundry | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments