What a week. One of the low points was the discovery that Clarkesworld magazine has temporarily halted short story submissions due to an overwhelming influx of fake content generated by AI tools. Clarkesworld is one of the venues where I was planning to submit a work of mine, so needless to say, I'm ticked at … Continue reading On Writing, ChatGPT, Harry Potter, and Evil Equity Language
Writing Inspiration: Ancient Bath Ruins and Why Roman Baths Disappeared
The other day I saw some paintings of ancient baths which got my imagination going. The scale of the architecture has almost a mythical quality. There are traces here of the capricci style, which has a special place in my heart. Hubert Robert, “Ruins of a Roman Bath with Washerwomen”. Source: Hyperallergic.com. Hubert Robert, "Ancient … Continue reading Writing Inspiration: Ancient Bath Ruins and Why Roman Baths Disappeared
Writing Inspiration: Weird Gardenscapes
I came across the following image in a book review of the recently-published English Garden Eccentrics. Source: The Critic.co.uk With the open cloudy sky and the grassy pasture jutting up against a wide plane of glacier-like rock formations and distant mountains, it strikes me as something out of a fantasy novel. I don't know exactly … Continue reading Writing Inspiration: Weird Gardenscapes
Book Review: ‘Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth’
There are times in life when you meet nerdy enthusiasts whose speech and mannerisms make you promise to never stoop to such depths of nerdy obsession yourself---only to later realize you merely needed the right book to pull you in. This is what happened to me when I first read The Lord of the Rings … Continue reading Book Review: ‘Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth’
Living in Tolkien’s Groundhog Day
A journey through the Old Forest looks totally different from my day-to-day existence. Yet this passage from Tolkien is a pretty apt description of what I found life to be like in 2020, and continues to be like in 2021---a description that resonates more deeply with me than the Groundhog Day metaphor.
On Vengeance and Fantasy Fiction
Vengeance is a common theme in fantasy fiction, and it is striking how well certain FF authors tell the truth about what a messy business it is. Are there parallels one could draw to life in America today? I think so. We live in a society where social media offers a robust and pervasive platform for condemning evil people but no framework for forgiving them even when they repent.
What Every Writer Wants: Update June 4, 2019
It's quite simple, really: A public pension, encouragement to keep going, and assurance that not all the stories worth telling have been told.
On Familiars, Fauns, and Tattoos
In the fictional world I've been building for my novel, there are semi-spiritual beings called syven (a Siberian term for "helping spirits" or familiars) that can be bound to a person's tattoo and later summoned in need. Here's how I imagine they look.
Book Review: If You Like Magic and Jane Austen, You Need to Read ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell’
Susanna Clarke's 'Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell' is no mere fantasy mixed with historical realism. Each page seeps with clever wit, raising poignant questions about our modern relationship with the Otherworldly.
Evil Has Every Advantage But One
A famous poet and an English critic read 'The Lord of the Rings' and had surprisingly similar things to say about the function of imagination.