Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Blog Watch: Academic Wankery, Rehashed Success, Women’s Renaissances, and Sprawling Fantasy

Writing (Amiecus Curiae) WritersLife Wednesday – Don’t Give Up — “I didn’t get it till yesterday what authors really mean when they say don’t give up.  They mean it’s going to be a slow start, and you can’t expect to launch one thing and have it fly no matter how big your internet platform is.  And that’s okay.  You’re not trying to make money on your first or even your third publication out, especially if they’re short stories.  You’re trying to get your name out there and have some back list for when something does get some buzz so people who like it see you have more than just one thing out and buy those too.”

Comics (Black Gate) Dr. Strange, Part I: Establishing the Mythos: Master of the Mystic Arts in The Lee-Ditko Era — “It also was one of the first (if not the first) year-long run of a story-arc, something very abnormal for the growing Silver Age of Comics. It also cemented the foundation for the Dr. Strange mythos. It knit together a long of the axes of conflict that would be played out for decades between Strange and Dormammu and gave future creators an infinite canvas upon which to play.”

Conventions (CNET) The fascinating stories of the X-Wing extras who were never stars, but were in ‘Star Wars’ — “It’s one of the most interesting things to sit with those guys because there’s a whole range of emotions, it’s like four seasons in a day. If someone comes and talks with them and wants an autograph they’re so good with them and they come alive, they spend a long time talking and telling their stories, and then 10 minutes later people are just ignoring them or just walking past and staring. You can see it in their faces: ‘Why am I here?'”

D&D (Rpg Cartography) Caves of Chaos Map Redux — “I took the classic map of the Caves of Chaos from Gygax (1979) Keep on the Boarderlands and redesigned it to impart more information to the DM.”

Books (Castalia House) The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales — “The book comes out at 266 pages, 6.2 x 9.3 inches, 1.2 pounds. $80.00 for hardcover, $55.49 for kindle. The contents are a mixed bag of academic wankery and sub-genre surveys. My essay covers the evolution of sword and sorcery fiction in Weird Tales which started out as gothic stories with swords and evolved into its classic form due to the influence of H. P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horror. This is the first academic book on Weird Tales that I am aware of.”

SFF Magazines (Sci Phi Journal) Some News and a Request — “I’d like to keep producing it but the financial burden is putting a strain on things. So in the interests of not having to close the magazine down I am considering the following options and would ask readers to consider some of the following options and let me know what you think.”

Hubris (Black Gate) Vintage Treasures: Special Wonder, Volumes 1 & 2, edited by J. Francis McComas — “The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction was founded in 1949 by Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas, who believed science fiction and fantasy could aspire to a literary niche far above the level of the pulp magazines of the 30s and 40s.”

Pink Slime (Black Gate) You Can’t Go Home Again: The Annotated Sword of Shannara: 35th Anniversary Edition by Terry Brooks — “The worst sin that can be laid at The Sword of Shannara’s feet is not Terry Brooks’ fault. It’s not even the del Reys’ fault as they had no idea how successful it would be, nor how powerful the desire for more of the same. The wild success of Sword led directly to the wealth of epic-quest-against-dark-lord series that dominated fantasy fiction for the following twenty years.”

Books (Mad Genius Club) If I’m not awake, please wake me up! — “Traditional publishing is following the path taken by Hollywood. Instead of pushing its ‘successful’ authors to bring out new material, they want the successful work rehashed.”

Journalism (Otherwhere Gazette) A Response to Charles Gannon — “Would you talk to a Homophobic Neo-Nazi that tried to hijack a literary award? How about a racist who married a minority wife and had a child with her to hide his racism? These have actually happened! We know, it was talked about in such serious publications as Salon, Entertainment Weekly, The Daily Beast, The Guardian, and Slate. They had to get their information somewhere. Someone sent this information to them and they should have done due diligence. Otherwise they might not have as much credibility as people thought.”

Books (Monster Hunter Nation) Ask Correia #17: Velocity, Releases, Rankings, and Remainders — “Having fans working at book stores is amazing. Take for example B&N. I’ve been in literally hundreds of B&Ns. In a store where nobody on staff is a fan, I might sell tens of books a year. In a store where I’ve got fans, I sell hundreds. Staff hand selling books to customers makes a huge difference. I’m talking order of magnitude difference. So be nice to your book store employees!”

Dungeon Crawl Classics (Delta’s D&D Hotspot) I’m in DCC — “I think it was the second session where I was leafing through the enormous tome that is the DCC rulebook. There’s an extensive recreation/love letter to the ‘Appendix N’ literature list — apparently Joseph Goodman actually read every single title mentioned there in advance of creating the game. Then this is followed by an ‘Appendix O’ of online resources and blogs — and I was pleasantly surprised and stunned to see that this very blog, Delta’s D&D Hotspot, is included in that listing, as recommended reading.”

Appendix N (Mimsy Were the Borogoves) Women are writing science fiction! — “There have been several women’s renaissances in Science Fiction/Fantasy, and they all seem to forget their predecessors.”

Pink Slime (Cirsova) Everyone is talking about Shannara this week, so I will too — “Following Shannara’s commercial success, the demand for Tolkienian high fantasy was met with a new wave of Brick Fantasy. While most spec-fic had enjoyed popularity in shorter novella formats, publishers saw that the market for multi-inch thick sprawling fantasy trilogies was ripe. Though D&D was not birthed by this maelstrom, it certainly fed into it; by the 80s, spec-fic shelves were filled with trilogies, quadrologies and even sextets of books featuring some combination of guy-with-sword, dwarf, elf, and mythic creature (usually, but not always, a dragon) in some wooded/mountainous/pastoral tableau; by the 90s, everybody was reading Wheel of Time, Dragonlance, Shannara, or Drizzt, and though I saw his name in my friend’s AD&D Deities & Demigods, I never heard anyone actually talk about Fritz Leiber until my late 20s and Vance was just the name that people blamed D&D’s magic system on.”

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