Fantastic Folks 2: Elves

Last week we had a look at the tropes associated with dwarves in fantasy writing. We could not, therefore, go any further without looking at their counterparts and occasional rivals, elves. Tree Huggers Although the depiction of dwarves in modern media has been greatly influenced by Tolkien, he practically re-invented elves. Before Tolkien, the elf…

Fantastic Folks 1: Dwarves

The tropes associated with fantasy races/cultures are, it must needs be remarked, somewhat tired. Despite the occasional kick up the backside that they receive, the general trend in fantasy seems to be repackaging of the same old ideas, rather than the creation of new ideas. Some of this repackaging is good, and some of it…

World-Building Recommendations

Between blogging, my various jobs, and the general grind of the season, I am afraid that I have no world-building thoughts to share this week. Rather than scrape together something underwhelming, though, I thought I might try something a little different and recommend a few sources which show a variety of forms of world-building which…

Writing Divinity

Spoilers for Divinity (computer game franchise). Whilst the denizens of the Internet are collectively baying for Baldur's Gate 3 to be released at long last, I have been replaying Larian's other darling, Divinity: Original Sin II (D:OSII), with a friend. I did not play the original, but have been reassured that, much like penny-farthings and…

Writing Death Stranding

Spoilers for Death Stranding (interactive software experience) and Metroid: Other M (base breaker). BB's Delivery Service invites the player/viewer to journey with the protagonist, Boromir Bridges, as he is chased across the territory of the former United States of Alleged'merica by the ghost of Caprica Six, so he can plug a nuclear baby into a…

Writing Angel Mage

Spoilers for Angel Mage (novel). I first spotted Angel Mage when, on the recommendation of a friend, I resolved to pick up a copy of Gormenghast. The cover was slick and striking (black and gold will do that), and at the top, over the words Angel Mage, stood Joe Abercrombie's words of adulation, 'The most…

Writing The Wheel of Time

Spoilers for The Wheel of Time (books series and upcoming television series) and Dune (pan-media franchise). N.B. In this article, I will be using various potentially contentious words, including sexism and sexist, in a general, even colloquial, sense, rather than the highly technical and narrow senses used in certain academic disciplines. That should probably give…

Writing Warcraft

Spoilers for Warcraft (computer game franchise and great big cash cow). Thanks to Russell (of "giant magical spider" fame) for the idea. In retrospect, Blizzard naming a sapient creature 'Thrall' should probably have been a warning sign. ('Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos', promotional material) Back in 2002, Blizzard released Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (henceforth…

Writing XCOM

Spoilers for X-COM and XCOM (rebooted game franchise). This week, proving that tactical science-fiction games can do it as well as fantasy adventure games, we take a look at the rebooted XCOM franchise, which seems to have caught on to Link's cunning plan, and has recently reinvented/rebooted/re-realized its mythos for the nth time in the…

Writing The Legend of Zelda, part 3

Spoilers for The Legend of Zelda (game series) and Game Theory (Web-based series). This time, there's a reason for Link's unrelenting, haunted gaze.(The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask - promotional material via IMDB ) After the epic, bittersweet conclusion of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, Nintendo decided it was time to branch…