Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

When fantasy novelists begin to develop new lands, characters and cultures is there a voice that is associated? As an avid reader, part of the enjoyment of escaping to a different land is forming the people that live there…and this typically includes an accent or dialect for a particular group. A good author can set a foundation for the unusual and interesting, but I also pick up on certain clues about a race or region that help to influence the way they speak.

However, it seems accepted for newly imagined lands to adopt accents commonly associated with the British Isles in the mundane world when pen and ink are given life on the screen.  I thought I would toss out a few of my silly imaginings.

Game of Thrones character Ygritte is from Beyond the Wall and  frequently says “You know nothing, Jon Snow” in the actress’s Scotish dialect. But what if Ygritte’s people sounded more like my family in Canada: “Jon Snow, towel off ya hoser.”

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Prim and proper android C3PO was built by an 8 year old slave on a desert planet; pieced together by scraps of trash. I really just don’t think he would have received his voice box coding from Prince Henry. I would expect something a little more vulgar and course…more Klingon! Wouldn’t that be funny? A Star Wars droid with a Klingon speech pattern. “Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.” Would be more like “Nerf-herder! You’re going to kill us all!”

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What about a village full of loud and proud Boston Hobbits like Frodo at Bilbo’s party exclaiming “This pahty’s a wicked pissa!”

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How likely is it that you walk through a magic closet and all the weird and new creatures you meet talk the same way you do? Probably not very…i mean what can those odds really be…in real life…. Anyway, what if these British kids in Chronicle of Narnis walk through a magic closet to maybe some Rastafari shouting at them.

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OK, this isn’t even a fantasy.…this is a REAL place and STILL with the accent! Why? Just…why?

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Well, these are just a few of my thoughts. Do you have any?

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A successful female military commander, a queen desperate to help her people, and magical lands. How could I possibly pass this up? Oh but I wish I had. I really wanted to enjoy this journey, I tried and tried but I frequently found myself thinking about the laundry or dishes that needed doing. So, I made it halfway before deciding I needed to move on.

I really could have enjoyed the story, but the storytelling lacked focus and polish. From poorly constructed sentences to incorrect vocabulary, Natasha Hellenthal needs to enlist the aide of a trusted beta-reader. Someone who can be critical and supportive, honest and constructive. I am very impressed with several original ideas, and feel this story has great potential with some work.

A guilty pleasure of mine is watching cheesy movies on SyFy. (There is nothing better on a hot Texas summer day than sitting in the air conditioning watching Debbie Gibson and Tiffany fight while giant pythons and alligators eat people.) I kept trying to picture this book as one of those horribly written movies with awful acting and corny computer graphics. But as the hours dragged into days I had to let it go.

I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic movies like Mad Max, The Postman, and Waterworld. I find the genre fascinating and exciting; survival tactics, ingenuity, and determination. In these settings, there is no place for the weak or timid, but being strong doesn’t have to mean total domination; enter the “reluctant hero”.

In “The Gunfighter & The Gear-Head”, Cassandra Duffy has skillfully blended lizard aliens, wild-west gun fights, steam-punk blimps, cults, and lesbian romance drama into an exciting adventure using wit and well developed persons and places. Provided glimpses into their lives pre-invasion, the reader is able to connect with the characters as real people and become invested in their survival post-invasion.

Cassandra has a sarcastic sense of humor that translates well to her characters. “If I get lynched for being a scientist, Buddhist, lesbian, witch, don’t blame me.” Being able to successfully capture so many aspects of humanity is a rare talent, especially in the lesbian genre. I look forward to many more stories from this author.

We had a relaxing trip to Barnes and Noble the other day.  Sat in their fluffy chairs, sipped coffee and read.  I am very fond of these trips. A whole store of unreleased characters at my finger tips! Anyway, on this particular relaxing trip I picked up Debt of Bones and read it in the 2 hours we were there. So it’s obviously fairly short, but very interesting to those Sword of Truth lovers out there.

Debt of Bones is a prequel novella to Terry Brooks’ Sword of Truth series.  As with most prequels, it is necessary to have at least begun the series before reading this story to understand the importance of the events taking place.  In this case, Debt of Bones takes a critical historical event discussed throughout the Sword of Truth, and tells the story how The Boundary was created and a nation saved. A generation before The Wizard’s First Rule begins, a young First Wizard Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander is on the brink of losing The Midlands to the swarms of D’Haran soldiers and evils conjured by Panis Rahl.  With fewer and fewer options available, he convinces the council that it is time to invoke the spell he uncovered that will breach the barrier between the underworld and the living world, thus creating The Boundary between D’Hara and the Midlands, and between the Midlands and Westland.  When a woman requests to see him in the Wizard’s Keep, she reveals the skull of her mother which carries with it the Debt of Bones, which passed from Zed’s father to him and from her mother to her.  Invoking the debt, she insists Zed help her get her captured family back from the D’Haran camp. Fulfilling the debt, Zed goes with her, risking betrayal and capture.

I love these types of prequels: novellas that take a particular character or event from a larger series and give life to that story.  New Spring from the Wheel of Time series is another fabulous example.  Long running series often have history and characters that are briefly mentioned, but I would love to know more about.  In the Sword of Truth series, the erection of The Boundaries was a pivotal moment in the history of the story.  Another Sword of Truth novella I would love to read would contain Adie’s story. What was her life like?

Who’s story would you like to know more about?

In my pre-teen years, when I began making reading choices for myself, I found, in the school library, several books by Piers Anthony.  I’m sure there were lots of great authors that could have brought me into the fantasy genre family, but Anthony was an ‘A’ and so was at the beginning of the section.  I ate those novels up.  I couldn’t get enough.  He was funny, on levels that I didn’t even understand at the time.  He was creative.  And every story had a moral, which a pre- and young-teen always needs.  I continued to read Piers Anthony’s Xanth novels into my teenage years but then began to grow out of them.  I moved on to other authors. Other genres.

A few weeks ago I stumbled across “Heaven Cent” in a bargain bin and just stood there holding it and grinning.  So I got it and read it.  As an adult reading another Xanth novel, I am able to appreciate even more of the humor, the puns, and Anthony’s use of allegory throughout.  I found myself grinning and wondering what it would be like to reread all of those Xanth books I read growing up.

Xanth novels don’t have to be read in sequence, each gives you enough history pertinent to that particular story.  So even after not having picked up a Piers Anthony book in nearly 15 years it was as if I had never left the mysteriously magical land of Xanth.  With titles such as “Night Mare”, “Isle of View” (sounding like I love you, causing great confusion throughout many stories), and “Faun and Games”, it’s apparent what the reader is in for. And “Heaven Cent” is no different.