Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pretty Good Forum Out There At LibraryThing


At first glance this weird fiction group at LibraryThing called The Weird Tradition looks useful. The focus is quite narrow but the group is active enough for the given genre. Worth a visit.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fantasy Forum by End of January 2020 -- 3

I have dumped the notion of using Sticky Tweet and Blurb threads. I think it is a good idea if those threads arose naturally but it is against the spirit of a forum to anticipate what might be convenient. It is like the architectural advice when constructing a group of buildings not to guess or force how people will move about but instead to let them walk around for some time making paths on grass before making those paths permanent pavements.

I have made this author timeline which includes all (almost all) the writers who manifest for me the fantastical or irreal in fiction. I will post a full sized version in the General Board but more importantly it is intended to be a model of a timeline for those authors who become reviewed on the forum. That is, the chart will be emptied and built up one by one as members write reviews.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Fantasy Forum by End of January 2020 -- 2


I have decided to go with proboards in the end and have a skeleton forum up. 

There are three 'Forums' – Fantasy/Irreal Fiction, Non-fiction and a General Board. Each of Fantasy/Irreal Fiction and Non-fiction have their own Sticky Thread for Blurbs which are for informal one paragraph comments on a book or author which the commentor does not believe fairly constitute a Review. The General Board has a Sticky Thread for Tweets (eg. I just bought A History of the Vikings by Gwen Jones, I hope it's good, OR, I look to Fantasy fiction for quick and easily absorbed garish thrills; the highfalutin is not for me, OR, I am reading The Hobbit (again) because I am melancholy.)

What exactly is a Review? I don't know yet, I hope it isn't too high an expectation for a forum. In any case the two Review & Review Prompted Discussion forums have been separated and must attract contributors according to merit of the concept. I have never written a Review for a book or for an author I admire but I know I would like to if I thought like-minded people would read it. The model for a Review, if it does not come from your own design, might come from professional reviews you read in magazines or, even better, essays on fiction by writers and critics; only as models remember.

There are two things I need to do first to make the venue palatable. 

What kind of admin am I? The admin who does not want to be an admin is as straightforwardly as I can put it. There are no forums out there which provide a compact place to discuss Fantasy fiction with special interest in the literary, alongside the Icelandic sagas, Homer and so on, and in addition classic works on ancient civilisations and myths which provide the ground for fantastic speculation. As a forum the emphasis I imagine should be on presenting information in the form of credible recommendations and less on cavillatory cheer-mongering. And yet it is a forum for grown-ups not children so if you are easily offended I am not the admin to deal admonishment for your protection.

Secondly, I want material in place to read and look at on the forum, to give a little motivation to become a member. So, I want to post photos of some great Fantasy works in my collection in editions I highly recommend. Im going to post an Author Timeline, beginning with a handful of my favourite authors, which will extensible to include any author for whom a review is written. I feel to I should write a Review of something rather than expect someone else to pen the first one. It is this review which will delay posting a link to the forum.

Any suggestions or questions about the forum on the subjects of structure, tone or content (or anything else) are welcome at this early date.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Fantasy Forum by End of January 2020 - 1

I should have this venue for discussion of Fantasy/Irreal fiction and such related Non-Fiction books as Religion & the Decline of Magic and The Discarded Image, as well as books on myth and ancient civilisations up by the end of January. Hosting costs are about €5 per month which I will maintain for a year before review. I will avoid a generic grand sounding name which would get lost in a google search and resort to something affected but not annoying. As admin I will adopt a clean slate policy at the door and permit adult expression of ideas but as a lazy admin I will dump owners of foolish comments without explanation.

I am open to suggestions on structure which will flex to accommodate early activity, if any. At this moment I am thinking of three sections:
  1. REVIEWS –– Fantasy/Irreal Fiction
  2. REVIEWS –– Non-fiction
In Fantasy/Irreal Fiction Reviews I will put two sticky threads – Tweets and Blurbs, which are not fully fledged reviews. This idea is to make it easy for members to make some kind of comment on a book they are reading or have enjoyed without having to compose a review. A 'Tweet' should be less than 140 characters long (not enforced) or one compact sentence: I bought the 5 vol Nightshade CASmith and find the more I read the less I like him; what once seemed poetic is now cloying. 'Blurbs' are a single paragraph of any reasonable length where members make any comment they wish about a book or author for which a 'Tweet' is insufficient.

'Reviews' are intended to be more substantial and can be viewed as an opportunity to compose and present your thoughts on some work in a place where it will be appreciated. When someone writes a review for a work not previously reviewed he starts a thread:
"Mervyn Peake – Titus Groan – 1946"
Reaction to the work and the review itself continues in the thread, as do subsequent reviews which might be presented without reference to previous discussion.

The Non-fiction Reviews section should work the same way I imagine.

The General section can hold any other kind of discussion. For example, regardless of whether there is any activity on the forum I will use threads here to comment on and post pictures of editions of good books I have which may be worth examining. I have gradually transformed my library from a paperback to a hardback one wherever I could, and I know there are those who enjoy holding impressively illustrated Fantasy books and well designed and constructed books such as produced by The Heritage Press and The Limited Editions Club. Often we are not aware when books we would love to own exist, and can be had for modest prices particularly in the US where postage is not an issue.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Next Post is:– One Hundred Sketch Notes For Empty Planet

My next post, unusually for me, will have no images or maps so I expose the visual and melodious heart of the planet here. I am not an artist by any means but the image I made below is what I look at most often and in combination with this song from a Cassavetes movie I have concocted an incantatory fuel.

Quintessential MP3 for Empty Planet –– Rainy Fields of Frost and Magic
(from – The Killing of a Chinese Bookie)

Click To Enlarge

Sketch Map of Empty Planet
Picture above is at 2
[Scale-Note Affryqq 4]
A-Desert, B-Glacier, C-Ocean, D-Jungle, E-Mountains

Monday, December 8, 2014

Phaa Discovers The Abode of Pri

Kings are under ice no more,
Their thrones kill frost,
High crowns ablaze.
Fools drum on their eyes to drown
The songs of worms-were-men.
In outer dark winds ghosts pray,
'Tombs are doors, we come and go.
Together and alone we find our god' 
Each spirit seeks a second funeral,
Embrace the sun, ... the sun, Amon!


Phaa surveys the half submerged Castle on the rock desert of Empty Planet looking for suggestions of a stair to Aione

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What D&D Magazine Did This Pic Come From

This is one of a handful of AD&D or gaming pictures I really like. I have used it to characterise the Fighter-Assassin type on many occasions. Does anyone recognize it? I assume it came from Dragon or White Dwarf or some other gaming magazine from the late 1980s.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Nine Fantasy Writers have Frequency of Exposure Graphed over Decades

I present a graph below which simply shows the relative frequency with which the nine fantasy writers I have chosen have been mentioned in the vast corpus of books google have examined. This is a result from the Google Books Ngram viewer, a tool which allows someone to investigate shifts in language usage over time but it can be used for simple headcounts too.

Gary Gygax's influence through D&D on the exposure of these writers is undeniable but notice also that D&D did not create a persistent awareness and interest in these writers. It looks to me that as the general wave of interest in old school D&D – OD&D AD&D1e – wanes that writer exposure returns towards the pre-Gygax influenced trend. It is not obvious that this should have happened, when great but neglected writers or composers are rediscovered their new level of exposure usually persists.

To see that these counts are not dominated by references solely within RPG books it should be enough to note that Jack Vance and Mervyn Peake have very similar presences and that Lovecraft is the most frequently mentioned.

To be careful, what is counted here is mentions of the writers names in books and not directly, but likely indirectly, a measure of the extent to which these writers were being read.

One cool thing about these Ngram graphs is that you can hover over an author to see his curve more clearly.

[Added to make a point in the comments:]


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

My First Podcast About My Fantasy Literature Forum

It's five minutes long and kinda dumb.

Fantasy Literature Forum Podcast #1

I hope to do a better podcast next week or maybe it will be exactly the same as it was fun to do.


[Edit: Have changed file storage to dropbox Thurs 25]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...