Worlds Within Worlds – Part Three: Old Grey Beards
 

Worlds Within Worlds

Part Three: Old Grey Beards

 
Games Wizards Play by Diane Duane
 

Games Wizards Play

Review

 
The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams
 

The Witchwood Crown

Review

 

Browsing all articles by Nicola Alter.

The Pros and Cons of a Macro Timescale

The Pros and Cons of a Macro Timescale 

Most fantasy and science fiction series tend to be, by their very nature, large in scope. We expect stories about the fate of worlds, the rise and fall of empires, and history in the making. A book might still focus on a character’s personal, small-scale struggle, but it’s rare the focus will only be on […]

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Top 10 Things To Do in a Fictional Castle

Top 10 Things To Do in a Fictional Castle 

For those of us who like a touch of the magical and the medieval, nothing quite beats a visit to a fictional castle. But with all those trap doors, winding passageways, and changeable stairs, it’s hard to know where to start and how to make the most of your time. Yes, you may already have […]

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Plot Twists That Defy Genre Expectations

Plot Twists That Defy Genre Expectations 

Most of us love a good plot twist. We’re always trying to predict where a narrative is headed, but we’re usually thrilled when it takes an unexpected turn, surprises us, and makes us re-evaluate the assumptions we’ve made about the characters and the story. However, some of these sudden turns knock the wind out of us more than others, because […]

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2016 Aurealis Award Winners

2016 Aurealis Award Winners 

The winners of the 2016 Aurealis Awards were announced on Friday as part of the Swancon Convention in Perth, Australia. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners! For those who don’t know them, the Aurealis Awards are the leading speculative fiction awards in Australia, and have been recognising the works of fantasy, science fiction and […]

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When Characters Shed Names

When Characters Shed Names 

We real-world folks can get very attached to our names. Most of us only change them when we get married or divorced, convert to a new religion, or arrive in a new country. Even then, such changes often only alter part of our name, such as the family name, or the way it is pronounced. […]

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Is Winter In Fantasy Always Evil?

Is Winter In Fantasy Always Evil? 

Winter is often seen as the dark and unwelcome season, and understandably so—if you live far enough from the equator it can mean longer nights, cold temperatures, icy conditions, grey gardens and leafless trees. It can be particularly harsh if you don’t have a warm home to retreat to. But the season is not without […]

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Is Violence In Fantasy Less Confronting?

Is Violence In Fantasy Less Confronting? 

The fantasy genre is no stranger to violence. High fantasies are known for their epic battles, sword fights, warrior heroes, merciless villains and clashing forces of good and evil. Many low fantasies are populated by supernatural beings hungry for blood or conquest. While not all stories involve a multitude of violent scenes, it’s a rare […]

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Why Aliens Look Like Octopuses

Why Aliens Look Like Octopuses 

Have you ever noticed that extra-terrestrials in most “aliens-make-contact” science fiction usually resemble octopuses, squids, or other cephalopods? At least, when they don’t just look like humans in Halloween masks or cheap make up. Arrival, Independence Day, War of the Worlds, The Simpsons… the list goes on. The default non-humanoid aliens seem to always have […]

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Potions, Alchemy, & Apothecaries: Inspirations from the Real World

Potions, Alchemy, & Apothecaries: Inspirations from the Real World 

A witch hunched over a bubbling cauldron; a reclusive alchemist searching for the secret to eternal life; a hooded figure procuring a poison from a shady apothecary… While these are classic images from fantasy and storytelling, they are rooted in history. People tried as witches often “confessed” to making potions and salves that caused others […]

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Havens And Hells In Fantasy

Havens And Hells In Fantasy 

When we talk about how we feel when reading we often refer to characters or plot. We vent about a villain we hate or gush about a hero we love. A devastating turn of events or an amazing plot twist might prompt us to express how moved we were. When it comes to setting, however, […]

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Why Are The Worlds of Fantasy Romances So Grim?

Why Are The Worlds of Fantasy Romances So Grim? 

The genre of high fantasy romance (sometimes simply called fantasy romance), offers what its title suggests. You can expect elements of epic high fantasy: invented worlds, fantasy creatures, magic, royalty, great forces of evil to defeat. You can also expect a focus on romance, love, sex and sexual attraction. However, if you read a lot […]

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The Last of a Kind: Extinction in Fantasy

The Last of a Kind: Extinction in Fantasy 

We often hear about extinction in the real world – whether it’s a dodo that’s already died out, a rhinoceros that’s on the brink of extinction, a bluefin tuna that’s well on its way there, or more rarely, a Bermuda petrel that provides a glimmer of hope, reappearing after years of being thought extinct. The […]

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