Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
 

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

Film Review

 
The Gemmell Awards for Fantasy: Shortlist 2017
 

Gemmell Awards 2017

Shortlist Announcement

 
A Perfect Blend: The Seven by Peter Newman
 

The Seven

Review

 

Browsing all articles by Nicola Alter.

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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When Good Turns Bad: The Reversed Hero’s Journey

When Good Turns Bad: The Reversed Hero’s Journey 

The typical “hero’s journey” is a structure that can be found not only in fantasy fiction but also in many other genres. You can analyse the twists and turns of this journey in great detail – even break it down into archetypal elements like ‘the mentor’, ‘the helper’ and ‘the threshold’. In essence, however, the […]

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Berserkers In Fantasy

Berserkers In Fantasy 

In fantasy, we see a lot of magicians, shape-shifters, werewolves and all manner of humanoid characters with supernatural qualities. One type of powerful character that crops up more rarely, however, is the berserker. A “berserker” is someone liable to be overcome by rage – a rage that sends them into a violent, frenzied state, temporarily […]

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Trying Out Science Fiction: A Guide for Fantasy Purists

Trying Out Science Fiction: A Guide for Fantasy Purists 

Are you a reader who sticks purely to fantasy and looks suspiciously at the science fiction side of the shelf in the bookstore? Perhaps you’ve thought about trying out some sci-fi, but the prospect of spaceships and alien races just doesn’t seem appealing. Or you have tried some and been turned off. You might still […]

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