Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
 

Practical Magic

Review

 
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
 

The Man in the High Castle

Review

 
Empire of the Dead by Phil Tucker
 

Empire of the Dead

Review

 

Browsing all articles tagged with history.

A Streak of White Hair: Fantasy or Reality?

A Streak of White Hair: Fantasy or Reality? 

I was recently reading a fantasy romance novel where the main character pushed himself to the limits of his magical abilities and nearly died. Afterward, he was left with a streak of white in his long black hair (if you don’t mind spoilers, this is the book). I’ve seen this before many times in fantasy, […]

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A Fantasy Geek’s Guide to YouTube: Mythology

A Fantasy Geek’s Guide to YouTube: Mythology 

YouTube is an app, a website and a cultural phenomenon. It’s also a vast and only partially explored wilderness full of content that ranges from dynamic to dire. Whatever your interests are, there’s probably at least one channel out there for you. But managing to dig out the channels that cater to your own SFF […]

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Trees in Fantasy – Part One: Trees as Symbols

Trees in Fantasy – Part One: Trees as Symbols 

Magic in fantasy, myth and legend usually occurs as a natural phenomenon, with its own place in the world of the story outside of what is created by mankind and civilisation. The connection between magic and nature has been a common theme in fantastical tales since the earliest days of storytelling. Trees, both individually and […]

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Worlds Within Worlds – Part Five: Qi and Fantasy

Worlds Within Worlds – Part Five: Qi and Fantasy 

Most people associate magic with strange symbols, chanting, and waving a wand around. Dusty books are usually in the picture, along with ritual circles or sacrifices. The mages themselves are usually old men with grey beards—frail but knowledgeable. I’ve already written about them. Compare that kind of magic and mage to qigong and (arguably) its […]

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Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost – What Does It Mean?

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost – What Does It Mean? 

When Lord of the Rings enthusiasts are not burning wedding bands in fiery pits in their backyard—checking for Black Speech inscriptions—they are frequently found uttering the clever sayings of their favorite fantasy author. Who can blame them? Tolkien, a philologist by trade, is known for many wondrous, existential musings. Yet one proverb is clearly quoted […]

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Worlds Within Worlds – Part Four: Old Grey Beards

Worlds Within Worlds – Part Four: Old Grey Beards 

If you ask someone on the street to name the first three wizards that come to mind, you’ll probably hear the names Gandalf, Merlin, and Dumbledore (or Rincewind, if they’re trying to be clever). The image of the white-bearded old man with a staff is woven into modern fantasy, to the point that Pratchett filled […]

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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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Science Fiction: Asking The Questions Of The Day

Science Fiction: Asking The Questions Of The Day 

There are few genres in all of entertainment that are more sculpted by the times they are written in than science fiction. From its earliest beginnings, sci-fi has been about asking questions. What will humans eventually evolve into? At what point will humanity’s drive to invent give birth to a new lifeform? Which accent is […]

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Gender and Stereotyping in Fantasy – Part Six: Historical Accuracy

Gender and Stereotyping in Fantasy – Part Six: Historical Accuracy 

This final part of our extended series on gender and stereotypes in fantasy and science fiction will be both a conclusion and a sweeping reflection on what we’ve already examined, but in the context of that one thing many who fail to see the lack importance (and, indeed, those who oppose diverse and inclusive representation […]

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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson: Or…A Search For Heroes

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson: Or…A Search For Heroes 

Everyone has a book in them. At least, that’s what they say. I’m not sure who they are, but it is a truism as much as anything else. What if you want to write more than one? Where do you get ideas from? What is your inspiration or muse? I’ve no idea. It is a […]

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Vampires: Origins, Evolution, and Role in Fantasy Fiction

Vampires: Origins, Evolution, and Role in Fantasy Fiction 

The vampire: a figure whose folklore origins date back as far as the cradle of civilisation, is one of the major mythic figures bequeathed to us by the English Romantics. Tracing the vampire’s timeline back through folklore we are presented with either twisted, ghoulesque apparitions, or dishevelled corpses that more resemble the zombies and mummies […]

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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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