Tag: Fantasy

Every Heart a Doorway [Review]

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire Tor Books, 2016 Every Heart a Doorway is a book that spans genres. It’s part YA, part horror, part old-timey Portal fantasy, and part magical boarding school fantasy, with a dollop of LGBTQ. It’s disturbing, in ways both unintentional and obvious. It won a Nebula award, yet could …

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The Lady and the Dragon, Part V

Women-as-dragon, as a concept, has been around since ancient times. In Greek myth creatures like Scylla, Echidna, and Medusa had monstrous or dragon-like aspects, as did Grendel’s mom from Beowulf. Norse myth spoke of the dragon Nidhogg that gnawed at the roots of the World Tree Yggdrasil. And of course, there’s Lilith and Tanit/Inanana/Ishtar. They …

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The Lady and the Dragon, Part IV

Portrayals of women with dragons continued to rise throughout the 1970s, boosted by the rising genre of adult comics, forerunners to today’s graphic novels.  The French magazine Metal Hurlant (Howling Metal) showcased many of these new artists like Caza, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Moebius, who later went on to design book covers and movie and TV …

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The Lady and the Dragon, Part III

Before the printing press and paper production on an industrial scale, there were very few mass-produced dragon depictions in popular culture. Most of the ones I referenced in Parts I and II of this series were oil paintings intended for the nobility or wealthy merchants, or in illuminated manuscripts for the Church. The majority of …

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The Lady and the Dragon, Part II

As I pointed out in The Lady and the Dragon I, dragons in Christianity are usually accompanied by women, not men. Here’s three more examples. A common depiction of Mary, Mother of God, shows her trampling a snake (keep in mind snake=dragon in Biblical text) underfoot, representing her victory over the Devil, or over evil …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 9/19/18: Individual Dragons III

The earliest edition of  Dungeons and Dragons released in the late 1970s listed only ten different types of dragons for adventurers to test themselves against. The good-aligned ones were Metallic: Copper, Brass, Bronze, Silver, and Gold, while the evil ones were Chromatic and named after colors: Black, White, Blue, Red, and Green. Each type had …

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Devastatingly Draconian

Portrait of a very wicked lady.  

Worldbuilding Wednesday 8/29/18: Kajira

Kajira is the term used for the eternally youthful, eternally hapless, eternally helpless slave girls found in John Norman’s Gor series. Gor, for those not in the know, is a Conanesque  planet superficially similar to Earth and sharing the same orbit, but on the opposite side of the sun so it remains undiscovered.  The first …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 8/15/18: A Few Noble Families

Here’s something a little different, a set of randomly generated noble families (with a little tweaking) for use in a roleplaying game or as story background. I find that when these disparate elements are put together, the story or adventure may practically write itself. What would happen, for example, if Vylen Lemugia returns home and …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 8/8/18: Heraldry

  Crests of modern cities in Germany. Top row, left to right: Stuttgart, Nurnberg, Tubingen. Middle row: Atzelgift, Honigsee, Nachtsheim. Bottom row: Falkenfels, Trechtingshausen, Flogeln. The production designers for George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones TV series have done a smashup job creating a fantasy world like Medieval Europe (in spite of those ice-zombies …

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