I can see where there would be a certain resonance perceived with Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, since the road to the land of the fairies in Phantastes also passes through a piece of old furniture, in this case a desk.
This is your spoiler warning. If you haven't already read both parts of Blood and Dragons, I do not suggest that you read this post.
As you hopefully saw in our recent weekly writing update, I finally finished the first draft of Verdon's Tragedy, a side story set in the Fo'Fonas world. Even if revisions go smoothly, I don't expect a release date sooner than December 2022, but I want to share some thoughts about the story and the writing now.
I’ve recently begun reading Bleak House, a Charles Dickens novel. While I almost always enjoy Dickens novels, with the partial exception of A Tale of Two Cities, the funny thing is that I don’t really read his books for the stories.
This might seem like a little bit of a slow story to some of you, and that’s okay; I don’t want every story to involve a lot of action in the traditional sense.
It is worth noting that “overpowered” cannot really be defined on an absolute scale. Rather, it is more useful to discuss characters being overpowered on a relative scale. If you make your hero a goddess, and all of her enemies are mere mortals, you don’t have much of a story, but if all of her enemies are also gods and goddesses, then that character is no longer overpowered. This raises the interesting intellectual exercise of trying to write an interesting story about the relationship between two omnipotent and omniscient beings, but I don’t think tiny human brains are adequate for such a task.
if you haven’t heard the phrase “training montage,” you’ve probably encountered one. They are pervasive in modern storytelling, especially in speculative fiction, to the point where the only techniques that might be more overused are prologues and flashbacks. Like prologues and flashbacks, they are overused for a reason, serving several valuable purposes in the narrative process, but so many of them have been done, with only mediocre execution, that the technique itself has become tiresome.
Like many nonfiction books, including several that we’ve reviewed here on the site, Parenting Is a Contact Sport suffered from a severe case of repetition. It wasn’t a long book, but however many tens of thousands of words it contained, I could pretty much communicate the same message in a single sentence: have a relationship with your children. All of the chapters, all of the awkwardly personal anecdotes that were supposed to be hacking my brain and convincing me of the author’s message, could really have been reduced to just that statement. Granted, some elaboration is useful, but I really don’t think that quite so many words needed to be used.
realistic, sympathetic, capable, and not-terribly-annoying youthful characters, of which the failure of Wesley Crusher (from Star Trek: The Next Generation) as a character – good in concept, but poor in execution – is emblematic. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about recently because I’ve experienced several poorly done youthful characters in recent media I’ve consumed, and because I’ve been thinking about a character in Fo’Fonas (Wraith/Revia, for those few of you who have read the rough draft). I was even thinking about it enough to read a book on parenting, but more on that in this week’s review.
If I had to distill Blindsight down to a single, central theme, it would be that of self. What is the concept of self? How does it relate to the concept of what is human? What is the origin, function, and cost of self-awareness? How does it relate to free will, and does free will exist, or is it merely an illusion? Watts seems to have created the entire novel as a thought experiment to explore these concepts, and he leverages two lenses to accomplish that: the various neuro-atypicalities of his characters, and the distinctively intelligent but unaware aliens. Either of these ideas alone could have easily been the foundation of a compelling novel. Combining them together made this one both more compelling, and more challenging, and is in many ways at the core of my personal dichotomy over Blindsight.