Musings on “Internet Piracy”

       I have something of an unusual perspective on intellectual property infringement of the type that's called "piracy". First, I put that word in quotes because I dislike it. It is an inadequate and inaccurate description of the problem which both romanticizes and exaggerates it.        The word "piracy" in modern ears usually (especially in the sheltered civilized areas where real pirates, who still exist in some of the seas of the world, don't prowl) evokes a dashing, romantic imagery of swashbuckling action and cheerful [ Continue reading... ]

Under the Influence: The Lord of the Rings and J.R.R. Tolkien

  Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne, In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.   One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.        There may be no other modern work which has so completely defined and then overshadowed a genre as The Lord of the Rings. Written by John Ronald [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Bastard!!

    "Several hundred years after the fall of human civilization, 'twas a lawless period, a time without order; only blood, flesh, bone, and iron. It was also a time of sorcery. Having been terrorized by demonic creatures their entire lives, human beings were miserably inadequate, and forced to subsist in a barren, hostile environment."        (Yes, that's a quote directly from the opening of the anime. Painful, isn't it?)        Bastard!! (no link; looks to be out of print) is a somewhat twisted D&Dish fantasy [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Myth Adventures by Robert Asprin and Phil Foglio

       Robert Asprin wrote quite a number of books and was well-known as an editor on others, and a co-creator of the fairly successful Thieves' World shared-world setting, which I may write about in another entry. But what he may have been best known for was his comedic fantasy entry Another Fine Myth and the subsequent long-running series of novels based on the adventures and misadventures of young failed thief and would-be wizard Skeeve, scaly, blustering, and devious "demon" Aahz ("Oz?"  "No relation."), and a diverse cast of [ Continue reading... ]

Convention Report: Guest of Honor at Lunacon 2014

       "Guest of Honor": three words I honestly never expected to hear applied to myself, and I frequently remarked on that during Lunacon. But invited as GoH I was, and so last weekend (the 14th through 16th) I was at Lunacon in Rye Brook, NY.    Note: in the following piece I'll try to link to the people or places mentioned, but in some cases I can't find or am not sure of an appropriate link.        I posed some problems at the last minute to the con staff, who rose to the occasion magnificently. The people who had been [ Continue reading... ]

Posting will resume soon…

  Unfortunately, this weekend I' ve been hit with some kind of eye infection (going to the doc this morning) so I couldn't finish writing anything for the site.   Once I recover, we'll be back to the usual M-W-F schedule of new updates!     [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever

       1977, as I have mentioned before, was something of a banner year in my fandom experiences for me. Star Wars was released in that year; I first encountered roleplaying games, in the form of Dungeons and Dragons, in 1977; The Sword of Shannara was published in that year.        And so was Lord Foul's Bane, the first book in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever – a series which was first a trilogy, then two trilogies, and now a total of ten books with the addition of a final tetralogy. I have not read this final [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Pirates of the Caribbean

    "You're forgetting one thing, mate: I'm Captain Jack Sparrow."        Once upon a time there was a rather cheesy amusement park ride called "Pirates of the Caribbean". Disney had constructed this ride to capitalize on the image of pirates that it had, itself, helped to create, swashbuckling rogues who were perhaps not quite as blackhearted as they would like you to think, and certainly not very much like the real thing. This was certainly a slight foundation on which to build a movie, and I myself have never seen the ride [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: The Witch Family

       Written by children's author Eleanor Estes (best known for her "Moffat Family" books and "Ginger Pye"), The Witch Family is probably my favorite of her works. It tells the story of Old Witch, the oldest, most evil, and most powerful of all the witches, and how she was "banquished" to the great bare bleak glass hill for her wickedness by Amy, an ordinary mortal girl living in Garden Lane in Washington, DC.        The action of most chapters is an interspersion of Amy and her best friend Clarissa talking about Old Witch and [ Continue reading... ]

What is an Editor Good For?

       A lot of people who are not published authors don't have a clear idea of exactly what an editor does, or why they're needed by an author. In addition, there's a lot of stories out there about horrible things editors do or have done to people and their stories. This is becoming a VASTLY more important issue because so many people are going the self-published route and really, honestly don't understand why they might need an editor at all.           I want to talk about my own experiences and views of editing, garnered over the [ Continue reading... ]