Last week I met one of my favourite authors Raymond E. Feist for the first time. We had a lovely talk and I got three books signed, two of them were special edition copies of Magician published by Voyager. This week I found a first British edition of Magician from 1983. My timing is spectacular. Of course this hasn’t diminished my excitement at finding a first edition of Magician one bit. This is the first time I have seen any of the first three Midkemia titles in hardcover in ten years of serious book collecting.
Waris Hussein, director of the very first Doctor Who serial starring William Hartnell, voiced his disapproval at the romantic undertones in some of the story-lines of the recent Doctor Who series. Rather he called it “sexuality”. I’d rather call it what it is. It’s called love. And it’s something you’ll find in most every epic tale ever told, dating back to when stories were passed on in song and poetry.
Every fantasy and science-fiction fan loves a good cover. I discovered Frank Victoria’s artwork on the covers of The Chronicles of the Tree by Mary Victoria ( his wife and my favourite new fantasy author). I particularly loved the artwork for Chronicles of the Tree, not just because they captured the immense scope of the world Mary created, but that they also have that wonderful ethereal quality which was once so traditional to fantasy cover art.
Modern cover art is evolving into stark, minimal covers with more branding and little storytelling. An exceptional cover should encompass all that is integral to the story, and that is just what these do.
On Sunday I picked up a book called Realms of Tolkien – Images of Middle Earth which features twenty artists who have illustrated Lord of the Rings books. There’s the artists I’m familiar with of course, Lee, Howe and Nasmith but the work of Cor Blok, whose paintings appeared on the covers of the Dutch Editions of LOTR really caught my eye.
Taken from his parents as a child and equipped with biological and technological improvements, Khemri is now an enhanced human being, trained and prepared for the glory of becoming a Prince of the Empire. Not to mention the ultimate glory: should he die, and be deemed worthy, he will be reborn…Which is just as well, because no sooner has Prince Khemri graduated to full Princehood than he learns the terrible truth behind the Empire: there are ten million princes, and all of them want each other dead.
Sir Terry Pratchett, or as we in the Discworld fan world prefer to call him, Pterry, is one of my favourite authors. Not THE favourite, but one
of them. There are a number of stories out there about how I became a
fan, I know as I wrote them. This is the true story for a given value of
“Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother’s tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that’s true enough, but there’s something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.”
Fantasy cover art has seen a lot of changes over the last few years. I noticed Voyager had been doing a lot of re-issues with clean, simple covers with less colour and a ‘symbol’ rather than the sometimes elaborate artwork of old. I’m not going to say I like either style better. I love the new covers on the Raymond E. Feist books and the Robin Hobb books, but I used to really enjoy examining the artwork on the Robin Hobb books by John Howe. Pre-release Harry Potter covers would have me in a somewhat fanatical state, peering intently into the laptop screen and trying to uncover any clues of what might happen in the next book.
After Samiha is thrown from the docks in Argos city, Tymon is condemned to a life of slavery in a Tree-mine. During his ordeals, he glimpses a vision of his love and becomes obsessed by the thought that she is still alive. When disaster strikes the mine, he is left wandering the tunnels at the heart of the Tree, clinging to the hope that he might find her once again.
This is not a formal review and contains no spoilers
I didn’t have much reading time over the last few weeks and it took me two weeks to finish Dance With Dragons. Because I’ve been so distracted I had a really difficult time with it, and I didn’t re-read the Song of Ice and Fire books as I was planning to. Quite frankly i was feeling a bit lost. Luckily Craig had re-read them and finished reading Dance With Dragons before me so I was able to keep badgering him. Mostly “Who is this guy?”
The World Tree rises up out of the seething clouds like a green mountain. All creation nestles in its green branches. There is no world besides this one … or so the people believe.
Tymon grows up at Argos seminary in the lush heart of the Central Canopy, where science is a heretical pursuit and travel beyond the Tree is banned. But he yearns to break free of these rules and discover new horizons. When he
meets a despised Nurian slave in the city baths, his dreams of freedom take on a completely different meaning.