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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in fantasy

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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The problem with being a book lover is that new, awesome books are constantly being written and published. I will not live long enough to read all of the books on my To Read list. I just have to accept that -- and make all of the other bibliophiles out there just as miserable as me by adding to their To Read lists. *insert evil laugh here*

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    Wickedly Wonderful will be out December 2nd, so you won't have to wait too long! And I hope Lisa continues with the series too. Ha
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Deborah Blake: "Wickedly Dangerous" was a lot of fun. I look forward to the next two(?) books. I hope Shearin continues her SPI
  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    I'm so glad you liked Wickedly Dangerous! (I loved Lisa Shearin's book too, and have to go look up the others now.)

I don't often rant. I prefer to praise and celebrate and point people in the direction of excellent literature (or at least entertaining literature). But I feel the need to rant.

First, a bit of background. While I read almost every genre of fiction, I tend to read more fantasy and science fiction than any other type. There's nothing quite like escaping into an exciting, terrifying world of monsters and warriors and wild Gods. I especially enjoy a good witch story: powerful, kick-butt women are awesome. (Not that the witch has to be good, just the story. Ethically ambiguous characters often make the most interesting protagonists.)

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @J'Karrah: found it! It's available through B&N, too. Thanks for the recommendation. http://www.amazon.com/Solerna-Anna-Schubart
  • J'Karrah
    J'Karrah says #
    There is a book on Amazon called "Solerna," by Anna Schubarth which is exactly a sci-fi book about a planet colonized by Wiccans.
  • Clark
    Clark says #
    I'm a huge fan of Charles De Lint's work myself. Very based in Fey lore and Native American mythologies.
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Clark: adding de Lint to my To Read list. My ever-growing, never-shrinking To Read list .... Which is a good thing! Really!
  • Paul DeThroe
    Paul DeThroe says #
    One shouldn't fear something new. My Suffer the Witch series is far from paranormal romance/urban fantasy fare. Its a R-rated thri

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Esoteric Secrets of Fantasy Books

Kat and I are reading Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling right now. It's a classic Fantasy story, but what I find interesting is that in the first chapter, if you know what to look for, you discover a lot of esoteric and occult practices shared with the protagonists of the story, and this sharing continues throughout the rest of the book. It's a subtle way to teach magic to readers. Given when the book was written, the author needed to be subtle about it, but what fascinates me is that even to this day you can still find a number of fantasy writings where esoteric ideas and secrets are shared if you know what to look for. And if you don't know what to look for, well guess what? You're being given an education in magic and how it works so that if you get to that point where you actually start practicing you've already got some idea of how magic seems to work.

Kat and I like to discuss the books we are reading together, so we got into a long and fascinating conversation about not only Rudyard Kipling, but some of those writers who've written esoteric secrets into their fantasy. For example, if you've read any of Michael Moorcock's writings you'll find quite a lot of esoteric secrets shared. In Elric of Melnibone, he practically spells how to evoke an entity in several different instances where the character needs supernatural aide. In the Corum series, he focuses in on the magical aspects of gift giving and the connections gods have to people and vice versa. And there's a number of other series he writes in where he shares esoteric ideas and concepts, which I recognize many years later as playing a foundational role in my understanding of magic. As a young, impressionable reader the stories I read fascinated me because of the adventure, but as a magician I can see how my evocation practice has been shaped by what Moorcock wrote, as well as some of other esoteric beliefs and practices.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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Title: A Feral Darkness

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

A few weeks ago, I listed some of the best Pagan-authored and Pagan-friendly fantasies that I had read, to date. I am happy to report that I can now add two more titles to that list.

First is Apex Magazine. I downloaded a one hundred page sampler and was immediately hooked. Every issue -- and the publication is up to number fifty-two -- contains short fiction, poetry, essays and interviews. Many of the pieces which have appeared in Apex draw heavily on mythology and folklore, and feature Gods, Goddesses, monsters, tricksters, and heroes both familiar and strange. For example, Elizabeth Bear's "The Leavings of the Wolf" (Norse myth), "The Moon to Sappho" by Sonya Taafe, "Kamer-taj, The Moon-Horse" by Dr. Ignacz Kunos, and "Coyote Gets His Own Back" by Sarah Monette.

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  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thanks for this updated list (and the original)! Jane Yolen in general is ALWAYS an excellent read, and she respects her source ma
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for sharing! I'll check it out.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Fantasy as a genre can be tad difficult to define.To paraphrase Wikipedia, a fantasy is any story which employs magic and/or "other supernatural phenomena" as a driving force of plot, theme or setting; and, like science fiction, fantasy tales are often set somewhere-other-than-here-and-now. Fantasy has something in the neighborhood of a dozen sub genres, depending on how one counts -- high fantasy, epic fantasy, sword-and-sandal fantasy, feminist fantasy, eco-fantasy, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, et cetera and so on. It also mixes well with other genres; consider how many fantasy romances and magical mysteries are on the market. 

Fantasy is a very Pagan-friendly genre. By its very definition, it contains elements which are of central importance to our communities. Pull nearly any fantasy novel off the shelf, and you will find polytheism, environmentalism, "alternative" and "mainstream" sexualities, gender (re)construction, fantastic creatures, magic, and I could go on.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Over the last few weeks, some of the bloggers at the Pagan Channel on Patheos have been posting short explanations as to how and why they became Pagan. I'll tackle that question, too, but in a manner more appropriate to this column: as a life-long bibliophile, books have had a huge influence on my spiritual development. The genres, target audience, and quality of those books have varied widely; the majority were not even aimed specifically at Pagans. Nonetheless, during my formative years (say, childhood through mid-adolesence), these books contributed to thoroughly corrupting me.

Augustus Caesar's World by Genevieve Foster, for instance, which I first found at the public library as a child, lost track of, then rediscovered in the tiny children's section in my college library. I adore the artwork, and I love how Foster interweaves the personal histories of ordinary people with those of major personages and important events. It was this book which first made me a fan of Cleopatra, and led me to further explore women's history and the religions of the ancient world.

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