Tag Archives: Fantasy

Check out “The Omens of a Crow”

Hey 3.5 readers.  BQB here.

Dakota Kemp, a friend to this fine blog, has released his new book, “The Omens of a Crow” on Amazon.  I’m not sure what it is about but there is an ominous looking dude in a cloak on the cover and the description says he is about to bring something scary to a village.

What could he possibly be bringing?  Is it a weapon of some sort?  Dark magic?  A terrible disease?  Wait, I know.  He’s bringing chips with no dip.  That’s it, isn’t it?  Have you ever been to a party and a guy brings chips but he doesn’t bring any dip and everyone is like, “WTF, guy in a cloak, why did you do that for?  You expect us to eat this chips dry?  You couldn’t have sprung for the dip?  You might as well have not brought the chips.”

That’s my guess.  I suppose you’ll have to check the book out to find out what it actually is.

Let me know if it is chips without dip.

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Movie Review – Bright (2017)

Orcs, elves and humans, oh my!

BQB here with a review of the fantasy buddy cop thriller, Bright.

Netflix continues to wage war on conventional cinema, streaming a summer blockbuster type movie, helmed by veteran sci-fi action star Will Smith.

BQB here with a review of the fantasy buddy cop thriller, Bright.

Netflix continues to wage war on conventional cinema, streaming a summer blockbuster type movie, helmed by veteran sci-fi action star Will Smith.

In alternate world of this film, humans, orcs and elves co-exist in the modern world of today.  Despite historic tensions due to past conflicts, the three races try, more or less, to get along, though biases and suspicions continue.

Life is not easy for Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton), an orc cop who straddles the lines of two worlds and is hated by the residents of both of them.  Orcs, relegated to being impoverished, inner city dwelling second class citizens, despise him because he’s a cop and orcs feel that cops unfairly target them.  Cue scene of an orc getting wailed on in a savage act of police brutality.

Humans aren’t found of Jakoby either.  Orcs, according to human sensibilities, aren’t pleasant to look at and they took the wrong side in an ancient war.  They basically view him as an untrustworthy animal.

Jakoby is just Jakoby, a normal dude who, despite his orc-ish appearance, is just trying to make it in the world.  He likes burritos and giving his partner health tips and other dorky things.  But depending who you ask, he’s a pussy (according to the orcs) or a beast (according to the humans.)

Ward (Will Smith), has an equally tough time as Jakoby’s partner.  On the one hand, human cops demand that he find a way to trip the orc up and run him off the force.  On the other, he feels that bond of loyalty that any cop feels towards his partner.

Against this backdrop, an elf bright (i.e. a rare user of magic, Lucy Fry as “Tikka”) is on the run and in possession of a magic wand.  In this world, a wand is considered the equivalent of a loose nuclear weapon, something that if it were to fall in the wrong hands, could be used to unleash death and destruction.

The wand is valuable as it can grant whoever wields it untold power, so naturally, the various groups who want it begin stacking up.  Mexican and orcish gangsters, corrupt cops, Federal agents and rogue elves all hunt Jakoby and Ward as they seek to off the dynamic duo and abscond with the wand.

I have to say, the negative reviews of this film are undeserved.  Here’s the deal.  THIS FILM IS <GASP> ORIGINAL!  It’s a new idea.  It’s fresh.  It features a childish concept (i.e. orcs and elves and magic) and infuses it with adult themes (i.e. swears, over the top violence, gunfights and lots and lots of naked titties.)

A Hollywood suit would have been within his rights to put the kibosh on this project for fear that it wouldn’t find an audience.  Kids who like magic can’t come and adults who like violence and titties might be turned off by magic.

But this film is good and it proves that Netflix will persevere as an outlet for films that are original, experimental, on the edge and can’t find a home elsewhere.

The film serves as an interesting vehicle for dialog about racial issues.  Ironically, the main human in the film, Ward, a black man, must fight his own internal biases against orcs (he was once shot by one so now trusts none of them) in order to save the day with his orc parter.

Good writing.  A lot of showing instead of telling.  Good world building.  The rules have been established so sequels are entirely possible.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Writing Choices – Game of Thrones and an Overabundance of Characters

Sigh.  Why must I wait until July for Game of Thrones to come back on the air?

Oh well.  This one will be a short one.

Game of Thrones has so many characters – so, so many characters.  And many of them are key players.  All in all, we’re talking like, hundreds of parts.

I suppose it makes sense in a wide-sweeping epic.  Then again, I’ve found that in my own writing, sometimes it is difficult to just keep track of the names of the bit players.  If you have a secretary named Janet who gives your hero a key piece of info, you want to make a note of it so you don’t name another character Janet.

Sure, in real life, you’ll probably run into multiple people named Janet.  People don’t check to see many Janets there are around you before deciding whether or not to add one more Janet to the mix.  But, to the reader, two characters with the same name will be confusing.

Plus, how do you describe all those characters?  There are only so many ways to describe a person.  At the end of the day, we all aren’t snowflakes.  Sure, we all look different and those differences are readily noticeable to the eye but on paper?  “He’s old, she’s young, he’s tall, she’s short, he’s skinny, she’s fat” I mean, really…how do you come up with unique descriptions for over two hundred people or more?

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:  Can you keep up with all the characters on Game of Thrones?  How do you do it?  I’ve been watching the show since the beginning and I still just refer to many of the characters as, “The guy who did the thing.”  Also, tell me how you keep track of the characters in your stories.

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Zom Fu – Chapter 61

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Crunch, crunch, crunch. Junjie’s teeth chewed through veins and gray matter, then swallowed. The taste was abhorrent, yet the anticipation of the knowledge to come took his mind off it. Something had drawn him to this brain and he had to know what.

Junjie closed his eyes. When he opened them, he felt big, bold, strong…and angry…oh, so very angry. He was in the sanctuary of the Clan of the Sacred Yet Inscrutable Tiger Claw, walking hurriedly toward the courtyard. Honghui stood up ahead, next to the Infallible Master, who was holding a baby.

“Junjie?” the master said as he looked down at the infant. “That means ‘handsome hero,’ you know. An awful lot of pressure to put on one so small.”

“Yes,” Honghui said. “But I have no doubt he will live up to the name, master. Ling felt the same way.”

“And where is Ling?” the master asked.

Honghui looked down, sullenly. “Gone.”

The master frowned. “How?”

“Longwei,” Honghui said. “When he learned that Ling and I were leaving the clan so that we could be married, he went mad. He somehow saw it as offense to him, that he was your greatest student and that we could not leave until he’d bested us in a fight.”

The master sighed. “That sounds like Longwei.”

“I declined,” Honghui said. “As did Ling. But Longwei’s words were so cruel that I lost control and called him a fool. That enraged him so much that he laid in wait and as soon as I left, he…he…”

Honghui’s eyes teared up. “…took the brain of the woman I loved.”

The master gasped. “Took her brain?”

Longwei finally reached the courtyard. “Yes! And it was delicious!”

The master pointed the Staff of Ages at Longwei. “Longwei! What has come over you?”

Longwei chuckled. “Destiny,” Longwei said. “That is what has come over me.”

“Away with you,” the master said. “You’ve gone insane.”

“No, master,” Longwei said. “I assure you, I’ve never had a better understanding of the world.”

“I will hear no more of your drivel,” the master said. “You’ve already taken one member of our clan today. You will not take another. Look at what you have become!”

“You have always resented the fact that I was better than you, old man,” Longwei said. “My feet were faster than cheetahs. My muscles were stronger than those of an ox and my hands?”

“Enough,” the master said.

“My hands are swift and dance through my opponents like a graceful dragon twirling through the air,” Longwei said.

The master pulled the baby close to his chest and held the staff high in the air. Clouds formed in the sky. “Enough.”

“You always favored Hongui and Ling over me,” Longwei said.

“A lie you told yourself over and over until you believed it to be true,” the master replied. “I love all my students equally, even you Longwei…even after the evil you have done.”

Longwei drew closer. He gazed upon the baby.

“Give me that child, so that I might snuff it out and spare it a life of knowing what a pathetic weakling its father was.”

Honghui lost control. He charged at Longwei…only to have his brain ripped out by Longwei’s tiger claw.

The master’s heart sunk, but he wasn’t just a master of kung fu. He was a master of his own emotions and buried them down, refusing to cry as Honghui’s lifeless corpse hit the ground.

Longwei bit into Honghui’s brain as if it were an apple. He swallowed, then tossed the rest over his shoulder. He returned his attention to the master.

“Give that child here.”

A lightning bolt shot out of the sky and into the staff. Thunder rolled as the staff glowed bright.

“Do not make me do this, my son,” the master said.

“No one is making you do anything, old man,” Longwei said. “You do what you wish. I know from hereon out, I will do as I wish. I will never be held back by you ever again.”

“I was never holding you back,” the master said. “I was trying to contain your boundless ego, to get it under control before you did…something like what you have just done.”

Longwei reached for the baby. “And I’m just getting started.”

Thok! The master kicked Longwei with such force that he was launched into the air. The old man then took aim with the staff and sent the lightning bolt into Longwei’s body, killing him instantly, even before he hit the ground.

Darkness. Longwei saw nothing but darkness. Seconds later, he opened his eyes. He looked up at the master, who was standing over him, still holding the baby.

“Longwei?” the master asked.

Longwei looked into the master’s eyes, and caught the reflection of his face in them. In that reflection, Longwei was able to see that his own eyes had gone blank – pure white, devoid of anything else.

“There…there is no Longwei….there is only…Dragonhand.”

The master pointed the staff at Dragonhand’s face. “Leave here at once, creature. Do not darken this sanctuary’s doorstep again, or that will be the end of you.”

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Zom Fu – Chapter 44

tabletdemo
The little boy was four years old and just a bit over two feet tall. His bedroom was filled with vases, statues, paintings and other artistic riches. Golden sheets and pillows sat atop a bed that was large enough for a fully grown adult to get lost in, let alone a child. Further, the boy was dressed in the finest black and gold silks.

Ironically, though his decor was fancy, his personal interests were not.

“Ball!” the little boy said as he rolled a leather ball across the marble floor. When the ball reached the wall, it bounced back. The boy caught it, rolled it up to the wall and repeated the process.

“Hee hee,” the young one giggled. “Ball!”

A fist pounded on the door.

“Ball,” the boy said as he rolled his favorite toy again.

“Oh glorious one?” came the muffled voice of Nianzu from out in the hallway. “I humbly request an audience, please.”

The boy grew tired of rolling and switched his game up to throwing. He tossed the ball against the wall and caught it on the bounce back. “Hee hee! Ball!”

Nianzu tried again. “Unspeakable danger approaches, your majesty. We must get you to safety at once.”

Crash! The boy laughed as his ball smashed a thousand year old vase to smithereens.

“Is everything alright in there,  exalted one?” Nianzu asked.

The boy clapped his hands together, giving a stirring round of applause to the devastation he’d created. “Ball!”

Out in the hallway, the trio consulted one another.

“Should we just smash the door down?” Nianzu asked.

“And be executed for treason?” Tengfei inquired.

Nianzu shrugged. “It’s not like he actually knows what’s going on.”

Weiyuan and Tengfei’s mouthes dropped.

“Blasphemy!” Weiyuan cried.

“Sacrilege!” Tengfei shouted.

The duo dropped to their knees and started kowtowing towards the door.

“He does not speak for us, oh wondrous son of heaven!” Weiyuan cried.

“Kill him, exalted one!” Tengfei shouted. “Please spare us and kill him!”

Nianzu rolled his eyes. “Idiots.”

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BQB’s The Walking Dead Recap – Season 7, Episode 2 – “The Well” – SPOILERS

Hey 3.5 readers.

It’s Sunday so it’s Walking Dead.

SPOILERS!

This show has been on seven years and the key to its success is that it keeps reinventing itself.  You have a large cast with people going off into different directions so there’s always an opportunity to do something new.

And they really did something new tonight.

We get introduced to King Ezekial, a dude with dreads who owns a tiger named Shiva and he speaks in an Old English accent.  His community is called “The Kingdom” and all the people who live there wear hockey pad-esque knight gear and act like their knights and shit.

The people of the Kingdom and the King all play it straight.  Carol and Morgan are weirded out, Carol more so than Morgan.

The viewer ends up assuming that the King and his friends are most like Ren Faire/Dungeons and Dragons nerds who dabbled in fantasy and are now taking advantage of the zombie apocalypse to make their fantasies reality.

You do get to learn the King’s secret though I don’t want to give it away.

Zombies are being fed to pigs. Not sure what that’s about but as much as I love bacon, I’ll pass if it comes from those pigs.

The ongoing worry whenever the regular cast members happen upon a new community is that the community always looks nice and the people are nice but then there’s inevitably some terrible secret that causes all shit to break loose.

Here’s hoping that the King is just a dude who played a little too much World of Warcraft and that’s all.

What say you, 3.5 readers?cropped-cropped-img_1753

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Who would win the following fantasy fights?

Batman vs a Shark

Patrick Swayze in Road House vs Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing

Either version of Patrick Swayze vs a T-Rex

Optimus Prime vs the Entire Nazi Army

Bell Biv Devoe vs Dolph Lundgren

Superman vs an Octopus

James Bond vs a Silverback Gorilla

Pee Wee Herman vs a UFC fighter

Ronda Rousey vs the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Zombie Abe Vigoda vs Zombie Bea Arthur

Sugar Ray Leonard vs a Bengal Tiger

The Joker and Harley Quinn vs Bonnie and Clyde

Al Capone vs Al Bundy

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Game of Thrones Recap – Season 6, Episode 10 – “The Winds of Winter” – Season Finale

Time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it 3.5 readers?

Season 6 of GOT is over. Done. Finito. In the books.

Let’s talk but beware for like Melisandre’s mystical vagina, this post is dark and full of terrors…AND SPOILERS.

Mostly spoilers.

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From a writing standpoint, so many things happened this season that we’ve all been waiting for a long time:

  • Arya got her revenge.
  • Jon Snow is King of the North.
  • Sansa escaped a life of having to go from being tortured by one douche to being tortured by another douche.
  • One of Cersie’s schemes actually worked.
  • The Imp is finally recognized by someone who appreciates his brain.
  • The Khaleesi is on her way to Westeros.
  • Overall, the kids have grown up and everyone’s either doing or on their way to doing what they’ve been meant to do all along.

So about last night –

CERSEI 

She’s long lamented that her lack of a dong has held her back. She has argued many a time that she’s wise and brilliant and if only she were a man she’d be taken seriously.

Well, people be taking her ass seriously now because…holy shit…she done went and exploded the Sept of Baelor.

Took out the High Sparrow, all his little sparrows, probably even the Tyrells though technically we didn’t get full confirmation as to whether or not Margery and Loras made it out or not.

The running joke about Cersei is that her schemes always fail. Not only do they fail but they usually make her problems worse. (i.e. she gives the High Sparrow extra powers to go after her enemies only to have him turn on her.)

Did Cersie know that Tommen would kill himself?

You could argue yes because she did put on her Queenly garment before it all went down.

You could argue no because she had Frankenmountain keep him from getting blown up and historically, though she has been douchey to everyone else, she has been fiercely loyal to her children.

At any rate, her butt is on the Iron Throne.

KHALEESI

I know her name isn’t Khaleesi but I like it better and it is easier to spell.

Didn’t you get goosebumps seeing all those ships and dragons crossing the Narrow Sea?

The long awaited invasion of Westeros is on the way.

Though  I have to wonder, when that happens, could the end of the show be far behind? Putting the Khaleesi on the Iron Throne and defeating the White Walkers seems like the final plot points that need to be wrapped up.

THE IRON BORN

Bunch of smelly pirate vikings.

If you ask me, GRRM is way too obsessed with turning his male characters into eunuchs.  Spare the balls, George. Spare the balls.

But despite being a eunuch, Theon seems to be on the way toward redeeming himself for his douchebaggery. He’s lost his claim to the Iron Islands, but may do something super heroic, die in battle, or end up as his sister’s chief advisor.

Speaking of…

WOMEN TAKING OVER

Hey. Look. I’m all for women’s rights and shit but Westeros is becoming a total vag-ocracy here.

You’ve got Cersei on the Iron Throne and the Khaleesi about to take the Iron Throne (does anyone think anyone in Westeros is willing to be chomped by a dragon to protect Cersei? Doubtful.)

You’ve got Ellaria Sand ruling Dorne after killing her brother-in-law in a coup.

You’ve got Lady Olena in charge of Highgarden even though she’s like a million years old.

Sure, Jon Snow is King of the North but he’s one of those perpetually depressed hipster emo losers who will probably walk away from it all and turn it over to Sansa.

I’m not saying never have a woman ruler but you know, let’s mix it up and have some peen-ocracies and some vag-ocracies.

ARYA

Checked a big name off her list. Got her revenge.

WHAT’S BEYOND WESTEROS?

There was a brief mention this season that there is land beyond Westeros but no one has ever sailed that far.

I wonder if that will become some kind of allegory to Europeans sailing and colonizing the Americas.

WHAT SAY YOU, 3.5 READERS?

What did you like about this season? What did you not like? What did you want to see and or not see?

What’s next?

Discuss.

 

 

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Game of Thrones Recap – Season 6, Episode 9 – “Battle of the Bastards”

So many bastards. So little time.

SPOILERS!

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Hey geeks. BQB here.

Holy shit snacks, it was a great episode tonight, wasn’t it?

We finally got to see those scaly dragons in battle and battle they did.  They’re like giant flying fire breathing lizard tanks.

And then the long awaited battle we’ve been waiting for. John Snow vs. Ramsey Boulton.

Quite a long, extended fight scene. There was a damn phalanx!

Can’t go wrong with a phalanx.

And you know 3.5 readers, I think there was a lesson here for both readers and writers.

You might remember way back George RR Martin and HBO took a lot of heat for allowing a scene in which Sansa gets raped by Ramsey.

At the time, no one, including myself, realized Ramsey would get a well-deserved comeuppance for that.

But hoisted on his own petard, he was.  Sansa got her revenge and fed Ramsay to his own dogs, the dogs Ramsay had fed so many of his victims before.

Lesson for the reader? Keep the faith. Trust that the writer will eventually address the point that you’re so angry about.

Lesson for the writer? Understand that a controversial scene will leave you taking a lot of heat and you’ll just have to sit back and wait until the time finally comes when the plot point comes full circle.

This season has gone by way too fast.

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Game of Thrones Recap – Season 6, Episode 8 – No One

Spoilers, you nerds.

Spoilers ahead.

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BREAKING NEWS: King Tommen has abolished trial by combat. Vexing legal disputes can no longer be resolved by appointing two barbarians to smash the ever loving shit out of each other.

People will actually have to voice their legal arguments and the court will have to come to an actual conclusion.

In other news, there was a reunion of sorts between Brienne and Jamie.  They have some sort of friendship.  Bri wants to jump Jamie’s bones, as most women do. Jamie, I don’t think feels the same way though he respects her a lot and there’s probably a part of him that wishes he could embrace the concept of settling down with a woman that’s his intellectual equal.

Sadly, they’ll probably have to face each other on the battlefield one day.

The Hound will likely join up with the Brotherhood Without Banners.  With the Brotherhood’s role in the show expanding, could an entrance by Lady Stoneheart be far behind?

Cersei chose violence. Podrick’s too damn old to be a squire.

Finally, Arya is no longer “a girl.” She’s Arya Stark.

As the show ends with Jaqen smiling, it’s hard not to assume that everything Arya went through wasn’t due to Jaqen being mean to her but perhaps part of a larger plan for him to toughen her up.

Poisoning an actress seemed to be an act beneath the Faceless Men so for awhile I wondered if this just wasn’t bad writing. The Faceless Men seem dedicated to sticking to the shadows, blending in, and fighting for good by killing the evil without anyone ever learning of their involvement.

But perhaps Jaqen realized that Arya is of more use to the overall “goodness” of the world as a Stark than as “a girl.”

Varys is leaving. He needs to return immediately.

The Blackfish goes out on his own terms.

Khaleesi returns. The imp wasn’t as smart as he thought he was.

And a new question – what is beyond Westeros? No one knows. No one has ever sailed that far before.

Interesting.  A new twist!

Maybe Arya will sail beyond Westeros and find us all there watching Game of Thrones on TV.

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