Review Jealousy

While some writers succumb to that pernicious emotion when a colleague gets a glowing review, what I’m talking about is jealousy between books by the same author.

That is, King of Chaos and Queen of Thorns (and to a lesser degree, Master of Devils) burn with envy whenever Prince of Wolves gets another review, especially at paizo.com.

Prince has the distinction of the most reviews in the Pathfinder Tales for two obvious reasons. First, it was the first in the line. Naturally, it garnered a lot of attention from readers hungry for novel-length fiction set in Golarion. Also, there’ve been three sequels, two novellas, and a good number of short stories featuring those characters. While each of the stories stands alone, people like to read “in order.” Thus, whenever a new book comes out, sales of Prince of Wolves get a boost and so do the reviews.

As a parent loves all his children, I love all my books in different ways. Sure, there are things about each of them that are my favorite: I love the gothic setting and mystery of Prince of Wolves, the love letter to wuxia films in Master of Devils, the slight twist on classic elves and demons in Queen of Thorns, and the large supporting cast of soldiers (some borrowed from Robin D. Laws and Liane Merciel) in King of Chaos.

But of course in the end I want to see all of my books happy.

To that end, if you’ve enjoyed Queen of Thorns and/or King of Chaos, would you consider posting a review? Better still, keep an eye on the Pathfinder Tales Book Club threads at paizo.com and jump in on the discussions. They’ve covered Crusader Road and are tackling Death’s Heretic now. I hope to see them take on the boys sometime later this winter.

For easy access:

Prince of Wolves

Master of Devils

Queen of Thorns

King of Chaos

Pathfinder Tales Forum (look for threads beginning PTBC)

 

 

Your First Scary Movie or Book

The weather is very October here, and I’m thinking about the approach of my favorite holiday. What’s the first movie, book, or story that scared the hell out of you?

I’m not sure that mine are my real firsts, but here are the ones that stuck with me.

A story whose author and title I’ve since forgotten, but it sure had a Ray Bradbury feel to it, which I read in elementary school. It described a boy trying to go from one end of the block to the other on a dark night. There were trees, one in particular, with sinister intent. I could smell the October on the story, and just imagining the cool night air gave me goosebumps.

Much later, Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot scared the hell out of me, and not just for the obvious reasons. As I read his descriptions of the boy’s room, I began to realize it could just as easily have been mine with all the models of Universal horror monsters. When the kid’s vampire friend rapped on the window, that was all I wanted to read until daylight.

Sometime in my tweens or early teens, my parents forbade me to watch Night of the Living Dead on the late show. I disobeyed and crept up to the TV room to watch it with the sound turned down low. From “They’re coming to get you Barbara!” to the end of the movie, when I’d fallen asleep or passed out from terror, I remained crammed under the couch to watch with my back against the wall.

Which ones got to you at an impressionable age?

 

Question of the Week: Fantasy in the 1980s

To expand upon the theme of a question I asked on Facebook, what are your favorite fantasy novels and films of the 1980s? You can have a little wiggle-room for films and books from the late 70s or early 90s, but part of the reason I ask is because I’m interested in what’s unique to that decade. Thus, even if you discovered R.E. Howard or J.R.R. Tolkien in the 80s, that’s not what I’m looking for this week.

More importantly, what elements of those novels and films do you find have become dated or tired now that you look back at them? And which elements endure or must return to save us all from the dread Grimdark*?

 

 

  • I like dark fantasy. There’s no need to crush me for this joke.

Question of the Week: Creature Feature

As a kid, I loved nothing better than monster movies. They weren’t horror movies; they were monster movies. My friends and I traded monster cards, and on weekends I watched Count Gore DeVol (Dick Dyszel) present an endless parade of monsters on Creature Feature.

The first magazine I ever subscribed to was, of course, Famous Monsters of Filmland. What captured my imagination most were the articles on makeup and special effects. The earliest Halloween costume I remember making myself was a mummy (for which I tied for third place). By high school, I was doing my own prosthetics and makeup to transform into Quasimodo (ask me about the last day the Mormons came to our house) or the Wolfman and entertain the lineup for our marching band’s annual haunted house fundraiser.

Lon Chaney’s Wolfman was my early favorite, even though I recognized that Karloff’s performance in Bride of Frankenstein was the best depiction of a monster (with apologies to Lon’s father, who was overall the greatest monster actor). After puberty, just as young boys eventually give up Luke Skywalker for Han Solo, I transferred my sympathies to the Creature from the Black Lagoon because all he wanted was the girl.

Answer me two questions this week: Who’s your favorite classic (pre-1970) movie monster? And who’s your favorite contemporary movie monster? Of course also: why?

#RPGaDay: Favorite Character

8. Favorite Character. I’m guessing this means favorite character I’ve played. It’s a tough question, since I’ve seldom played a character more than a few times since I was a kid. I can’t even remember his name, but one night I played a high-school bully in a session of Don’t Look Back: Terror is Never Far Behind (more on that session in later questions, I’m sure). We were a group of two bullies and two nerds. My bully was the trailer-trash one who took the Urkle-type nerd under his protection, lit his cigarette off the face of a burning zombie, and later punched out a VJ when our shenanigans were broadcast live on MTV.