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Checking Wardrobes for Narnia: Why Fantasy Should be Ordinary


This week I read Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It’s very special. One of its best qualities is the blend of ordinariness with the fantastical. This is epitomised by the eponymous ocean, which looks like a duck pond. It struck me that all the best means of travel through space, time, and various other dimensions, are ordinary. Or at least they look it. That’s the joy of it: bringing the magic into the real world, …


Review a book – live FOREVER!


Do you get a thrill when you see a character with the same name as you? And then dream that you are them and make everyone refer to you only by their rank/kitsch nickname? And only really find people of the opposite sex attractive if they share the name of your fictional counterparts SO? …no? huh. Well, in any case, it would be super awesome if a character was actually named after you, right? Right. Lucky for you then, that our author …


Cover Reveal – Blood Oath: The Janna Chronicles Book 1 by Felicity Pulman


Love, revenge, secrets – and murder – in a medieval kingdom at war. A young woman, left alone and destitute after the mysterious death of her mother, plants a sprig of rosemary on her grave and vows, somehow, to bring the murderer to justice. But who can Janna trust with the truth? Even the villein Godric, who wants to marry her, and Hugh, the dashing nobleman, have secrets that threaten her heart and her safety. In a country torn apart …


Could Infinite Monkeys Actually Create the Works of Shakespeare?


You’ve heard that enough monkeys with enough typewriters would eventually create the complete works of Shakespeare? Well some people with access to monkeys got a grant, and a computer. Then Hamlet happened. Sorry, that’s not true. Here’s what really occurred: They put the computer in the monkey enclosure to see what literary masterpiece they might type. It turns out that monkeys really like the letter ‘S’.  The six Sulawesi crested macaques, called Elmo, Gum, Heather, Holly, Mistletoe and Rowan, typed …


Ain’t no love like storybook love


If you’re a book nerd, whether a rabid reader or a writer, or both, chances are at some point in your life you have fallen head over heels in love with a character from a book. This is slightly different from falling in love with someone in a movie, and potentially more devastating. As someone who’s felt the sting of this kind of love many times, I think I’m perfectly qualified to talk about it, and present you a guide …


Book Bingo – The Reading Game You Need to Play


A new year comes with it pressure to make resolutions, and in the reading world, it’s usually, “How many books are you going to read this year?” Personally, I’d rather not set a numerical goal: What if I choose to read Ulysses, then War and Peace? Or one unending tome? I’d rather not race through it to arbitrarily win against myself. I think all reading time is time well spent. Many book bloggers do the number thing beautifully- 50ayear.com, for example – …


‘But What’s My Motivation?’ Maleficent and Creating Believable Backstory


The following post contains spoilers about Maleficent. It’s a pretty good film, though, so if you haven’t seen it go and watch it now, then come back and resume. We’ll wait here. Everybody done yet? Great. Then I’ll begin. The Stanislavski method of acting encourages the player to ask that now-familiar question, ‘what’s my motivation?’ in order to understand just what the character is thinking and feeling, and how they should react. As you write each scene of a story or …


One Tolkien to Rule Them All


Unless you really hate fantasy, the movies, or just don’t get onto the Internet much (which makes the fact that you’re reading this all the more special), you would have heard that the final instalment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy hit theatres last week. The sort of fervent debate and celebration that greeted the last in the Rings trilogy has been largely absent (or maybe I just haven’t been looking for anything…), but with it, Jackson signs off on his …


Cover Reveal – Avenger (Intrepid 3) by Chris Allen


Alex Morgan is back and he isn’t playing by the rules. Policeman, soldier and spy for INTREPID, black ops agent Alex Morgan is hunting the Night Witch—the head of a shadowy criminal empire spanning the four corners of the globe and connected to Chinese triads, corrupt cops, and the Russian mafia. When Morgan’s sent to China to shadow INTREPID’s newest agent, Elizabeth Reigns, he soon discovers she’s been sold out and the triads are after their pound of flesh. With …


The Best Christmas Films Based on Books


The film isn’t as good as the book: that’s what we bibliophile purists are supposed to say, and sometimes it’s true. But it’s Christmas; and, here in merry England, when we’ve eaten too much, the crackers have been cracked, and the Queen’s speech is over, there’s little else to do except settle in and watch some proper Christmas telly. Some of the best are based on books. There are many adaptations of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, though none so …


Six Lovecraft tales to drive sleep from your door


We’re joined on the blog today by Daniel East, writer and Lovecraft enthusiast. Like that dead rat in the wall, Lovecraft’s legacy is something you know of long before you discover the body of his work. At his best, his stories haunt the reader with an unearthly pall of doom. At his worst, they just stink. Here are six of his best, though be warned – these are works that have not just changed the way we write horror, but …


A very Matt Kearns Christmas…


Matt Kearns hiked the case of beer up onto one shoulder, stuck the vodka bottle under the other arm, and kicked the car door shut with his heel. The music alone was a magnet drawing him to his destination. Running up the few steps and standing just inside, he experienced all the sensations of the party – the heady mix of cigarette smoke, cooking meat, perfume and perspiration. Good music was playing a little too loud, forcing people to raise …



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