Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.


Easy Fusion

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

No, really, it is easy!

Or, at least, it is if you’re Philo T. Farnsworth inventor of the television and the Fuzor!
Honestly, I’m not sure if this site is real or a joke, but if they’re kidding, it’s the most elaborate hoax that I’ve ever seen. I mean, the idea of a fusion reactor small enough to fit on your desk is pretty far out, but, then, so is the PC and the Internet and they’re real! Then, too, there’s that name: Philo T. Farnsworth. It’s almost too good to be true. And, if it is real, then why aren’t there news stories about it? How come I’ve never heard of it before?
In any case, it’s Friday, so go take a look and have some fun.


ConLang Rosetta Stone

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

A “do-it-yourself” Rosetta stone!

For those of you who are already familiar with my conlang resources, you know that they’re mostly based on scripts originally written by Chris Pound. Well, one of the scripts he wrote was to automatically transliterate a text into a more or less realistic conlang text that’s generated on the fly. Sounds fun, right? Well, now you can do it on the web with’s Rosetta Stone Game! Using the same principles and source files as the Conlang Word Generator and the Name Maker, you can make your very own, original Rosetta Stone to “decrypt”.

Okay, so maybe this is only fun for linguistics and conlang geeks, but still, it’s Friday, so lighten up and have fun with it.


Review: Pattern Recognition

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I finished Pattern Recognition last night.

Classic William Gibson. Though, it is a bit odd in that it doesn’t have any really science-fictional elements to it at all. Pattern Recognition is set in, basically, modern day Europe, Russia and Japan. Basically, the book is about the search for meaning in mysterious loops of film footage of an unknown source. The chief “footage head”, as they’re known, is Cayce Pollard, who is the main character. Cayce is a “cool hunter”, courted for her innate ability to sense the “coolness” of brands and branding. She’s hired by a somewhat slimey advertising executive to find the Source of the Footage. What ensues is a classic Gibson tale filled with twists, technology and, as always, a gritty reality that makes you wonder how many of these places actually exist.
It’s a bit of a departure for the Father of Cyberspace and the Cyberpunk movement, though he shuns both titles. There really isn’t any science-fiction in this story at all. It’s all pretty much the real thing, so if that bothers you, stay away. On the other hand, if you just love Gibson’s writing style and his skill with words and narrative, dive right in. Personally, I loved it so much I started reading a book about marketing/cool-hunting when I was done!


Review: The Genius of China

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

I finished The Genius of China this weekend.

Wow. This is an incredible book! Like many readers of popular modern science, I constantly underestimate the inventiveness and technology of ancient man. This book really highlights that. Also, it’s an amazing inventory of creativity and inventiveness that the current China seems to be regaining. Imagine very modern inventions like glow-in-the-dark paint and natural gas mining being invented before the First Century AD!
I read this as a way to get familiar with the technology of one of the most inventive people and times in history so that I could use it in conworld creation. I was NOT disappointed! The idea that they had movable type and spill-proof lanterns were revelations to me. Not to mention the quality of their ceramics and lacquer.
However, you’ve really got to want this information to read this book. I found the author’s style to be quite dry and academic. In some cases, it even seemed rather biased in favor of the Chinese, but, as my wife pointed out, that’s to be expected considering the subject matter.
All in all, though, the author’s writing skills are not enough to keep me from heartily recommending this book to anyone interested in the technology of the ancient world.


What’s my line?

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

A fun literary game.

I actually found this on Joe Clifford Faust’s blog, but I’m gonna’ post it anyway! The website is called First Lines. It’s a simple game, actually, the page presents you with a series of first lines from novels and you try to remember (I.E. Guess) who wrote it and in what novel. There’s no grading or anything, but it’s still fun. And, it’s a powerful reminder of the importance of the first line of your own work.
But, heck, it’s Friday, go have fun!


Review: Across the Nightingale Floor

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I finished Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn last week.

It was good, but light. For one thing, the author, who uses a pseudonym, claims she was trying to represent a fantasy world that was Japan-like without actually referring to the classes of people involved by their Japanese names and titles. So, while it was obvious that she was referring to ninja and samurai, she never used those terms, but instead used vague descriptions or descriptive words. To me, it seemed a little forced sometimes. Also, I felt as if the book was written for someone in about the 8th Grade. Of course, USA Today is written at that level, so maybe I’m just biased towards the more well read.
In any case, those two small issues aside, it was a good book. The story focuses on an orphan who is taken in first by a great lord in exile or disgrace, depending on your point of view, and, later, by a clan of enigmatic mystics who are basically ninja. There are numerous plot twists of varying degree, though none are too surprising to the well-read. The themes are classically Japanese and the author is unabashedly enamored with Japanese culture. In fact, on her website, she cites a trip to Japan as the inspiration for the novel. Well, series, actually. This is the first book in the Tales of the Otori series and the last has just recently been published.
As a fantasy book goes, Across the Nightingale Floor is rather similar to any of a number of others, but as a novel about a fantasy Japan, which is not historical fiction, it stands virtually alone. In fact, I haven’t seen a book similar since I read Barry Hughart’s Bridge of Birds, which is about an Ancient China that never really was. And, though I have to admit Lian Hearn could have done more with her work, I still liked the first book enough to buy, and read, the rest of the series.


Original Science-Fiction

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Online and free!

The Science Fiction Channel has a free fiction archive on their website. It has both “classics” and original ficition. You might recognize some of the authors, but I imagine that many will be new. At least, they were new to me. Of course, I’m reccomending it because I think the fiction is good, but I would expect that from
The editor is Ellen Datlow who is an award winning writer and editor. She’s also a master (mistress?) of the short-story. And, of course, there are submission guidelines. So, if you’re feeling brave, you can submit your work.



Earthsea coming to TV?

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is a Full Moon

Well, it seems so…

At least according to this page on Of course, it’ll be on the Science Fiction Channel, but still, it’s coming. Apparently, they’re going to make the first two books into a mini-series, much like Dune and Children of Dune. Now, this could either be really, really cool, or the lamest thing since the cancellation of Farscape.
First off, I read the books a number of years ago and have re-read them several times. These books were the “Harry Potter” of their time, though it turns my stomache to compare the two that way. To fans of fantasy literature, they remain the very high standard to which everything else is held. So, if they can recreate this series on TV, then it will be great.
But, just like the Lord of the Rings, the movies will be missing things. They really just have to be less complete and less, well, “fulfilling” than the books. No one can imagine for me what it’s like to walk through the grove on Roke. Nor can they recreate what I saw when Ged faced the Shadow. It just can’t be done. That’s the beauty of books. My imagination is my own, unique creation and that’s what I see when I read books. No special effect can beat that.

In any case, I hope it’s done as well as the Dune mini-series was. At least then I won’t be outraged when I watch it. And, who knows, it might even get my step-daughter to actually read the books!

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress
Any links to sites selling any reviewed item, including but not limited to Amazon, may be affiliate links which will pay me some tiny bit of money if used to purchase the item, but this site does no paid reviews and all opinions are my own.