Fantasist's Scroll

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


Review: Industrial Magic

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

I finished reading Industrial Magic this week.
It wasn’t my usual fare, but it wasn’t bad. Probably not good enough to hunt down more of the series, but not bad. Honestly, the title is what got me. If I’d actually read the back cover, I probably wouldn’t have bought the book at all. I categorize this type of book as, basically, “chick lit fantasy romance”. But, again, that being said, it still wasn’t as bad as some of the stuff out there. For instance, I liked it better than Obsidian Butterfly, which I couldn’t even read past the first two chapters. When I read trashy fiction, I don’t want to read endless conversations with the main character’s old boyfriends, or potential boyfriends, or whatever. I want action. Plain and simple. I want something to be happening. I want plot based on events going on, not semi-romantic thoughts and feelings. In that regard, Industrial Magic delivered.
The basic plot is that a killer is stalking the heads of semi-secret magical Cabals, who are the sorcerous rivals of the more feminine, and witch-run, Covens and must be stopped. (So, yes, this really could have been a simple murder mystery without the magic, but, well, I guess that wouldn’t be as fun or sell as well.) The main character is a witch, Paige Winterbourne, who used to run a big Coven, but, in an earlier book, lost that position. Her love interest is Lucas Cortez, heir to the Cortez Cabal, but who is a crusading lawyer that fights the Cabals. It’s that connection that gets them drawn into the plot. They’re trying to find, and stop, the killer. And, to avoid spoilers, I’ll stop describing the plot there.
There’s magic all over the book, but, mainly, as a prop. Light spells being used instead of a handy pocket flashlight. Binding spells instead of a stun gun. Necromantic conversations instead of a CSI-type crime lab. Everything they used magic for could have been replaced with modern technology fairly easily without impacting the story. Except for one point when they “cross over” to the realms of death. Other than that, everything else could have been avoided by simply planning ahead. In other words, it was a wasted metaphor.
The other thing that bothered me was the Cabals. Sure, they were obviously some kind of metaphor for corporate America and/or organized crime, but at no time was the source of the Cortez Cabal’s fabulous wealth ever explained. They just were really organized and had a lot of money. Period. Ignore the writer behind the curtain. Frankly, I thought that was a shame. It could have been a really neat sub-plot. And, with the title, it was what I was hoping to see more about! Ah, well, at least I can still write my own take on that without worrying about repeating something that’s already been done.
All in all, Industrial Magic was a decent book, but not great. If you can find it at a discount book store, it’s worth getting.


How to Be a Villain

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

How to Be a Villain: Evil Laughs, Secret Lairs, Master Plans, and More!!!
Yes, this is a real book. No, it is not serious. However, if you’re designing a villain, it’s not a bad place to start. No, seriously! Here in one book are the collected cliches of bad guys. Everything from talking when you should be shooting to the “Rube Goldberg” killing machine. You name the tragic mistake that any and all James Bond villains have made and it’s in this book somewhere. So, in a humorous way, it’s a guidebook for what NOT to do when creating your literary villain. In fact, part of the book is a warning to up-and-coming super villains on what to watch out for in heroes and the big mistakes that the “average” villain makes that costs them their victory.


SF Linguistics

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

Brought to you via
I love LangMaker, both the program and the site. One of the reasons I dig the site is for all the great links it brings me. For instance, one of my freakish obsessions, er, “passions”, is linguistics in fantasy and science-fiction. So, of course, when I saw that the fine folks at had posted a link to Tenser, said the Tenso: Linguistics in SF, I got all excited. And, I was not dissapointed. The topics are varied, but always interesting and, of course, about language, linguistics and science-fiction.
Very cool.


Hack and Slash Librarians

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

TSR, er, sorry Wizards of the Coast has a new “educational” campaign.
Now, they’ve recruited librarians to the cause. No, really, they have a new program called “Afternoon Adventures with Dungeons and Dragons“. It’s a program designed to give librarians free materials to learn and teach kids D&D after school and then to use that as a jumping off point to more literary adventures.
Actually, it’s not a bad deal. As far as I’m concerned, anything that gets more kids interested in reading or even just going to the library after school is not half bad. I know my own reading and love of the written word was very much fueled by the same things that drove my attraction to D&D. Even today, though I haven’t played in years, I have the new, “Third Edition” rules on my shelf. Of course, I have other, much more obscure games, too, but D&D was pretty much the start of it all for me. (DragonQuest almost was, but that’s another story…)

Anyway, it was a great story to read and brought back all kinds of fond memories. So, in a sad, middle-aged, nostalgic sort of way, it’s the perfect fun link for a Friday.
(And, yes, this is also appearing on my other blog.)


Happy Birthday, ERB!

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

Today is Edgar Rice Burroughs’ birthday!
ERB, as he is often known by fans, was born in Chicago in 1875. He is probably most famous as the creator of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, which is a series of stories about an English nobleman who was abandoned in the African jungle during infancy and brought up by apes. His first Tarzan story appeared in 1912, and Burroughs followed it with the novel Tarzan of the Apes in1914. He is also the author of A Princess of Mars, which is the first book in a series about a US Cavalry officer transported “mystically” to Mars, as well as, Pellucidar, about a savage world hidden beneath our own, The Pirates of Venus, about space pirates on Venus. Not to mention his lesser known works, including The Mad King and many others.
For many of us, ERB was our first introduction to science-fiction and fantasy. He was a real writer, by which I mean he churned out novels and stories at a furious rate for one reason onlyL to support his family. He is, in many ways, one of my heroes.
So, Happy Birthday, Mr. Burroughs, wherever you are.

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