Fantasist's Scroll

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


DIY Head in a Jar

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

“He has the heart of a small boy…
he keeps it in a jar on his desk!” Well, I don’t remember who to attribute that quote to, or who it’s about anymore, either, but it sure is fun. And so is DIY Head in a Jar! Yes, now, just in time for the freakiest holiday of all, you can have your very own head in a jar. If you have an old bottle, you’re halfway there already! So, hurry, it’s still not too late to …

get a head!

(Oh, c’mon, it’s the Friday before Halloween and I’ve got head jokes, what else were you expecting here?)


Fantasy Mapmaking

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

I know I’ve talked about this before, but not recently.
I love maps. I love looking at them. I love drawing them. Maps can make an otherwise confusing travel story clear or just spark my imagination to new ideas about how geography effects the world. As a result, I’m always looking for more ideas about making my own maps. I use a lot of different tools to make maps, but mainly I use Campaign Cartographer. Though, the tools don’t really matter as much as good technique. And, I know that my technique is pretty weak these days. So, when I saw Maldin’s Greyhawk – A Guide to Mapmaking, by Denis Tetreault, one of the main cartographers for Wizards of the Coast, publishers of Dungeons and Dragons, I got really excited.
Sure, much of the information is a rehash of things I’ve read elsewhere, but plenty of it is new stuff. And, what’s more, it gives a nice look into the mind of a professional fantasy cartographer. How often do you find that kind of information? Right, not very often. That’s why I linked to it and suggest that, if you have any interest in fantasy map making, you check it out.


Space: Above and Beyond

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

Oh My God!
Finally, after literally years of waiting Space Above and Beyond – The Complete Series is available on DVD. This was the finest science-fiction show EVER! Yes, I mean ever. Including Star Trek, in all its various incarnations, and both versions of Battlestar Galactica and anything else you can think of to date. It was real, hard-nosed, gritty science-fiction with compelling stories fille with drama and real meaning. Not psuedo, let’s-all-get-high-and-get-Roddenberry-laid messages, but the real deal. Every episode dealt with something that made you stop and think about what it meant to be something, to stand for something, or even to be human. There were funny parts, but not like in Star Trek that played for campy laughs. No, if there was something funny, it was funny the way things are in life, not some wooden slapstick played for laughs with goofy music.
And, of course, it’s the only science-fiction show to ever feature R. Lee Ermey. What can top that!?

Excuse me while I go spend a little money on whole lot of joy.


Ghoulish Portraits

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

Alas, too late for this year, but still…
For next Halloween, I might just get one of these freaky portraits. They’re “normal” from one angle, but, from another, they’re quite monsterous. It’s Cool!
As I mentioned, we’ve already passed the deadline for this year, but for next year you can get one. Why, if you have the scratch, you can even get one done from one of your very own photos. Now, that’s really ghoul, er, cool!

Anyway, it’s Friday, this is definately a freaky link, and I worked late last night, so cut me some slack and just click the link.


Creating Fantasy Worlds

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time.
The moon is a Full Moon

Hmm, I seem to be talking about this a lot lately…
Still, it’s something that is so often done poorly, that I think it warrants a little extra attention. So, while I was looking around for links on this subject, I found the “One of Us Creative Writing Workshop” online where they had an article on Creating Fantasy Worlds. This article, though, was little more than a collection of links to other articles that went into more depth on specific topics. Still, enough of these links seemed fresh and new to me that I thought it was worth posting. One think I did like about this site was the Discussion Forum. It didn’t seem too active at the time, but I think anyone who’s in that very lonely job of writing needs all the socializing they can get!


Space Comic

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

NASA’s gotten into the comics business.
No, really, according to Manga News, NASA scientists commissioned a “space comic book” to explain their new satellite program to school kids. It’s pretty neat, actually, that they’re reaching out to that kind of audience. Science has been neglected in school here in the States for a long time, so, anything they can do to raise awareness and make it fun is great. (Though, I’m not sure I would have gone with that dog-catcher theme…) Anyway, you can check “Cindi in Space” out for free here.

C’mon, it’s Friday, don’t you deserve to look at comics, too?


Designing a Fantasy World

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Ever had the urge to create a fictional world?
Maybe even just a country? Well, over at Everything2, there’s an article on just that called, ironically enough, Designing a Fantasy World. The article takes you through the basics of what one needs to consider when putting together a fantasy world, if you want it to be believable. They touch on most of these subjects lightly, but there’s enough there to take you through the physical forms of your world, as well as the mythology behind that, and all the way on through the society that might develop in such a place. They’ve got plenty of links and Everything2 is sort of like Wikipedia, so there’s a lot of information there to browse through and digest. The article has lots of helpful suggestions in addition to those links, too!
But, for my money, the best thing in the article is:

The cardinal rule in all of this is to preserve mimesis – that is, the apparent reality of your world. You don’t need to have volumes of abstractions like language and geology if you don’t think you’ll use them. But a little care can give the reader the pleasing illusion that such things could exist, and that there are no glaring contradictions lurking just below the surface. A little thought about the points mentioned can lead to an altogether more pleasing experience for the player or reader.

Remember that, and you’ll do just fine creating your own fantasy world.


Happy Birthday, God-Emperor

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

Today is Frank Herbert’s Birthday.

Of course, we haven’t had him with us since 1986, the year I graduated from high-school, but his work lives on. Mr. Herbert is primarily known for his seminal work, Dune, and the Dune books that followed. Though, interestingly enough, he never intended to write sequels.
Often refered to as the science-fiction Lord of the Rings, Dune and the books that followed detail an amazingly rich science-ficiton culture. The novels are some of the first to have detailed political and sociological sub-plots, not to mention ecological sub-plots! The way Mr. Herbert used religion in his work is quite interesting as well. In a genre that often avoids discussing religion, he explored the topic in detail and with a depth that was personally inspiring.

There hasn’t been anyone else quite like Frank Herbert and I am in awe of the ways in which he influenced the genre, which is why I celebrate this every year.

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