Tag Archives: swords

The lack of fantasy films

As a writer, obviously I’m a huge fan of books.  I love that books are able to flush out a plot and the characters better than most movies because they aren’t confined to a certain length.  In saying that, I argue that films are just as important as books to the genre, and frankly there is quite a shortage of quality fantasy movies.

The most recent fantasy films we got were The Hobbit Trilogy.  Many people are divided over this films.  Some complain about the deviations from the books, the 60 frames per second, supposed lack of character development, and the over usage of CGI.  I would argue that they are gleaming gems for the fantasy genre.  These films are far from perfect, but in the context that films should be judged separately from books they are some of the best fantasy films made recently.  No, I do not count the overabundance of Marvel movies, besides they are science fiction not fantasy.

Over all there has been a draught of well-made blockbuster fantasy films, which is rather disappointing.  Why is that I wonder?  It isn’t like the audience for fantasy movies is too small.  I would imagine filmmakers could tap into The Lord of the Rings fan base.  Over the last decade science fiction movies, particularly superhero moves, have seen a huge uptick in quantity.  Most fantasy films I have seen in recent years have been independent films, which is fine of course, but where are all the major films?  Someone might point to Warcraft, and that might be a valid point, but we all know that movies based on videogames are rarely tolerable let alone good.  Perhaps Warcraft will prove an exception to the rule, but that is still one move.  The fantasy movies that have been released within the last few years have generally been panned.  The Seventh Son, The Last Witch Hunter, all of them were pretty mediocre as far as reviewers were concerned.

What can us fantasy fans do about this?  Well, maybe not much but we can support the films that are being released and maybe give attention to indie films.  Typically, independent films have low budgets and subpar special effects, but I have found more than a few gems.  Hopefully since superhero movies have made such an impact on culture, fantasy will not be so over looked in the coming years.

Discover Goandria all over again!

I have relaunched Goandria: Visions of War.  The second edition had new chapters, greater characterization, and now includes Flight of the Wizard short story which used to be only in the paperback version.

It took two months to prepare this version and I feel it finally does the story justice. If you read fantasy and are looking for something new and different you can take a look yourself here.

As always I’m looking for reviews as well.  If this is something that interests you, and you want a free eBook copy let me know in the comments below.  You can also shoot me an email at goandria@outlook.com

Goandria: Visions of War is back!

The second edition of Goandria: Visions of War is now released!  It has all new chapters, greater characterization, and now the eBook includes the short story Flight of the Wizard, once exclusive to the paperback.

If you read fantasy, I am looking for reviewers.  My goal is to have three reviews on this book before Halloween.  If you are willing to read it and review it email me at goandria@outlook.com and I will send you a free review copy.

If you want more details on the book you can read the description on the amazon page here.

Fantasy isn’t about escaping reality

Speculative fiction has earned the reputation for being an escape from the harsh reality us adults face every day. Undoubtedly some movies, novels, and TV shows serve the purpose of mindless entertainment. We all have read a book or watched at movie on Netflix and asked ourselves, “Why was this even made? What is the point?” Good Fantasy serves a purpose, has meaning, and leaves a lasting impression.

Now that I set the bar incredibly high for myself let me define “Good fantasy” because that is a subjective term. Good Fantasy addresses real world problems such as war, hatred, segregation, and religious persecution, to name a few, through a fictional lens. Perhaps werewolves symbolize outcasts from a society, perhaps elves are segregated from the world of men, these are real issues but with Fantasy it can be subtler and digestible for an audience if done right.

I believe this sort of fantasy isn’t for those who wish to escape reality, but wish to refine in and mold it for the better. Fantasy leads the reader to consider different perspectives and ideas. I do not feel that quality fantasy should be about shock and awe. Throwing in sexual or torture porn for the sake of “realism” is less realistic and more about pandering to a certain audience. Simply shocking the audience with gore and sensuality is not really a goal that should be pursued. Sadly, these are trends that have occurred more recently and thus I feel adds fuel to the belief that speculative fiction is about escaping reality.

Yes, sex and violence are realities in our world. I do not deny that for a moment. However, heavily lacing a book with such material, I feel potentially harms the other messages and themes the author may try to convey. I write about warfare, and thus violence is inevitable. I write about awful things that happen, but there is a way to do it that doesn’t involve being over the top. Perhaps that standard makes me a prude in some people’s eyes. That is fine. What is important to me are the themes in my books, not going for cheap attention grabs.

An Excerpt from Goandria: The Schism

Chapter 1

Gray and black clouds marched across the once-blue sky. The wind stripped many of the trees of their orange and red foliage. Before long, the darkened sky flashed with bolts of lighting, and thunder rolled in the distance like ominous war drums. A sea of hardwood trees swayed as far as the eye could see in every direction, but in the center of a clearing rose two towers.

The towers were tall, and their walls blazed white, even amongst the coming darkness. The polished stone flawlessly highlighted the craftsmanship of their architect. Each tower looked as if it was carved out of a single piece of stone. Compounding this illusion, no windows were set in the stonework, for their inhabitants did not require any such hindrances to the structures’ beauty. They were pyramidal in shape, but elongated so they appeared stretched upward. They were joined by a bridge near the top of the towers which was accented by a series of flying buttresses. Statues of warriors lined the outside of the structures as well as several walkways that merged into a single road that was the only way in or out of the towers.

Along the stone road, a chocolate-brown horse bore its blue-cloaked rider. Two score similarly-clad individuals came out to greet the rider. The horseman threw back his hood revealing a pronounced jaw and brow bone, long, brown hair, and a short beard that covered his face and neck. He stood taller than his peers, a little over six-feet tall, and his entire frame was reinforced by bulging muscles. Beneath his cloak, he wore a steel breastplate with chainmail sleeves, and a bronze-hilted, hand-and-a-half sword hung at his belt.

“Welcome general,” a woman greeted the horseman. “What news do you bring?”

“Come now, haven’t we known each other long enough to drop such formalities, Evera?” the man smirked.

“Well you know,” Evera giggled, “since you have become the leader of the military and all, I don’t know.”

“Oh come now, you have just as important a position documenting battles while sitting at a desk.”

“Same old Kai. Not a humble bone in your body.”

“If you two are done, we have a lot to discuss,” another cut in. Beneath his blue cloak sat a white-bearded, wrinkled face. His eyes were brown and steely as they looked unblinkingly at the general.

“Of course. My apologies Magister.”

“Have you managed to drive the worlox any further north?” asked the Magister.

“Only minimally, and at great cost. We lost hundreds of wizards in the campaign to drive the demons out of Goandria. Their strength seems to be wavering, but it is still impossible to tell just how much strength they have remaining. Their underground dwellings are labyrinthine and go on for miles and miles.”

“Lorkai, I think I have a new assignment for you…”

“I’m listening, but first there is something else that I wanted to bring up to you,” Lorkai interrupted. “Several of our brother and sisters have been captured by the enemy. I was hoping for permission to send a battalion to go rescue them.”

“A whole battalion? That is more than I feel comfortable committing to such a campaign when we may have found a way to return the worlox back to the spiritual realm. But we will need someone with your talents to head northward into the heart of their domain and see if we can open the portal,” the Magister replied.

Lorkai’s face contorted. “I fail to see the problem. Even if only one wizard was captured, it would be worth the effort for a rescue.”

“Yes, but we are at war, and in war, sacrifices must be made. Those men and women knew what they signed up for when they set out for battle.”

“But…”

The Magister raised his hand. “Your concerns will be taken into consideration my friend. For now we must celebrate, for our champion has finally returned home, and we are one step closer to victory.”

Lorkai and Evera followed behind the Magister and their fellow wizards as they were led to the dining hall. “He never changes, does he?” Evera whispered with a smile.

“No, stubborn as a mule that man is. It must be nice to always be right.”

“It’s so nice to see you again. So how are you doing really?”

“I definitely missed my little buddy out on the front lines. There were so many times I wished you were there to help keep me sane.”

“I missed you too. Sometimes I wished I was out there fighting with you. It can get… stuffy… in here after a while,” Evera said, tilting her head towards the Magister.

“At least here you get warm meals and a real bed. Evera, you do not want to see what I see.”

“And at least you get a feast in your honor,” Evera winked.

“I definitely cannot complain about that.”

The general was led into the eastern tower, even though he had travelled the hallways dozens of times before. Along every corridor, wizards and civilians alike lined up to greet Lorkai, shaking his hand as he walked by. Several women embraced him exclaiming, “Praise Voshnore for you and your victories!”

“Looks like I still got it,” he said, nudging Evera.

“Yes, a swollen head…”

After a long white hallway, the Magister swung open two oak doors that were several inches thick, holding his hand out to let Lorkai be the first to pass through. Upon entering the tapestry-laden room, the smell of freshly-roasted meats and simmered vegetables slammed his nostrils. About a hundred wizards were already in the dining hall and offered a standing applause upon seeing their guest of honor.

“Please sit at the head table in the back. We hope that you will find everything to your liking, general,” announced the Magister. This was followed by another round of applause.

Once Lorkai took his place, he raised his hands. Suddenly all were silent, their eyes fixed on him. “Gentlemen, ladies, fellow wizards, it has been our sacred duty to protect Goandria since Voshnore blessed the first of our kind.

“Then generations ago, the worlox came and quickly defeated all who stood in their destructive path. All save the wizards, whose weapons were the only ones who could send those creatures back to the land they came from. We have been fighting so long and so hard, with no real victories to speak of, until these last few years when we have finally been able to push the worlox further northward. My friends, this is just the beginning! I will keep pushing forward, I will not stop, and I will save you all from the worlox demons that infest our lands!”

A series of cheers erupted from the crowd. Some began chanting the general’s name while others simply sat back down to tend to their food. Evera took her place next to her friend, and together they sat down. Beside her was a middle-aged man with graying brown hair who leaned forward and inclined his head slightly. “So general, since you have at last returned, what are your plans now?”

“To sleep in a bed; heck I would even take the floor with a pillow at this point.” Lorkai smirked.

“I can imagine. It has been some time since I fought in the wars myself. Back then we had no sanctuaries such as this; the worlox were everywhere.”

“I will see to it that we never return to such times. We will be free, and I will not let them return to this land.”

“And so far you have kept that promise. I cannot thank you enough for what you have done, Lorkai.”

“It’s a process. Soon I will secure total victory.”

“Speaking of, the Magister mentioned he had a new assignment, that he and the council have found a way to reopen the portal to the spiritual realm and return the demons to their own realm.”

Lorkai leaned forward and glanced around the room for a few seconds. “Yes, he mentioned something about it, but he was quiet about the details. To me, it seems too good to be true. What do you know about this supposed miracle plan, Romma?”

Romma let out a prolonged sigh, “Not much, just that it is being peddled as the means to end the war. I do know the Magister and the council have been working tirelessly behind closed doors. Anything is possible I suppose.”

“That’s what concerns me.”

*You can download Goandria: The Schism here.