March 30, 2014

Game of Thrones Goodies



Because next weekend is the season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones, I'd thought I'd get you all excited by recommending some of the merchandise that's come out. This is for mostly the HBO series (because there are simply more items), although I will mention a few book related items listed herein.

March 24, 2014

Graphic Novels, or, How Comics Help Tell a Story



I was never all that familiar with comic books, or graphic novels, growing up. I knew the characters thanks to TV cartoons, movies etc, but I missed comics as a kid. It wasn't until I saw the first X-Men film that I thought, "This was movie was pretty good! Looking forward to the second one...which means I have to wait." 

Being a fan of reading and books (and reading books based on movies before I see the movie, if possible) I relaized that X-Men was based on (a lot of) comics. So, I started with Marvel's Ultimate X-Men, and likewise with Ultimate Spider-Man. By about between the first and and second Spider-Man film, I was at least knowledgeable of some comics, graphic novels, as well as Comic Book Stores (which didn't have as many sexy girls in them as they do these days...what happened?!). I followed likewise with Batman after seeing how good Batman Begins was, and exploring some Batman trades and graphic novels. 

Before I progress, let me lay some definition down. Comic book: a single issue. The cheapest way to get a 'comic'. It is about 30 pages or so and a few bucks. Trade: a collection of comics (usually six) which are re-printed in one book. They usually contain a single arc. Graphic novel: a self-contained story, such as Watchmen, which may (and most likely) be released as 'issues' beforehand. So, a trade may have Spider-Man # 500-506 for instance, whereas a graphic novel will feature all the comics. Compare my Spidey example to Batman: The Long Halloween. They were released as issues, but now if you buy it as a trade, you get all 13. 

Anyway, comics made me realize that there is a whole world(s) out there beyond, say, Spider-Man 2. Sure, that film is its own entity from the comics, but Spider-Man has been around since the '60s. 

Around the time I was becoming interested in the X-Men comics, I was also beginning to become a fan and appreciate Tolkien (this would have been closer to X-Men 2). It was during one of those trips to the bookstore that I uncovered a different type of trades (and / or graphic novels), which were adaptations. 

I was browsing the Tolkien section, and I noticed that there was a Hobbit graphic novel. Thinking that it was in the wrong section (it was, file it under your Graphic Novel section, bookstore) I continued browsing. 

Within the next year or so, I saw a few more adaptions of fantasy books, or rather, comic book adaptations of short stories / novellas. Some of them include: New Spring (prequel set in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time world, 20 years before book 1), The Wood Boy (part of Raymond E. Feist's realm, fitting in...I'm not sure where), and of course, The Hedge Knight (part of George R.R. Martin's Ice and Fire realm set about 8-100 years before Book One. Still kicking myself for not getting those books...I have the reprints now, though). 

The idea is fantastic. A visualization of a novel / short story that isn't a movie or TV show. After all, in a comic you can do anything. Most recently, I discovered that Stephen King's Dark Tower series had been expanded into graphic noveldom. Except, these stories re-told and expanded upon the novels. So, by reading these, you got more information that just reading the books, whereas with other titles I mentioned, it was the short story as is (or less) visualized.

There is one other instance in which graphic novels, trades and comics are beneficial to the original source material: after a TV show ends. Not necessarily if a show gets canceled, but generally continuing and expanding the mythos of the show. The example I'm thinking of is Buffy Season 8 (the TV show ended at 7 seasons), though I'm sure there are others. 

So, as you can see, comics, trades, graphic novels, funny books, whatever you wish to call them are great for further exploring and expanding upon the story presented in a TV show, movie, novel, or   short story. 

Would I like to see a comic, graphic novel, or trade based upon my own world? Well, right now, I'd really like people to experience the world of Kalvel in print and word, as a novel (and possible future short stories.) I'm not against the idea, though. It all depends on if things work out. 

I'm not sure if it would be considered disrespectful, but I personally would like to see some graphic novels out of films that didn't quite take off, or some books that authors could not complete because they passed away or abandoned. 

Here is my 'wish list' :

- The unpublished works of Robert Jordan
I'm talking about Warriors of the Altaii, and Infinity of Heaven. Wikipedia describes both of these as:

Warriors of the Altaii

Warriors of the Altaii is Jordan's first novel, which remains unpublished; it is 98,000 words in length, and he finished it in thirteen days. Donald A. Wolheim at DAW Books made an offer for it, but revoked the offer when Jordan requested a small change in his contract.[26] When Harriet McDougal was Editorial Director for Ace Books, Tom Doherty hired Jim Baen to work under her, and when Doherty left Ace to start Tor Books in 1980, Baen followed, working at Tor for a few years before starting his own imprint, Baen Books.[28][29] Baen did not have a very high opinion of fantasy, and so he bought Warriors for Ace Books as a science fiction novel. When he left Ace for Tor, Susan Allison took his place and reverted the rights for the novel to Jordan. When McDougal returned to Charleston to start her own imprint, Popham Press, she met Jordan and published his first novel, The Fallon Blood.[30]

Infinity of Heaven

Jordan mentioned several times that he planned another fantasy series set in a different kind of world. He said that it would be a Shōgun-esque series about a man in his 30s who is shipwrecked in an unknown culture which would be similar to Seanchan culture in his Wheel of Time series[31] and world. The books would detail his adventures there and would have been titled Infinity of Heaven.[32]
He said that he would have begun writing these after finishing his work on the 12th and final main sequence book of The Wheel of Time. Jordan said, "Infinity of Heaven almost certainly will be written before the prequels, though I might do them between the Infinity books." Also according to Dragonmount.com, Jordan planned to write some side-story novels, before completely abandoning his decades-long work. Jordan had particularly stressed that this series would be significantly shorter than The Wheel of Time saga (about 6 books long and essentially two trilogies).

Though, sadly, Robert Jordan could not complete The Wheel of Time, and as such, both of these will most likely never see the light of day in any form. Officially.... 

- Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Legacy fully adapted.

OK, so I read some Raymond E. Fesit long ago during my pre-teen and early teen years. I didn't really 'follow' authors, but books I liked. The Riftwar Legacy seemed promising (especially seeing as I heard something related to a computer game). There was going to be five books: Krondor the Betrayl, Krondor the Assassins, Krondor Tear of the Gods, Krondor the Crawler and Krondor the Dark Mage. I was waiting...and waiting...and waiting....after Tear of the Gods for the next book. But it never came. I felt angry and disappointed with the author, especially seeing some new books that wasn't The Crawler, eve though that should have been the next one released (please note that the three Krondor Riftwar Legacy novels came out without any other books interspersed.) However, recently, the author had written a short story called Jimmy and the Crawler which ends the Riftwar Legacy. He used the main points and story he intended to use in the final two books combined in this short story. Nevertheless, I feel cheated and still have a sore spot about raymond E. Feist (he's not my 'enemy' or anything, but this experience has left a sour taste in my mouth) and believe that I will be happy with a full adaptation of all five Riftwar Legacy stories. I understand things happen, but I think this would be a wonderful opportunity if 'Raymond E. Feist', 'Riftwar', 'Krondor', 'comic' or 'graphic novel' get combined in the future.  

If you want to read more about what happened to end the Riftwar Legacy novels, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Riftwar_Legacy and here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_and_the_Crawler . I could easily a blog post just about that. 

That's about it on my personal wishlist, really. I shall close by asking (and please do comment) :

WHAT UNPUBLISHED OR FINISHED MATERIAL WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ADAPTED IN THE GRAPHIC NOVEL MEDIUM??  



 
   

March 23, 2014

Book Review: "Crossroads of Twilight" (Wheel of Time book 10)


At long last, I've finished reading Wheel of Time book 10. 

An Update of Reading and Books


So what have been reading lately, you ask? Well, for the past while I've been working my way through the fantasy series Wheel of Time. It's been part of my life for a while now - first heard of and started getting the books as far back as '03. I'm about to finish Book 10, then it's onto 11-14. After that, I'm taking a break from series / big books by reading Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl (also want to read that before the movie comes out). For the next series, I'm undecided on reading Daniel Abraham's Dagger and Coin, or Stephen King's Dark Tower. I'll read both, but which first? 

I have quite a few books to last me a while. My next purchases tho, will be Maurice Druon's Accursed Kings series. I'll buy all seven in paperback the day the seventh is released, all at once. I'm also getting George R.R. Martin's material. Winds of Winter is a given, as well as A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

I also like some good YA from time to time, and after winning Cassandra Clare's City of Bones off of Goodreads, I'm getting her books in that series. I have them all paperback thus far, and am awaiting the sixth and final in the main series, as well as Clockwork Princess, all in paperback. 

I've also pre-ordered Bernard Cornwell's Pagan Lord in the format I have his books in, as well as Ken Follett's Edge of Eternity. Once Patrick Rothfuss completes his trilogy, I'll get all three in one shot. Looking forward to reading those, but in no hurry to do so because of that. 

My next purchases though, will be The Ghost Bride and The Golem and the Jinni .

Recently for my Kobo I purchased some anthologies - Legends and Legends II, as well as Warriors and Dangerous Women. I will also purchase Rogues once it's available.Recently, I've gotten Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. At some point, I will also get the Earthsea books as ebook. I'm also curious to try out Windhaven

Lots of of books to read yet, and the 'to buy' pile, whether as ebook or print book never vanishes. 

 

March 20, 2014

Desolation of Detractors


I am by no means a Tolkien scholar. There most likely have been better articles and selections of words used to express The Hobbit (Part 2) , as well as the idea of a Hobbit trilogy, and how it 'destroys' Tolkien's work, and "isn't The Hobbit". This article will examine the 'problem's with The Hobbit films, many of which came to light in the second film, according to the detractors.

March 19, 2014

New Tolkien Book Coming in May



There's a new Tolkien book coming May 22nd. That's great news, but please note, it is not related to his 'Realm' (The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, etc.) but rather his 1926 translation of Beowulf. 

March 16, 2014

All in the Chemistry


Not long ago, I finished watching Breaking Bad All of it. Here are my thoughts.


March 13, 2014

The Lost Lore by George R.R. Martin


The following information is based on this blog post by George R.R. Martin: http://grrm.livejournal.com/360936.html
 
It seems that in this post George tells us quite a bit about what will most likely be a post Ice and Fire publication, but details the history and Houses long before Book One, A Game of Thrones, begins. I also consider Tales of Dunk and Egg to be a part of the 'Lost Lore' (not officially 'lost' but it has a cool sound to it. So cool, in fact, my own history will be titled The Lost Lore)
 
Anyway here's what we've learnt:

- The 'GRRMarillion' has a new official title: "Fire and Blood".
 
- since the blog post is about the Rogues anthology, George mentions that the "Fire and Blood" release will see a longer version of "The Rogue Prince", and will be more like a novelette rather than a novella (neither version is as long as "The Princess and the Queen", the shorter version of that appearing in Dangerous Women.)
 
- "...much of the ancient history of Westeros will be covered in THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE. Each of the seven kingdoms gets its own detailed history."
 
...and for those wondering about Book Six, The Winds of Winter..well, George has two monkeys on his back as of now: "High Stakes" (Wild Cards?) and 'Son of Kong' (his way to referring to The Winds of Winter indirectly). That, with both Bantam and Harper Voyager feeling confident in a 2015 release of the book, it seems to be getting closer to being completed and as a BOOK.
 
Then again, Rogues is coming out earlier and until that post, we didn't know George had a story for it! So...you never know. My guess of November 2014 - Feb 2015 could be accurate! 
 
And don't worry about the HBO series bypassing the books: I can see it going as few as 7 seasons, as many as 9. We'll have to see, but it looks like George is back on track and working hard.
 
Keep it up!  
 
Bottom line: when George wants to / needs to, he can put the pedal to the medal (look at what he clunked out for The Princess and the Queen.)

March 7, 2014

feBRWary in Review


After a tasty yet slightly expensive month, Beau's feBREWary has drawn to a close.

March 6, 2014

Wait for Desolation



On April 8The Hobbit (Part 2) is coming out to own on DVD, blu-ray, etc... but don't buy it!
 
Much like Part 1, as well as the Lord of the Rings films, the theatrical version is being released first, followed by an extended edition, later in the year. The extended edition features much more comprehensive special features, as well as a longer version of the film, which will breathe more life into Tolkien's world. Return of the King was almost an all-new film, whereas the The Two Towers explained and elaborated on some of the changes made by Peter Jackson, as well as why they were made.
 
I haven't seen the extended edition of The Hobbit (Part 1) yet, as I'm holding out for an extended edition trilogy set of all The Hobbit films, which will most likely be all three extended editions that exist (then) merely boxed up together. Should it be released. If for whatever reason there isn't a box set of all 3 extended edition 2D blu-rays, I'll just buy them all separately all at once. The extended edition for Part 2 should arrive late in the year, most like November or December. I'll keep you posted here, but wanted to recommend not getting the April release in favour of a better one down the road.

March 5, 2014

March 4, 2014

"The Ice Dragon" Returns

 
 
Good news everyone!
 
Yes, I will start 'announcement' posts in that fashion from now on...anyway, I was browsing Chapters, a national bookstore / book seller up here in Canada, when I noticed that George R.R. Martin's Ice Dragon book is being republished (a new edition?) in October of this year. I know nothing of the release, other than ISBN and release date, which is on the 21st.
 
The Ice Dragon is a great story, and worthwhile 'companion' to A Song of Ice and Fire, much the same way that The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a great companion to the Harry Potter series (especially Deathly Hallows); or Tales of the Perilous Realm to some of Tolkien's tales. Great as a bed time story for close to when children begin to move on from being read to before bed, to when they begin to read books on their own accord. Of course, the book isn't just for children. I did a review of it [last December??] and used that book as a great example for the existence of e-readers, in that at the time (and for a while before) The Ice Dragon was out of print.
 
It seems that this year we will see some George R.R. Martin releases, and re-releases with the possibility of A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (first three Dunk and Egg tales), The World of Ice and Fire, and a few others which are sure to be announced through the year. And, you never know - The Winds of Winter (Book Six of A Song of Ice and Fire) could still be released this year.
 
There is also the paperback release of Dangerous Women, paperback of A Feast for Crows with the HBO poster art of season four of Game of Thrones as the cover, the 'National Geographic' covers of the existing (and future?) Ice and Fire books by Harper, for instance.
 
Here is the info for the Oct. 2014 release of The Ice Dragon: (yes you can pre-order, hence the 'good news!'). I'll post more info closer to, or day of, release.
 
ISBN - 10: 0765378779
ISBN - 13: 9780765378774

The ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara's home. And only a winter child--and the ice dragon who loved her--could save her world from utter destruction.

Day of Radiance


The second book in Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight series is out today, in some formats such as ebook. Paperback editions will most likely follow about a year from now. Actually, speaking of paperback, the first book, Way of Kings, got released in an attractive larger-trim paperback today also. In addition to the massive sampling I did a while ago (collected all the sample chapters that were released into one blog post, linked below), here are all the "Glimpses of Radiance" released up to the book's launch as a tease. I believe that this series will be among the next big epic fantasy series. Enjoy!

All the samples: http://insurrbution.blogspot.ca/2014/01/words-of-radiance-excerpt-galore.html



March 2, 2014

"Remember when...?"

I'm a big fan of movies and 'cinema' though I don't blog about it often. I'm dedicating a post to 'Memorable Movie Moments'.