Tag Archives: Fantasy

Island hopping, in classic fantasy style

Mired in a deep freeze, the bold Beamers of 2019 huddled together to consider a fantasy set in an archipelago of many islands, frequented by many goats.  Ursula Le Guin’s seminal fantasy, intended for younger readers, A Wizard of Earthsea, sent us back and forth across her map and even off the eastern edge of …

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The devil (and the goddess) lives in the details

On Tor.com, Aidan Moher reports on an interview with Charles Vess, the artist chosen to illustrate the complete collection of Earthsea tales (The Books of Earthsea) published in October 2018 by Saga Press. One of the most important request that Ms. Le Guin made for the illustrations was that they show the everyday lives of …

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Downloading the Necronomicon

The far-flung provinces of the Beamer Empire demanding attention, only a small cadre of Beamers were gathered on a rainy night in Montclair to plumb the depths of Charles Stross’s overstuffed hero sandwich of a book, The Atrocity Archives, first in his Laundry Files series.  Aided by the able circuits of the IntraWeb, several of …

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Taking light steps when climbing Gold Mountain

Our tight-knit community of readers gathered to discuss another tight-knit community, the Chinese immigrants and offspring of San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1898, the setting of M. H. Boroson’s debut novel, The Girl with Ghost Eyes.  As a debut novel, it does show the kinds of flaws that are frequently seen in first published works.  Boroson …

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Once a king, always a king, but once a knight is enough

With a good dose of August chasing the Beamers into the chilly embrace of Panera’s, the subject of this month’s book, King Arthur Pendragon (or Arthur Penn to his new NYC constituents), brought out some heated discussion, much along the lines of whether we do need a “once and future king” in these unsettled times.  …

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I, romantic

When it comes to matters of the heart, it appears that those of us with positronic brains are the most level-headed.  New research on the romantic awareness of American adults shows that readers of sf and fantasy are the least likely to submit to a number of romantic illusions (or “myths” as the study authors …

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And she lived, ever after

Coming up on the dark time of the year, with the longest nights, the Beamers took a trip into the darker recesses of fairy tales and folklore with Tanith Lee’s collection of revised tales, Redder Than Blood.  Known for her wide-ranging interests and settings, Ms. Lee was one of the originators of the current fictional …

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The Wizardess of Earthsea

For the Folio Society publication of The Wizard of Earthsea (2015), British novelist David Mitchell, best known for his Cloud Atlas interwoven speculative tale, offered a heartfelt appreciation of Ms. Le Guin’s compelling fantasy creation, the archipelago of Earthsea: Earthsea is a fantasy world, and proud of it, mapped by its creator in 1966–7 on …

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Eight fought adventure

On the cusp of Summer, eight stalwart Beamers grappled with the flashing swords and dark sorceries of Fritz Leiber’s redoubtable pair, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.  Though, as in true Beamer fashion, many doubts about the pair were raised, particularly with regard to their paramours.

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A not-too-perfect Stranger

On a brisk December evening, a hardy band of Beamers gathered for a brisk discussion of A Stranger in Olondria, the debut novel by Sofia Samatar.  A coming-of-age story and a ghost story and a love letter to the printed word all in one, the various flavors intrigued but somehow did not move the Beamers …

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