Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab



Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Book: Among Others by Jo Walton

Amazon UK classes this book is Literary Fiction, maybe because of its awards, but Amazon Dot Com classes it as Fantasy under the sub-gen Magical Realism, which is what I assumed myself when reading. I remember this book being pushed at the bookshop where I work.

The plan was actually to read The City by Stella Something - I keep forgetting, whoops. But it got to Wednesday and I realised I hadn't read anything for the Fantasy Challenge =S so I ordered The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman because it's shorter. Even with Amazon Student though, it would arrive on Friday as I ordered after 6 or whatever. So I thought, that's two days away, I might as well start reading what I have with me now. So this book was chosen due it being the shortest fantasy book immediately to hand. Based on the blurb, it isn't the fantasy book I would normally pick up, which is precisely why I did.


Among Others review

Image: Graeme's Fantasy Book Review
Author: Jo Walton
Publisher: Tor Books (Corsair in the UK)
Published: 2010 (Corsair edition)
Fantasy Sub-Genre: Magical Realism/ Urban

Blurb:
'It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.'

When Mori discovers that her mother is using black magic, she decides to intervene. The ensuing clash between mother and daughter leaves Mori bereft of her twin sister, crippled for life and unable to return to the Welsh Valleys that were her own kingdom.

Mori finds solace and strength in her beloved books. But her mother is bent on revenge, and nothing and no one – not even Tolkien – can save her from the final reckoning.



Summary. Mori goes to stay with her Dad and her aunts, after surviving the incident that killed her twin and stopped her mother from gaining power using magic. They send her away to Arlinghurst boarding school for girls, which she hates, but she manages to build a network around her through her top grades, her poetry writing skills, and her immeasurable love of SF and F books. Buuuut, she begins to realise things about magic that not only turns the tables on the way she's been using it, but also places her in danger of the others who wield it. I think that's a pretty good summary. It's actually gives you a bit more to get your teeth into, and I didn't give too much away, I swear XD  I mean I didn't, oh and by the way, if you're looking for a spoiler free review you're in the wrong place.

First of all, the writing isn't as smooth as I have gotten used to lately. Far, far better than Kay's Tigana, but not as beautifully creative, emotive and imagerial (that's a word, I checked. Though I wish there was a better adjective for the word imagery) as Brennan's A Natural History Of Dragons. It doesn't distract from the story and it's soon forgotten.

The story is told by a fifteen year old, but is nowhere near as dramatic as I've found Young Adult books to be. The character Mori herself is very likeable, mainly because she is clever and has a compassion for the beautiful and the magical, and also because she's a huge fan of the Science Fiction and Fantasy literature of the time - the 70's/80's. Otherwise, her circumstances leave her very cut off from others and she spends a great deal of time in her head. It gives us a lot of interesting and often hilarious musings as we read her journal. A journal was the perfect style for this book, as Mori's isolation meant that there wasn't a huge amount of dialogue in chunks of the book.

On the note of SF and F, I've got so many new titles to read up on from the 70's! I loved that this book was set in the past, and the description was lovely. I was really intrigued about Welsh culture and bemused by Mori sharing her family's complicated and illustrious history, but I just loved her critique of the dozens and dozens of books explored. I generally felt awed by such comprehensive knowledge. I'm working my way towards being that knowing on the awesome fantasy genre!

Magic is so subtle, you don't even stop to wonder if any of it is plausible. I loved how naturally it weaved into the plot. I must say though, it fell just short of A Natural History Of Dragons' realism, but Among Others was darned close. The portrayal of the 'fairies' was pretty amazing; I'm sure I've said so before but there are not my favourite fantasy race. (And yet for some reason they're in my book. =/ ) I think the subtlety helped a lot with that. Blending the fairies into the terrain, both the physical terrain and the actual novel, was a very good choice in my opinion. By not overwhelming us with magical facts, Jo Walton succeeded in putting this book solidly in the Magical Realism sub-gen.

Didn't spot a single typo. After I'd taken the trouble of remembering which twin was the protagonist I was thrown when at one point she puts her whole name and uses 'Morganna' instead of 'Morwenna'. I even flipped back to the bit where her Dad is telling her what name he put down to make sure I hadn't gone batship crazy. It is later explained that she begins using her twin' name after Morganna died, so I'm glad Jo Walton didn't leave me hanging!

There another thing about this book. The sense of realism is achieved by the fact that everything is very subtle. Sometimes we are introduced to characters who have the barest minimum influence on the story. Many characters didn't have as much impact as I thought they would, but that's because I've read so much Epic and High, where devices are purposefully bought in for later use, that I expected too much. When I realised this and relaxed into where the story was flowing, it was such a nice experience because it felt even more like an authentic journal by not being dramatic.

That brings me to the ending. Interestingly, every single book I've read for the Challenge so far has ended in a way I didn't expect, and so far there have been both good and bad. This is one of the ambiguous ones. I have no idea what I was expecting - not a showdown, but I knew her mother would appear because the entire story was leading up to it, like how Half Bad [SPOILER FOR ANOTHER BOOK! JUST SAYIN'!] was building up to Nathan's Dad turning up. Er... he was called Nathan, right?

As much as I enjoyed the eerie semi-battle between them, I must say I just didn't Get It. As if it was meant to be symbolic and I missed the message. I've tried to read the ending in both a literal and figurative way, and (I can't believe I'm saying this for fantasy but) the figurative was even more confusing than the literal. So when the book ended, I wasn't disappointed or let down... but I was only barely sated because I knew Mori's troubles had come to a close, but how was just out of my reach.

I was disappointed Wim wasn't present at the end, but I admit this ending was probably better. Maybe I'm not a romantic but I do like teamwork. =]


The Verdict

***
Three.

- which was a no-brainer, unlike Dream London and Tigana. It couldn't be a four but for me, being the 'Wonder' type Fantasy Fanatic, I didn't feel connected enough to the story - which is ironic because the magic that Mori is often aware of heavily relies on connections. It didn't pack a punch for me, but it's a incredibly valuable resource for me as both a reader and a writer. I think I may even be able to use this for my dissertation, which is on fantasy if I haven't already said!

I must say though, this book did make me laugh out loud quite a few times. Mori is such a likeable character which I really value, and this insight of magic and fairies is different to anything I've experienced before.





Fantasy Food For Thought

'If I reached magic into that [...] for the bus to be coming right when I wanted it [...] I'd have to change all that, the times they got up, even, and maybe the whole timetable back to when it was written. [...] Goodness knows what difference that would make in the world, and that's just for a bus. I don't know how that fairies even dare.' (p.162, 2010 Corsair Edition.)

Second, one of the incredible concepts of this book is the way magic works. Magic is not flashy and doesn't at all feel 'magical'. Instead, it alters circumstances so that what you want will come to pass. For example, Mori muses that if she used magic to make the bus come, how many peoples lives had she affected, making them get on and off at the exact times and the bus travelling at an exact speed to reach her destination exactly when she wanted it?

But Mori is guilt ridden because she doesn't fully understand how casting magic is not meddling in other peopels lives. For example, when she wanted a karass, she used magic, but how far back into the past did magic have to alter events of Wim, Janine, Pete, Hugh, Greg, Harriet and so on, so that they would be there, at that exact moment and place, to become her karass?

It raised a FASCINATING question about magic disrupting the narual course of time to work. Fascinating.

And a more trivial question... fairies. Wings or no wings?



Ashana Lian .

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Anime: K

I just realised - this is the first Anime post I have done! O_O What is WRONG with me?

Interestingly enough, having just read through this review, I can safely say that it's MOSTLY spoiler free ( O_O Yeah, I know!! ) But there's are little bits that I would caution... well, I generally say, if you're going to read any review on this blog, don't expect it to be nonspoiler-friendly.




It's called K. Just K. But I suppose to save the frustration we would get if we typed the letter K into Google, it's also been called K-anime and K-Project, phew. It was released in 2012, and it's only one, short series =( but as I always say, the best stuff I have come across have been short. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I like this anime as much as - or maybe more than! - Nabari No Ou. Nabari has been my favourite anime for a good few years now and it seems, finally, an anime has come along to take its throne.

K-anime is so awesome because it's fantasy, it's a murder mystery, it's high-school life, it's thug life and it's high society, all at once.

Summary. It's about a boy who is wrongly accused of murder, but unfortunately his face has been captured on camera and the killer is identical to him. It's a story about him trying to prove his innocence - that's the first thing. The second thing is the people he trying to prove is innocence to are the Clans, who all have a certain supernatural ability. There are seven different clans, most notably blue and red, and every clan has a King, who can wield incredible amounts of power. The person murdered was from the Red Clan, and this sends the Red King into a fury - so Shiro, our brave hero, has to run for his life, prove his innocence, AND evading these clans who are trying to get him for various reasons. All at once.




Favourite Clan - so, as much as I like the Blue Clan, called SCEPTER 4, for their creepy unison and precision, I love the Red Clan, HOMRA, most of all. To them it seems less like business and more like family. The devotion is completely different. Two of my favourite characters are in this clan; Misaki and Mikoto.



Favourite Character - I debate over this a lot, but in the end I always say Misaki (sometimes called Yata-chan), even though he is a hotheaded butthead. Gotta love the swagger. Though he swears a lot. When I studied a Japanese short-course at university, my Sensei told me that you couldn't swear in Japanese. Sooo, that was a revelation. To the point, it was that first scene, where Yata-chan smashes through the window on his skateboard, that sold three things for me - the anime, his clan, and him. Sold sold sold. GO TEAM MISAKI YATA!
--> Mikoto is a close second. For someone with so much rage, he is very good at waiting and biding his time, which makes it even creepier and crazier and even more awesome when he finally unleashes his powers. But I can't finish the list without saying Yashiro Isana, who I loved even before you discover his true identity at the end. (I suspected something with seemed pretty obvious, but it wasn't what I thought it was.) And man, that twist, by the way, was MINDBLOWING.
--> Other characters: As expected, Kuroh was entertaining. The girl at Shiro's school, whose name I always forget, was quite sweet although I expected her to be more to the story than she was. I preferred the way it turned out though. Neko - strangeAF or what! And her nakedness the first time she appeared was quite disconcerting. Okay, very. I believe my precise words were WHATTT.



Image: Red Clan HOMRA, Shiro, Neko (the 'cat'), and Blue Clan SCEPTER 4


Favourite King - Hmmm... Mikoto. The secret King at the end as well is a close second.





Favourite powers - This one is particularly hard, because the use of their abilities in this anime is so creative. I quite liked Misaki's flaming skateboard until he faced Fushimi and used it as a sword... yyyeah, I wasn't much convinced by that. At the beginning, three things made me WOOOW. First, Misaki smashing in through the window. Second, Mikoto jumping from the balcony. Third, Kuroh with his hand-pully-thingy. c: Other than that, it's hard to call favourites. It was one of the things that impressed me most about this anime. Good fantasy superpowers - well thought out, well animated, and in that particular dazzling way that I like - are surprisingly hard to find in the world of anime. Or maybe I've just become picky. Or lazy... they're all valid.





Fantasy Food For Thought

ONE. Clans. What are the skills of the members of the clan? What can the leader/King do that the others can't? Why is he King?

TWO. Secret identities. This is done in fantasy AAALL the time. Oh so-and-so-non-important-hero, you are not a farmer's son. You are actually, THE KING OF THE WORLD! And he's like WAAA-?! And you're like WAAA-?! And I'm like WHATDAFAA-?!
It's a trope that is slowly but surely being worn to death, alongside the Guess What You're My Son, aka. Luke I Am Your Father. Use with caution.

THREE. Identity cards, such as the one the students of Ashinaka High School use to get in and out of the complex. Not remotely fantasy related, but I thought about them all the same. It there any possible way to make this popular hi-tech accessory unique again?

FOUR. Using inanimate objects to enhance supernatural abilities. SCEPTER 4 use swords, HOMRA are more impromtu; cigarette, skateboard, baseball bat, and so on.

FIVE. In K, they called thie abilties 'Aura', which fuckin' sucks ass because that's what I call it for my Karalan novel. Damn. And yet, I don't regret deciding against calling it 'Chi'.

And I wasn't going to, but why not. SIX. In K, a Strain is a being that has supernatural powers without receiving it from a King. I liked the anomaly, because it seems a little bit like nature. Things are the way we expect them to be, and yet it would be strange if there were absolutely NO exceptions to the rule. That's given me a thought...



Ashana Lian .



More info? - k-project.wikia.com.

More images?

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Book: A Natural History Of Dragons by Marie Brennan

I am very eager to share this one with you! This review is a little bit late - I only just finished the book. This book is as sophisticated as it looks. That gorgeous cover... :3

Around the time I was reading Tigana, I spotted a Press Release for this book on the fantasy blog Bookworm Blues. It caught my eye because the competition is to design your own dragon, and the winner's dragon will be included in an installment of The Memoirs Of Lady Trent (So there's gonna be more than one book then... *sigh*) and get an advance reader copy of the third book! Sweeeet. I'd like to think that I would have entered if I had more time - I found out the day before and I had work the next day, so I decided to pass it up. But boy, what fun.

Okay soo... remember my warning? Never. Spoiler. Free.

*

A Natural History Of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent review

Image: Swantower
Author: Marie Brennan
Publisher: Titan Books
Published: February 2014
Fantasy Sub-Genre: Historical/Science Fantasy

Blurb:
"You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart no more so than the study of dragons itself..."

From Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, Lady Trent is known to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist, who brought the study of dragons, into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we now know, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning and natural history defied the stifling conventions of her day. Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects and her fragile flesh to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.




This book is incredible, just to be explicitly clear.

Quick summary - Isabella Camberst, a world renowned dragon naturalist, writes a memoir of her life. We are taken from her curious childhood interest in dragons and anatomy, where she must keep her unusual pastime quiet, to how she manages to find a husband who doesn't disapprove, to intriguing discoveries and hilarious incidents, until she ends up on an expedition that leads to her staring a dragon in the face. Well. In the hind leg, really.

The decision to present this book in memoir-style gave it a realism I would never have expected in a fantasy book, even with the fancy names of places. Although, the fantasy names for places, in my opinion, were extremely good. Scirland is my particular favourite; it doesn't sound half as ridiculous as other's I've heard. A Natural History Of Dragons is one of the few fiction books I have read where I sometimes forget while reading that it's fiction. That last time that happened to me was reading The Fault In Our Stars.

Brennan achieved this in several ways. First of all, the narrator, Isabella, addresses the reader. Nothing startlingly new - Lemony Snicket does this in A Series of Unfortunate Events. But in addition, Isabella/Lady Trent talks about her other readers, her fans, and her previous published works which makes it so enticing to believe this is fact backed up by evidence.

Another thing - and this I love - is that there are no illusions about the nature of dragons; they are predators. They are not pets and they are not your friend. They are creatures with distinctive markings, behaviors and habitats; if you are lucky, you will see one. If you are unlucky, it will eat you. Despite crushing all of my fanciful (Eragon-ish, How To Train Your Dragon-ish) thoughts about Isabella maybe finding a talking dragon (gasp) and then they become friends and she can ride on its back (GASP! DAENERYS STORMBORN!), I much prefered how dragons are firmly established as king of the food chain in the animal kingdom and, although glorious, can and probably will kill you with one paw/claw. Paw? No, Claw.

There's one line I absolutely loved;
'Sheep eat the grass, wolves eat the deer, and dragons eat everything that doesn't run away fast enough.' (p.177)
That was hilarious. I loved that.

This book was pretty fluid, though I'd be lying if I said that wasn't one line, just one, that threw me; 'I retied the laces of my boots and shoved errant strands of hair beneath the Vystani handkerchief with which I had restrained their fellows.' (p.243) This was so odd. It's not that often trivial details are interweaved between dialogue, and it reads in such an awkward way. That whole sentence was so awkward. I also spotted one typo (hardly significant but ya know,) Part Three: '... a demonfrom the ancient past.' Because the words were run together I first read it as 'demon form', which made little sense, and I read it again and guessed maybe it was a typo. Heh.



Image: Geek Exchange

Look at that cover art. =D Wings unfurled, mid-stride. Isn't that magnificent?


I meant to say - the cover for this book captivating. It's how I knew I was going to buy it the moment I picked it off the shelf. It reminded me why I still love buying the hard-copy books.

Two more things I ad-d-d-dored-d-d. First, the notes at the start of each chapter. I liked being thrown a bit of info on what was to come; it made me even more curious and eager for the next chapter. The other thing is the illustration because... well because YAY, ILLUSTRATIONS! =D Aside from the fact that I rarely see images that aren't maps in fantasy fic, unless of course it's for kids, I thought it was so appropriate as Isabella sketches her findings and her interest in dragons is largely on an anatomical level. I loved seeing sketches of the various breeds of dragons. The incredible blend of science and history in together with fantasy give this book a groundedness that I rarely ever see achieved in fantasy writing. I can't praise highly enough. And I can be very critical about fantasy books, as I've demonstrated previously!

The setting and manner of the characters in this book reminded me of two things - the first for some reason is Pride and Prejudice, I think the way in which Isabella got herself a husband made me think of it. Now we're on the subject, I did adore Jacob as a character. He seemed awkward and distant at first, but as he developed, and of course his relationship develops, he becomes such a lovable character. The second is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell, I think partly because her husband is called Jacob and partly because of the travelling to a foreign location thing.

Plot. I began to wonder where the story was going when I passed the halfway mark and they still hadn't left Drustanev. I realised, a little too late, that she wasn't going to retell all of her adventures in this one book! Which made sense and, admittedly, was probably better. But what that lead to, when they were too many obstacles stopped them from continuing their work, was basically... a murder mystery. Very much Who Dunnit. Er, of course, they didn't know there'd been a murder until later. I was surprised again when we were given nothing until the second-to-last chapter, right at the end, when everything unravels all at once. But it wasn't unsatisfying, there were enough details to hold my interest.

What I was appalled at, was Jacob's death. Colour me stunned. I just... was not expecting that at all of a character I so adored. Okay, Marie Brennan, you got me. I was shocked. It added a powerful emotional core to the novel (a bit late, but still powerful) because with such a small cast of characters already, the loss of a central character left a gaping hole, allowing me as the reader to feel a tiny shred of loss and confusion as Isabella Camherst did. Aw.

Finally, my favourite character! It was Isabella, interestingly enough; I sometimes get so frustrated by BS fantasy protags. My favourite dragon... hmm. It's tempting to say rock-wyrm. Also very tempting to say sparkling. But in the end, I have to say in particular the albino Vystrani rock-wyrm, or the 'runt' as they called it. The description of it was enchanting.


Image: Goodreads

I don't normally pledge myself to a series so early but I was just so impressed by this book, I will definitely be on the look out for The Tropic of Serpents.


The Verdict

*****
5 Sha's!

Finally! I think, without knowing it, I have been waiting for this novel all my life. Teehee.

This book is the first Five so far in the Summer Fantasy Reading Challenge, and for good reason. I loved the way it was written, I love how realistically and seamlessly fantasy creatures were woven into the fabric of this reality, and I was just so taken with this astoundingly organic idea. Yes, yes, I know dragons have Been Done. But not quite like this... I assure you.



Ashana Lian .

Thursday, 22 May 2014

TV Show: The Lost Room

Image: geekshizzle

Ever since I saw this years ago, I haven't been able to get it out of my head. It is further proof that many of the best fantasy plots are short, and actually have an ending in sight. Plus, the original motives of the story aren't diluted by sequels, spin-offs, endless episodes, yada yada yada.

Brief summary. This is about Detective Joe Miller, who ends up on a case where he discovers a key that opens any door. Once opened, it leads to a golden, mysterious room, and once inside, exiting the room can take you to any place you want to go in the world. His daughter ends up playing with the key and shows him that the room resets itself whenever the door is shut - they put toys in, next time the door is opened it disappears. However this is only one of a vast number of objects that was have unusual, unpredictable abilities, and the more you use one, the more it draws the others to closer. Sadly, during the case, one of the men after the key put his daughter inside the room without it, and it resets with her inside. The rest of the tale is driven story of a quest to find his daughter and OH MY WORD the mythology is so amazing brilliant.

So, it was out in 2006... so I was in Year Nine...? I believe this was around the time of Heroes, which I also loved back then, but what makes this series so special is how clever and intriguing it is, how seemingly unrelated instances actually link together. Magical objects - done before. But the abilities given to the objects are highly creative, in my opinion. There's the added fact that the objects attract each other, and putting objects together allow new things to happen - one example given in the series is when you put the watch and the knife together, you get a telepathy. Additionally, they all came from the same room that you can get to using the key, and the circumstances regarding that room are... well, I suppose Highly Unusual would be an understatement.

The haunting music is lovely, though the refrain isn't as awesome as the one for Fringe.

I liked the involvement of the different groups trying to get their hands on all of the objects, for different reasons - also known as Cabals. The Collectors were the original group, and after them came the Legion, trying to destroy them to prevent harm to innocents, and The Order Of The Reunification (exaggerated, much?!), who believe the object are pieces of God and once put together will allow communication. I liked the varying motives and the desperation each cabal has for their own personal reasons.

You know who's awesome? Suzie Kang. She tracks the items but never comes into contact with them, and doesn't look twice at you if you can't pay for it. Awesome addition to the show.



Now I want to say a few spoilery things.

One thing that I always loved about the show was the twist of Joe being stuck in the vault and using Wally's ticket to get out. It's obvious once you've seen it, but when I watched it for the first time I remember being bowled over. So clever. I also liked the process of actually getting into the vault, using the secret code that The Collectors had left. The scene with the Occupant was quick and effortless, and I expected the conversation to go differently than it did. It's the only bit that I could say was a little disappointing.

I couldn't help feeling annoyed by Joe and Jennifer's sudden, unpredictable switch from I Can't Trust You into a relationship. It doesn't make any sense at all. No chemistry, no logic, no reason at all why there had to be romance. Dude, the show was going fine. But hey, at least the show wasn't riddled with holes. In all honesty, I suppose there weren't enough episodes to allow that to happen.

My favourite character was Wally, mainly because he was funny but also because he was clever and seemed very well aware of the ins and outs of this dangerous game. My favourite object was the Glass Eye, which disintegrates matter; the quarter, which... materialises memories of people dead or living, I suppose; and the key, which of course is the jewel of the whole show.


There's one thing that's a bit bizarre, though - why this is called a 'Science fiction' show. You have a bunch of objects that can do thing unexplained by physics, or biology, or even chemistry - that's not science fiction. That's fantasy. Unless, of course we are going with the theory mentioned at the beginning, about The Event that happened in the room in 1961 being a small breakdown in a pocket of the universe, where the laws of physics go haywire. But that is a theory, it isn't proven. I think this should a called science fantasy, because not enough is explained to make it SF, but just enough to not completely discount it. It sits on the hedge. I mean fence. Meh, it's all Spec Fic.

Oh... I suppose when we get to the alternate dimension part, at the end, I see why it's called science fiction.


Image: Wikipedia



Ashana Lian .

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Fantasy Magazines (Part 3) - Sci-Fi Now, Fantasy Art, Comic Heroes, Comic Artist, Imagine FX, etc.



Continued from Part 1 and Part 2.


I picked up Sci-Fi Now because I'd finished watching Fringe and it's gotten me back into Sci-Fi for the time being; Start Up Your Own Business, because I am going into my third year of university and I'd like to plan what in hell I'll be doing afterwards; Fantasy Art Genius Guide, because I like fantasy art and wanted to see more on it; Comic Art, because dude-it's-comics-why-not; and Comic Book Heroes, because the cover was '75 Years of Batman' and I love Batman aaaand it also had a really cool feature on the origins of Wonder Woman. The fantasy art magazines had some incredible, inspiring artwork.

Later (like last week or something), I also bought How To Set Up An Online Business and Imaginefx. But the way, all of them were pretty good - although the Start Up Your Own Business mag had more white spaces than information! It wasn't impressive to open up a page and see white, more white, a huge illustration and then two paragraphs. Literally. I should've taken a picture. But they were all useful in their own way, and hopefully they'll help to get my website on the road.

I'm not really an impulsive person... if I buy something other than the necessities, it's usually food or otherwise a book. So even though I haven't bought a magazine in probably a year or two, I was very surprised to find myself buying about a year's worth, like five at once, making the total rack up to a staggering £45.95. Basically I was buying 5 books worth £9.19. Daaaamn. And that's not including one ones I bought later...

I'd like to view it as an 'investment' in my 'field'. When I view it like that, I won't panic and take them all back. Plus, I know (from past experience) that having bought those, I will study them over and over several times, and I won't even feel like buying a magazine for... usually another year or two.





Ashana Lian .

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Book: Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

A-hoy-hoy. Here's my next selection for the 2014 Summer Fantasy Book Challenge. It's a long book, so the review is on the longer side. As always, I write whatever I feel like - emoticons and profanity are permitted as expressive tools =] - and my posts are not spoiler free. Enjoyy.

*

Tigana review

Image: www.goodreads.com
Author: Guy Gavriel Kay
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Published: February 2011 (this edition)
Fantasy Sub-Genre: I thought this was an Epic because it's an enormous book, involves a wealth of characters, and the whole world hangs in the balance. But actually I think it's High, or at least a mix, because of the magic, because of the complicated moral decisions and because it really delves into the inner core of the characters' emotions.

Blurb:
Tigana is the internationally celebrated epic of a beleaguered country struggling to be free. It is the tale of a people so cursed by the dark sorceries of the tyrant king Brandin that even the very name of their once beautiful home cannot be spoken or remembered. But, years after their homeland's devastation, a handful of men and women set in motion a dangerous crusade--to overthrow their conquerors and bring back to the world the lost brightness of an obliterated name: Tigana.

Against the magnificently realized backdrop of a world both sensuous and brutal, this masterful novel of a passionate people pursuing their dream is breathtaking in its vision, and changes forever the boundaries of fantasy fiction.





Thursday, 15 May 2014

Fantasy Magazines (Part 2) - #SFX 248


Continued from Part 1.


So, SFX #248. Front cover is X:Men, which seems to suggest that Mystique is the young version of Storm. Ha lol psyche.

This issue came with a free copy (more like a taster, I suppose) of Darren Shan's Zombie: Circus, which was really cool because I'd been a fan of the Demonata series at school and now my younger brother is loving the Zombie series. He almost snatched it away when I told him he could add it to his collection.

I'm glad that there was a big feature on X-Men as I do love X-Men. I am, however, doubtful about X:Men: Days Of Future Past, reason being that the source of the hype and excitement seems to primarily come from the collaboration between the two X-Men casts, but that's aboooout it. I went 'Oooh!' the first time I heard too. But from what I've checked out so far the story seems hopelessly boring. I've seen awesome storylines for X-Men in the past, so that was an Awwwh. I have seen the trailer. It doesn't impress. And yet, maybe I will still go and see it. I dunno. I might - just to see Ellen Page. I've had more reason to admire her over the years.

SOOOO what else does this magazine offer? Well there was a VERY cool two-pager on the teams of the X-Men universe. I loved that spread. The not-to-be-missed on TV, a lovely page on Hayao Miyazaki, an note that Captain America 3 has already been decided, an awesome two-page feature on the Sinister Six (Spidey Villains) and they picked Jared Harris for Doc Oc! Having just finished Fringe, I think I would LOVE to see that. I would love to see him in ANYTHING.

I did scan the TV section just in case, but as usual nothing grabbed me. Plus I haven't sat in front of the TV for so long - might as well not break the habit now. =P Oh, did I say? Alphas and No Ordinary Family has just been added to Netflix! Yup! But, the magazine - I don't much like Godzilla so I skipped that. Yet ANOTHER review of Divergent - I've come across a lot, now, and the reviewer of this issue of SFX gave it a higher rating than the last one. There was a lil' feature on London Super Comic Con, which of course I went to. There's also this thing called Comics Unmasked happening, which I don't think I should miss.

On the front 'HUNGER GAMES 3! All you need to know!!!' Really? One page of info we already knew? Okaaay then. A page on the adaptation of the book The Maze Runner, which I didn't even look at. I feel bad, because it's really not the author's fault I'm bored of this concept, I know a lot of similar but just as worthy books had been published before THG. Plus, that said, I still love reading Battle Royale because its awesome. And I still like The Hunger Games. I just don't have the strength to invest fangirling power into something new.

And of course the book section, my favourite bit. Memory Of Water, Thief's Magic, The Oversight, Peacemaker, Son Of The Morning... I've got a lot for my TBR list. I did read the YA section but I wished I hadn't. I feel like the more I even try to show an interest or even respect towards this genre, the less I like it. Anyway, I've been telling myself I'm gonna read all Terry Pratchett books - now would probably be a good time to start.


Fantasy Magazines Part 3 - coming soon.

Ashana Lian .

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Fantasy Magazines (Part 1) - SFX #247



So, I've been getting into magazines lately.

I have been very much out of the loop for several reasons; the first being health related, the second being that blogging became a chore, the third being that I'm so sick of having to get up every day and switch on my laptop, so sometimes I just don't. Seeing as I'm making a conscious effort to get into 'my field' more, I thought 'Why not.' I've already finished my first choice for the 2014 Summer Fantasy Challenge, and you can find the post on Dream London Here (Next up is Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay). But - its also occurred to me that I should keep on top of what is current, as well as trying to make a dent in my TBR pile.



A while back I picked up SFX #247 and a SFX Special Edition, which was titled Fantasy but the front cover was also Game Of Thrones - which made me a bit nervous and sadly my fears were right. MOST of it is Game Of Thrones, which I am a little tired of now. Having followed the books since what... maybe almost a decade ago, and having seen the one scene I was waiting for - The Red Wedding - I'm not really interested in the show or the story anymore until the next book is released. After all, there is so much other fantasy waiting to be found.

So, front cover Game of Thrones. There are 3 free gifts; a poster that didn't much 'wow' me and two ebooks that I haven't checked out yet. As I haven't read a F and SF magazine in ages, it was really refreshing to get this wealth of info at once. I don't like one after another after another, though.

What was most valuable to me was the up and coming books and thing. There was an article about this interesting comic called Ordinary about the last man on earth without superpowers. Not a daringly original idea but I'd still be interested to see what angle it takes and where it goes with the idea. Also the book Rebecca Newton and The Sacred Flame caught my eye. So did The Manual, interesting idea. The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August, I've had my eye on that for a while because it's like an idea I had. Guardians Of The Galaxy caught my interest because it was described as a Space Opera. After Firefly, I will willingly take on a space opera! I wouldn't have been saying the same this time last year!

I also loved, on the letters page, the bit that read 'This Month in SFX History', and they show you what headline of the magazine was 5, 10, and 15 years ago - which by the way was (in order) Terminator Salvation, The Day After Tomorrow (which I adore) and Blair Witch! Awesome. And strange. 15 years ago, I was 6.

I also really enjoyed the Female Role in SF Blockbusters. I have thought about it before - being a female writer with a protag. that is female. On that front, I think about what I am/should be portraying through my book. I loved looking at the chronology of Batman! Especially when it got to Batman Beyond, which was a particular favourite of mine when I was younger. The film The Machine looks awesome and I'd love to check that out at some point.



The SFX Special Edition - Fantasy, The Ultimate Celebration. it was indeed cool, though not really that 'ultimate' - most of it was Game of Thrones and there was little information there I didn't already know. But I did enjoy reading the Game Of Thrones by numbers section.

As for the rest - I think the most useful part was the 25 Greatest Dragons. (And I just gotta say... FALKOR IS A LUCKDRAGON?! O_O Whaaattt =O )  But to be honest, the magazine I thought would be the most useful for me was actually the most useless for me. =( I am sad. But never mind - there's always next month. =]


Fantasy Magazines Part 2
Fantasy Magazines Part 3 - coming soon.



Ashana Lian .

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Book: Dream London by Tony Ballantyne

HELLOOOOO and welcome to the 2014 Summer Fantasy Book Challenge! After a long time of not having read any 'proper' fantasy books (or to be honest any book for fun, seeing as I still read critical texts for university) I am very excited to bring this feature to my blog. As always, I write what I feel and unless stated, these posts are not spoiler free. So don't get mad if you find out that Ned Stark dies. LOLjk. He does though. But not in this book. =P

This first choice was going to be Tigana, but this is now likely to be next week's. This week's choice...

 *

Dream London review

Image: solarisbooks.com
Author: Tony Ballantyne
Publisher: Solaris
Published: October 2013
Fantasy Sub-Genre: Goodreads - Urban. Me - Slipstream.

Blurb:
Captain Jim Wedderburn has looks, style and courage by the bucketful. He’s adored by women, respected by men and feared by his enemies. He’s the man to find out who has twisted London into this strange new world, and he knows it.

But in Dream London the city changes a little every night and the people change a little every day. The towers are growing taller, the parks have hidden themselves away and the streets form themselves into strange new patterns. There are people sailing in from new lands down the river, new criminals emerging in the east end and a path spiralling down to another world.

Everyone is changing, no one is who they seem to be.




The concept of this book was just CRAZILY, crazily incredible. I picked it up off the shelf at Foyle's Westfield on Thursday and knew immediately it was the one I wanted to buy, (choosing it over The Night Eternal by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan - I'll get to that later this month). Dream London is about a man called Captain Jim/James Wedderburn (debatable) who finds himself  investigating this curious, twisted London that keeps shifting all the time. The towers keep growing taller, the river Thames grows wider, strange creatures quietly turn up in the city, its impossible to leave, and most disturbingly the people change and don't even realise it.

This book, I'll admit, started off shaky. It was difficult to connect with this - somewhat arrogant - protagonist, but his sense of humour and (begrudging) acknowledgment of his faults glossed that over a bit. I felt like the first few pages were very 'explainy'. That's a word I really dislike and I don't use it as a positive adjective. I just felt there were better ways to draw the reader into what was going on, but what we got was good enough. It did get better. It was SO refreshing to read a fantasy not filled with typical mystical garbage - the old evil priests, bad magic, unpronounceable names thing. No disrespect - that was how I got into fantasy in the first place. But I'm a bit tired of it.

Dream London is so distorted from how London actually is that there's scope for some absolutely beautiful imagery in there. There was this one description about the half-moon almost piercing London on it's 'horns' - almost gothic, darkly beautiful. And there's this great quote by Rudoph - [Dream London] 'is what you get when science is explained by artists. Something which looks beautiful, but doesn't make any sense.' (p.151)

Dream London gives people the roles in society that apparently it wants them to have, meaning that certain ages, races and social groups are all bound by those roles. Also, the men are 'brutalised' and the women degraded - a majority of the women in Dream London are either cleaners or prostitutes. New arrivals in the city can hold onto their personality for three weeks at moment, because they start to conform without even realising. Even Jim Wedderburn, who looks after the prostitutes of Belltower End, finds himself coming across things that alienate or disgust him. It was uncomfortable at times, reading about a world when women have been reduced to such a pitiful and meaningless existence. Given what we find out about the ants, I think it makes sense. Didn't make it any less uncomfortable though. Also I just finished a bit of university work on The Handmaid's Tale... well, you know how that goes. A lot of misogyny about, huh? Not in itself, but the representation. When I try to think about what it means, I eventually get lost in the complicatedness of it.

Okay. Onto one of my favourite bits!

I really marvelled at the chapter where Jim goes to learn accountancy and suddenly realises, when he tries to count to ten, that the numeric sequence now goes - 'One, Red, Two, Blue, a feeling of setting out on a journey, three, a feeling of fulfilment, yellow, four, five, orange, six, cyan, seven, eight, green, nine, purple, ten.' He can't think how he knows the sequence, and yet when he does mathematical sums, they work. Because he know it's not right and can't figure out how, he's instantly pulled into a deep depression. I thought it was really interesting. It was made very eerie when the mathematicians all end up committing suicide. It made Dream London feel very malevolent.

One very interesting point of this book was Jim trying to convince himself of who he is. When he was defending his bullshitty actions, it was easy to empathise with him until he's confronted by a scathing yet rational character like Bill. As awful as she is, what she says makes so much sense that it makes him seem like he's in denial - which would makes sense if Dream London was getting to him too. Another aspect I love is the shifts that Dream London puts into effect. The Egg Market and the Truth Script were great, the Fortune was interesting although it was a little pointless as I expected it to be of more use to Jim than it was.


Favourite character - its tempting to say Bill (I call her Billie-J in my head so I can remember she's female... yeah, I cheated, idgaf) for the first half, but I grew to dislike her insincerity. I must say Mr Monagan, the happy orange non-human. His innocence and childlike optimism is just so endearing and I can't help but adore his character. Second favourite is Rudoph because FINALLY, he is the character that brings the clarity. He helps us start to make sense of all the creepy non-logic going on in this messed up city, and his wealth of knowledge was refreshing. My favourite quotes are from him.



The Verdict

Actually, I'm dithering between a three and a four. Three suggests mediocre - it isn't. It's more than that. It is a passive but enchanting type of fantasy that gives your wacky right brain a lot to imagine and your sober left brain a lot of interesting concepts to think about. For that, I want to give it a four.


***
3 Sha's.


Buuuut ultimately I end up on a three, because the one thing that makes the book so amazing is the very same thing that holds it back. The one issue bugging me about this novel is that the protagonist doesn't find the action - the action finds him. Which isn't a problem. The adventure DOES normally find the hero. But the dreamlike set of events in this ever-changing London take the drive away from the story.

Because Dream London changes, expands, shrinks, and creates intoxifying illusions and allures, it casts uncertainty cast over everything including where the plot is actually going. There's no real way for Capt. Jim to fight back or hold his ground against multiple enemies in a city that you can't escape and changes all the while. He's distracted, enchanted and manipulated - and even at the end , the part meant to be the climax, things comes together with difficulty, like trying to get fog into a jar.

So with that, I gotta say I did enjoy this experience, and I would recommend it. Just... well, yeah. ^

  


Image: wallpoper.com


Fantasy Food For Thought
[Jim] said "How could you work in there? Didn't the numbers drive you mad?" 
"Not if you understand what's really happening up there," said Rudoph. "Dream London isn't a fantasy, Jim, it's science fiction." (p.138)

I really liked that quote because it made me think about the line between magic and science. Magic, the unexplained - science, the explained. Or further, if you want to take it there, the line between Fantasy and Sci-Fi. Rudoph saying that was pretty iconic because NOTHING made sense in Dream London. The idea that there was still a logic and rationality to something that was ultimately nonsense was an idea that stuck with me. Kinda like saying Wonderland still has it's own, self-contained logic.

Not gonna lie though, another thing this book makes me consider is the roles of men and women in fantasy fiction. I tried to leave that alone but it was hard. Anyway, I thought about it, topic closed.

And finally, this made me think of fantasy societies. I am highly interested in laws, politics, religions and customs of fantasy societies... though I prefer when it doesn't completely take over the wonder of the fantasy element (often in Low Fantasy). 'London' is in the title for a reason - its about the city. It's about the citizens' relationship with the city, what the city does for itself, and how the city relates to Other Places. It draws attention to the hidden web that strings that fantasy world together.



Ashana Lian .

P.S. Next up... Tigana!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

TV Show: The Event


I watched the event maybe... maybe a few years back? I watched it up to the bit where Simon Lee betrays Sophia, then I just stopped, I don't remember why. Anywho, I finally finished it. =] It was either my Mum or my sister who told me about it. I liked it because there was a clear supernatural element, but it wasn't made obvious by intense and pointless special effects. It was just as much about the intrigue, the political difficulties, and the relationships between characters as much as it was about the fact that this show is about... aliens.

One thing I really love is how subtle the use of supernatural elements is. I don't normally say that but I guess I'm tired of seeing amazing, flashy effects covering up an awful story. The Event had a gripping story, at least to start with, and I was pulled in the mysteries and the intriguing non-chronological scenes of the first few episodes. It was very political and, as usual with TV shows involving aliens, did the thing of the aliens being held in deep suspicion with the odd characters sympathising with them and trying to help them. One thing that really hooked me is how the initial relationship between President Martinez and Sophia had so many good intentions, which then just unravels more and more until all that's left is a bitter feud, with each side trying to protect themselves.

Later on, however, it did start to become predictable. As the series was cancelled, some things were never answered. I understand why Dempsey was after the extraterrestrial girls, but the details of that were VERY sketchy. I was agitated towards the end at how ambiguous Simon Lee was about their origins, about the EB's 'being there first', when he seemed to have the answers Sean was after. To add to that, after Sean Walker found Leila, I'm not sure I felt quite convinced that his role in the show was purposeful. It should have been, though, with all of his skills and experiences thus far, but I wasn't convinced by his teaming up with Vicky and alongside the rest of the happenings in the show, it just didn't compare. That was a shame because I did quite like Sean and Vicky.

It would be interesting to find out exactly what the capabilities of the extraterrestrials are. You get a hint of what they can do, which seems to be more to do with technological advancements than anything else, but that's kind of... it. There was this interesting tea ritual scene with Sophia, Simon, Thomas and Isabelle, but to be honest, what that was all about, I don't really know. I feel as if some details were dragged out in the hopes of unfolding gradually, but sadly all that's left now is an isolated season one and whole lot of questions.



Image: superfr8d.blogspot.co.uk

List of favourites.

Favorite character: This is a hard one!! Can I do a top 3? First and foremost is Simon Lee. He's the voice of reason, the moral core of the show, so to speak. His good-naturedness and determination to do what's right makes want him to win. Even though it can be argued that his character is predictable. I suppose.
---> My second favourite is Sophia - how could it not be? Her command over her People is clearly powerful through the way she inspired loyalty and faith, though I never understood why she is their leader, maybe I missed that information. I wonder if she was next in line, or if she was elected, or if she simply asserted her right to lead.
---> Two more characters, Thomas, who is interesting because of his aggression and bitterness, and awkward relationship with his mother. And Vicky, because she never changes. I don't normally say that as a good thing! She was my Constant for this show, like Astrid was for Fringe. She was a pro at her job and very resourceful, I liked that a lot. Though I couldn't help rolling my eyes that her distraction was always the Dumb Girl In Need Of Help routine. Though I suppose maybe it makes a point - after all, it worked every time.

Favourite antagonist: Blake, that is, because he started to have faith. His suspicion and unease about the Eb's made him very cold and in some aspects ruthless, when made me dislike him a lot and shout at the screen at lot too, but I did like his development. of course by the time he began to see the EB's weren't all bad, President Martinez had lost his patience and wanted them gone.

Favourite twist: When Sean Walker gets back to his room and find that his identity has been erased. I loved that bit because I couldn't figure out [A], how they'd done it and [B], how the hell he would prove that his girlfriend did exist! It was one of the reasons I just had to keep watching. Though, I forgot - someone remind me - how did he know Michael Buchanan was gonna crash the plane again? Because every time I think back, I can't remember how he got a hold of that information.

Favourite episode: I dunno why, but the, when Simon Lee is exposed, EB's collapse the Washington Monument, Thomas dies, Sophia's people use their tech to transport the bus out of there, and... basically a lot of shit goes down. I'd also like to add in Simon Lee being saved by a mystery caller - did we ever find out who that was? - but I think that's in the next episode.

It was a shame it ended. There was a lot of room for improvement but I thought the foundation was pretty solid. Anywho, I enjoyed it while it lasted... and that end-of-season cliffhanger really left me hangin'.




Ashana Lian .

A.S. When I get the chance, I'd like to review The Lost Room. Its a 3-part miniseries that I really loved, and I watched it a long time ago. I'd like to find it first and watch it again... hopefully that isn't too hard a task.

S.A.S. I have changed books for the Fantasy Challenge, by the way - from 'Tigana', to 'Dream London'. It's a lot shorter so hopefully I can get through it quicker.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

TV Show: Fringe

Image: Fanpop wallpapers

Spoilers Galore. Bewaar.

So, I finished watching Fringe last week. Finally, is the word of the week. Two Tuesdays ago, I had only just started watching series two, so to say that I CONSUMED this five-series show, with me not much liking TV, would be... well, I suppose somewhat accurate.

I remember years ago when my Mum and sister were hooked on it and telling me to watch it, and my response was 'meh'. And now I've watched it in my own time and of my own free will, I'm even happier that I did wait for a time I could appreciate it best. One thing in particular is that it wasn't as predictable as many other sci-fi shows I have seen. It has been compared to the X-Files and in all honestly, I watched that when I was a kid and can't remember much about it.

Fringe tells a tale that stretches so far that looking back is really just unbelieveable. There's one quote in particular that I like, I can't remember who by, but the essence was that you get to season 3 or 4 and a new character comes in, and their bewilderment and incredulous remarks reminds you just how far the rabbit hole you've gone. That was a great quote because you reach a point where a character will make serious suggestion about travelling to the alternate universe and that doesn't even strike you as odd, let alone CRAZY.

The aftermath of it is that I spend a lot of time thinking about what we consider to be real and also what we consider to be acceptable. To say a lot of people die is a understatement in a big way. Some methods and reasonings used aren't that far away from what you might see in CSI, which is a bit creepy. I'd be lying if I said it hadn't made me a bit paranoid of the people around me, glancing around suspiciously on the train with shifty eyes.


The series takes you on such a ride that it is easy to find those unanswered questions from season one slipping away from you - unless they suddenly remind you of it in season 4, that is. I thought they were never going to bring back the light box, or the cylinder, or David Robert Jones, actually, and when they did I was actually cheering and whooping at my computer screen (Fringe was courtesy of Netflix, by the way). There were bits that made me cringe, that made me feel on edge, bits that made me burst out laughing too, thank you John Noble.

I must say though, the sense of loss is so immense, particularly at the start of season 4, when you know that everything's going to be alright - and yet, the history from season's 1 to 3 has been entirely erased, only to be remembered by Peter and Olivia. And then again at the start of season 5, when the Observers have taken over the world... not a comforting thought.

Anywhoo, I could do a series by series breakdown but I'll just do a list of Favourites. :)



Favourites

Favourite character: Olivia Dunham. It just had to be. And alternate universes was a sly way to show us how diversified Anna Torv's acting skills are. The William-Bell-possession should have made me cringe, but actually I quite liked it. Awesomeness.
---> I must also say though - Sam Weiss, Charlie Francis, Lincoln Lee (and Nina Sharp in Season 5), I ADORED. It was nice to see so many strong male characters. Usually I side with the females in a sci-fi because the males are often stereotypical and boring. Many characters had their highlights, especially the main team, but I liked a lot of the side characters in Fringe.

Favourite antagonists: DAVID ROBERT JONES, I love this guy! I was thinking in Season 3 - I would've loved to see more of that guy. And then it got to Season 4 and we did. David Robert Jones has an impressive intellect made creepier by his unwavering calm and patronising smile. The only part for me when the mysticism began to fade was discovering that he did all of this just to prove himself to William Bell. Not for some hard-to-understand higher purpose, or a quest for power, but to say I Told You So to a father-figure. I dunno about you, but that kinda killed it for me. Emphasis on kinda.

Favourite Series: This is quite difficult. I want to say Season 2, because the revelations about Peter seriously gripped me. But ultimately I must say Season 3, because the alternate universes was done so well. Despite that the risk of upping the ball game could bring the delicate balance of the series crashing down, Fringe pulled it off. Having seen it all, I can quite confidently say - it always does. And let me make it clear that I was VERY DOUBTFUL about Season 5. But somehow, Fringe did it again.

Favourite Episode(s): 'A New Day In the Old Town', first episode of season two. I was just getting into to the swing of the series and that was was so dynamic with so much going on. I loved the addition of the shapeshifters, how for some unknown reason Olivia was reduced to a paranoid, frenzied state, even the new agent introduced, even though I was wary of Agent Jessup at first. I was soooo angry that Charlie died, he was such an awesome character, and his alternate. I really liked Lincoln Lee too, though he had a cheat head start because the first time I saw him I mistook him for Alternate Nick Lane. Don't ask me how, I kind of scratch my head embarrassedly at that.
---> I also loved the episode 'Peter', mainly for its answers and revelations but also for it's INCREDIBLE speech between Walter and his lab assistant, that was repeated in 'Black Blotter' of Season 5. It was a truly a phenomenal scene, so emotive and powerful and, at that point and time in the series, incredibly significant. The crazy '19th' episodes were an entertaining break from the norm, they don't fall into my favourite list though.

Favourite Object: There's two. Cylinder thingy that is allegedly the 'beacon' that helped September find his way back to the timeline... but more than that, the light box. That light box fascinated me from the moment it was introduced the first time. The main reason for that it, Jones said the light box was the First Test, so somehow I assumed that there would be a series of them, increasingly difficult in solvability (LOL. Is that a word?), but it just turned out that it was the prep before the Life-Or-Death scenario that was the bomb. After that, I was thinking about that light box for ages. In series 3, I made a hopeful prediction that maybe the interface of Walter's Weapon was like the light box, so Olivia could turn it off/on with her mind. As it turned out, it wasn't that far a throw because she had to end up doing something of the sort to get Peter inside. Later on, the adjusted timeline DRJo brought it back and I was like 'YAY!' only... y'know. It wasn't revolutionary. [sigh] Oh well.

Favourite 'Over Here' and 'Over There' Doppelganger Interaction: Astrid and Alternastrid, that was priceless.

Favourite Cortexiphan Ability: In all honesty, Olivia's, even though to this day it is not clear what that is. When it got to Season 4 and she started being able to possess peoples bodies, I kinda threw my hands up, swore at the screen and lost faith in the whole thing. I loved cortexiphan when it was hard to control, logical when used but otherwise a mystery. But then I felt like it was used to explain away some pretty unbelievable shit. I mean it's Fringe, so I'll take it. But honestly. I just don't even know. Come Season 5, I was thinking - if this cortexifan ever comes back... GAH. (By the way, it did. Second to last episode of season 5. I was just... urgh. SO disappointed.)

Favourite WTF?!: The episode Jacksonville (Season 2) when the two dimensions began to overlap. Of all of the Fringe events, that one had me reeling for pretty much the entire episode. And if I may, I would also like to include the episode Earthling (Season 2) where people turn to dust via being shadow-alien possessed (sigh) and the first generation of shapeshifters, because that was pretty messed up. The second gen are boring tho.

Favourite Twist: Season 5, finding out that September is Donald! That was like WOOO!!

Favourite Cliffhanger: The episode (end of Season 3) when Peter was erased, because for the love of me, I just couldn't figure out how that dimension could still exist at all without him. They made it work though. That's second. The very first, the one that made me scream aloud at my computer with shock, was the end of series 2, realising that the Over Here Olivia was trapped in the alternate universe.


And I must say, the final final episode (S05E13) when they storm the Observers HQ was truly something to admire. So many familiar Fringe events, all under one roof. And that lasting image, the White Tulip, pheww. It was so subtle, I couldn't hardly believe that was how the show was going to end. But then I guess, like Walter's disappearance for the rest of the team, it doesn't really hit you until later.




Ashana Lian .

P.S. I have been slacking with this blog. In all honestly, going into all the reasons is a bit painful at the moment, so let's just say it is a chapter passed. My health is improving, so that is something. Also, the Summer Fantasy Challange has started! I'm reading 'Tigana'.

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