Fantasy magazine

From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism





Siobhan Carroll, Author of The Black-Iron Drum

Siobhan Carroll grew up in Canada and (briefly) Saudi Arabia, where she developed a taste for international travel that will no doubt serve her well in her villainous quest for world domination. When not trekking through exotic lands or building armies of superbots she is hard at work writing her dissertation at Indiana University. In her nonexistent free time she dances, sketches, and consumes more media than is good for her. Her fiction has been published in magazines like Realms of Fantasy, On Spec, and Son & Foe, but so far this has not appeased her desire to conquer the multiverse.


Blog For A Beer: Culture Clash

This week Silvia Moreno-Garcia gave us an excellent primer on the many ways in which fantasy filmmakers completely mess up Pre-Columbian cultures by lumping them all into one group, assigning practices and beliefs they don’t have, and generally turning them into random brown savages. Because who cares, right? They’re all dead anyway. Oh wait…

Hollywood is not the only offender when it comes to misrepresenting non-American, non-Western or non-white cultures. Literature, comics, television, and even games get in on this party. In your experience, what are some of the worst offenders?


Berrien C. Henderson, Author of The Nest Building Habits of Children Inclined to Ornithomancy and Other Such Auguries

Tell me a little about The Nest Building Habits of Children Inclined to Ornithomancy and Other Such Auguries. What was the first image or phrase or impetus that made you sit down and spin it out?

Many of my stories simply begin with that ubiquitous, “What if?” “What if in contemporary society there was a subculture of ornithomancers?” So, yeah, it’s high on the weird radar, but that’s right up my alley. The answer really came in the first sentence: “By the time I was four, my father began teaching me the subtleties of reading crow flight — most other birds, too.” Now, that particular sentence came to me while writing a totally unrelated short story. The idea, the image of a father and son, the fragmented memoir of the nameless narrator all gelled so fast for me that I had to stop mid-stream on that other story to write “The Nest Building Habits of Children Inclined to Ornithomancy and Other Such Auguries.” And the sucker spun me out.

Where do you get your ideas?

Finding the fantastic in the everyday. I want to see one of the Fey Folk in the shadows of a few acres of planted pines. See Celtic triptychs swirled in the dust of a dirt road. Watch some crows light in the trees across the road from my property and wonder… The ideas mostly come as images. Sometimes a snippet of dialogue. Again, in this particular story’s genesis, a first sentence. The ones that start with a last sentence are the most fun to me, though.


Deb Taber, Author of The Summoning of Spirits Too Far From Home

Deb Taber is Senior Book Editor at Apex Publications and a graduate of the Clarion West Writers’ Workshop. She is also Managing Editor at a horse magazine by day and the slave of three cats by the light of the moon. In 1993, she turned her back on her native Denverian heritage and trekked westward and northward to Washington State. On the way, she saw a really big pig. Really big.

Her fiction has appeared in Apex Digest and Shadowed Realms. Her nonfiction has appeared in many places, often as a ghost writer, but the only one she’s currently admitting to is a posting for the Nebula Awards blog. When not playing with words, Deb plays with moderate voltage at less moderate heights in her freelance work as a lighting designer for theatre. She’s been known to paint, sculpt, and make jewelry too, but lately she’s taken to something called “sleeping” instead. She’s not very good at it yet, but she plans to be.

You can catch her infrequent ramblings at her blog, or you can get more frequent but less direct rambles (and poetry) from her cats.

The only other thing you need to know about Deb is that she might possibly own the world’s largest private collection of Halloween socks.

I have to ask — what are your favorite Halloween socks from your collection?

You ask the hard questions, don’t you? I have a pair of black cat socks I like to wear to work because they have big yellow eyes that peek out from my clogs. Their stare makes one of my coworkers very uncomfortable. I also just bought a great pair that are bat argyle. I don’t think most people realize how conducive the bat shape is to an argyle pattern. Then there are the black cat socks with all of the fish skeletons… so many to choose from.


A Brief Pause

The Fantasy Magazine staff would like to take a moment to encourage you, if you’re an American citizen (and registered), to please vote today. No matter who you’re voting for, it’s important to do so and exercise your right. The evil alien overloads aren’t here yet, and until they are, we have a choice. Please use it!

Regular content will resume tomorrow. Until then, enjoy this bit of election humor and this week’s excellent story.


Randym Thoughts: Punk’d

Steampunk is a fine example of a semi-mainstream trend in fashion and technology that developed hand in hand with a similar trend in fantasy literature.

But there are some other, lesser-known trends inspired by fantasy literature that a few brave souls tried out, but sadly failed to inspire a large-scale following.

Join us as we explore the Heropunk, Seusspunk, Nimhpunk, Pernpunk and Heraldpunk movements (and their unfortunate outcomes).


Top 10 Literary Steampunk Works

Halloween is on the horizon, and we know the steampunk set will be out in full force with the goggles or monocles or corsets or lace. Though Jeff Vandermeer helpfully pointed out to us that the steampunk subculture arose independent of literature, we still think that the heart and soul of the gears, steam and magic is found within the pages of books. To that end, Fantasy staffers Nicole D. Leffel and Samantha Chapman solicited the opinion of several steampunk aficionados on what books and stories fans of the genre should read. Our thanks to Jeff Vandermeer, Jay Lake, Keith Thompson, and Evelyn Kriete for helping us out.

10. The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia (IndieBound | Alibris | Amazon)

7. The Scar by China Mieville (IndieBound | Alibris | Amazon)

5. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman (IndieBound | Alibris | Amazon)

3. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore (IndieBound | Alibris | Amazon)


Alex Rose, Author Of The Plagiarist

The Plagiarist had many lives before reaching its current state. Originally, I’d written it as part of a novel — a kind of intertextual detective story — which ultimately went nowhere. So I lobbed off my favorite parts of the ill-conceived crime novel and crafted them into stand-alone short stories. My favorite section involved a character hired to follow a woman whose husband had suspected her of adultery, only as the man follows her through the apparently mundane activities of her day, he finds himself entering and re-entering a series of narratives which may or may not have been written by the same jealous husband. Anyway, that soon became vertiginous and impossibly convoluted, so I scaled it down further and further until it reached its current state: man finds magical book on subway. At the time, I’d been very influenced by Cynthia Ozick’s marvelous (and totally neglected) novel, The Messiah of Stockholm, which is about a bookseller searching for the lost manuscript of Bruno Schultz — in real life, the greatest fabulist writer of mid-century Poland.

Where do you get your ideas?

Usually, they begin as a form of plagiarism. Really. I fall in love with books — usually non-fiction books — and attempt to emulate them. I do so clumsily, and eventually fail, and the failure becomes something of a model for a first draft. My hypertext novel, Synapse,was borne of a failed attempt to recreate Don DeLillo’s White Noise by way of Annie Dillard’s An American Childhood. My story collection, The Musical Illusionist, was a stab at recasting the Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA as a work of fiction. Jonathan Lethem published a ingenious essay in Harper’s last year about plagiarism; I defer to him on the subject.


Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer

The Artemis Fowl series is about a teenage former sociopathic genius criminal and an Elven hot-shot, loose-cannon cop. They fight crime. No, really.

What began as a deep rivalry between the titular criminal and his fairy enemy Holly Short (and their various companions) has, over the course of six books, morphed into a friendship. With the main hostility gone, it’s felt increasingly like author Eoin Colfer has been reaching for things to do. This time it’s that old fantasy favorite: Time Travel.


Lit News: Andre Norton’s Legacy; Awesome Heroines of Epic Fantasy

  • Grasping for the Wind lists 9 Awesome Heroines of Epic Fantasy — good thing they’re asking for suggestions, because I went “OMFG where is Hari from The Blue Sword and Aerin from The Hero and the Crown and Morgaine from The Mists of Avalon?” But then I also don’t know what counts as “epic.”
  • Terry Pratchett talks about his dementia — bringing a sad but much-needed bit of awareness to the world of mental disorders. He is a great genius. 🙁

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