I submitted a short-story to this new fantasy magazine recently and, although the story was rejected, I received some very useful feedback on exactly why the editor didn’t like the piece.
Magic, according to those who dwelt on such things came in two main flavours in the Middle Ages. Natural or occult magic was based on special properties of natural occuring things, for instance magical properties of certain herbs or animals etc, whereas demonic magic was specifically the summoning of spirits for evil.
The latest of Inside the Blogosphere is available at Grasping for the Wind. This time our subject was:
I found this story about the perils of Warcraft yesterday. Quite funny. I don’t play Warcraft, but it captures well the perils of becoming too involved in anything at the detriment of your loved ones.
again for the umpteenth time and he recommends that all fiction writers should be writing poetry to improve their own style (use of language, rythmn etc). I used to write poetry when I was a young ‘un, but have fallen out of the habit, but I can see where he’s coming from, so I thought I’d re-engage.
Scientists are using new technology to search for the tomb of Ghenghis Khan. The tomb is thought to be near the Onon River in Mongolia, but has never been found. Just imagine what one might find in the tomb of one of the greatest figures of world history. If they do find it that will make quite a story and no doubt will require a reassessment of many things Mongol!
This is a fascinating new piece of research about the formation of societies amongst our ancient hunter gatherer ancestors. The researchers conjecture that egalitarianism became dominant as more intelligent humans were able to form closer social bonds with others to prevent the dominance of society by stronger alpha-male leaders. Thus the social group was ruled by consensus rather than dominated by a hierarchy of the strongest.
What happened after this phase – why in the first civilisations did hierarchical systems dominate. The researchers aren’t quite sure but conjecture that individuals were more able to control the flow of new technology resources such as weapons, information and food and thus making coalition size less important – so the masses were enslaved by the rise of technology! An interesting thought as we head into the 21st century with seemingly less democracy and less freedom around every day.
There is an interesting review of Philip K. Dick’s UBIK: The Screenplay over at SF Site. I read the novel last year – it’s got to be one of Dick’s more surreal books. I didn’t like it as much as The Man in the High Castle or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, but its a good book nevertheless. The reviewer at SF Site says that the screenplay, written by Dick for a film that never happens, is actually better than the novel, perhaps because of the divine dreams he had experienced after finishing the novel, but before writing the screenplay. Strange indeed! As is Ubik, but a great work of speculative fiction also – something sorely missed in today’s writing – not enough real weirdness about.