May 19, 2009


I'd like to call your attention to Quilldragon, where I and a bunch of other talented blogging types will be putting forth our thoughts on the concept of 'fantasy literature'. Put it in your feedreader!...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2008

A Game of Thrones on TV

And then, in contrasting news to my last post, George R R Martin's A Game of Thrones has a production order for a pilot episode from HBO. Read more about it on Martin's Livejournal. The books are one of my...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 9:37 AM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2008

Wizard's First Rule becomes Legend of the Seeker

You've got to wonder why, when someone is looking around for a fantasy book to make into a TV series, they'd ever look at Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule. It's badly written. It has zero character development. It's badly plotted....
Posted by Drew Shiel at 3:22 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2007

Writing Sample: Nebbish's Demon

This is a writing sample for a project I'm considering setting up....
Posted by Drew Shiel at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2007

On Economic Fantasy

There's an excellent post up on SF Diplomat about economic fantasy. This is the kind of stuff I'd want to read, and it's why, of all the fantasy books I've ever read, Raymond E. Feist's Rise of a Merchant Prince...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2007

The Dark Is Rising Movie

Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising, which was originally optioned for a movie by Jim Henson pictures in 1997, is finally hitting the big screen in September of this year, from Walden Media. 20th Century Fox is also involved. As...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 12:18 PM | Comments (1)

January 18, 2007

Song of Fire & Ice TV Series

American cable company HBO have acquired the rights to make a TV series of George R R Martin's A Song of Fire & Ice, according to It'll be scripted by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. Martin is quoted:...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 4:20 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2006

Mythical Japanese Monsters

The Obakemono Project is a collection of monsters from Japanese mythology, illustrated and with descriptions. It's an excellent resource for anyone looking for material for an Oriental game or setting....
Posted by Drew Shiel at 10:21 PM | Comments (1)

July 9, 2006

Pirates: Dead Man's Chest

We just saw an afternoon showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Now, PotC: The Black Pearl had pirates, zombies, and a monkey. What could be better?...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 6:07 PM | Comments (0)

July 8, 2006

Dragonlance, The Movie

Just when you thought it was safe to look around after the D&D movie.... it's Dragonlance on the big screen. Animated. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman are apprently both happy with the script, and Lucy Lawless (Xena, if you didn't...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 11:04 PM | Comments (3)

June 12, 2006

China Miéville: Un Lun Dun

China Miéville's upcoming novel, Un Lun Dun is now available for preorder from There doesn't seem to be any information available about it, beyond the title, but I'm guessing (complete guess, now) that in the vein of King Rat,...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 10:27 AM

June 10, 2006

Moorcock on Tolkien

Michael Moorcock wrote an essay many years ago about Tolkien, which I've only just discovered, called Epic Pooh. That's Milne's Winne-the-Pooh, not anything more toilet humoured, mind. I don't agree with him, and find his own prose turgid, pretentious, and...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 1:12 PM

May 18, 2006

Peak Magic

People are giving some attention to the concept of peak oil now, as the idea catches up that oil is not an infinite resource (although there still seem to be people who think it is). What if magic were also...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 11:50 AM | Comments (2)

April 21, 2006

George R R Martin

Fact: George R. R. Martin's books blow me away. This comes to mind because I passed by while doing some interface research for work, and there was a link to A Feast for Crows, and huge chunks of the...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 3:31 PM | Comments (1)

March 20, 2006

Quality in Epic Fantasy

I'll probably comment more on this, but for now, have a link. A 2002 essay by Alec Austin of Strange Horizons on Quality in Epic Fantasy....
Posted by Drew Shiel at 1:19 PM

January 17, 2006


I've been slightly bothered, ever since I saw The Chronicles of Narnia, by how big an impact it didn't have. It can't be helped that I keep comparing it in my mind to Lord of the Rings, given the connections between the original authors and the similarity of presentation of the two films. And I'm slowly, reluctantly, coming to the conclusion that the reason that the film didn't hit hard is that, well, it was the same as the book, and the book wasn't all that good.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 1:03 PM

December 14, 2005

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

I went to see the Narnia film last night - whatever it's technically called, it's just "Narnia" to most people. It was such a faithful rendering of the original that it didn't feel like watching a film, though, but more like re-reading the book. But there was one thing that made the viewing very strange, and will probably make viewing any fantasy film for the next several years very strange: I kept on seeing bits of Lord of the Rings.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 11:59 AM

October 6, 2005

Anansi Boys

I'm reading Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, and like anything Neil produces, it's genius. I'm starting, finally, to notice some patterns in the writers I really like, the ones that make me miss stops on the bus because I'm so engrossed...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 1:55 PM

August 16, 2005


Sometimes research doesn't go the way you expected. I'd been doing some reading up on Mesopotamian mythology, trying to figure out why dragons occur in metaphors and similes so much in the texts. The way those folk refer to dragons, you'd think they could see them every day.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 1:57 PM | Comments (1)

July 20, 2005

World of Warcraft

On further inspection, this appears to be a good game. I'm not prepared to say that it's a better game than Dark Age of Camelot, but World of Warcraft has different strengths. One of these is down to the server rather than the game itself; there's no RP server for DAoC in Europe, and there are two for WoW. All comments here apply to the low levels, of course - I've not been at it long enough to reach a higher level than 14.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 12:32 PM

July 8, 2005

China Miéville

And one more, a fantastic interview with China Miéville, which covers all of his books, and a lot more besides. Well worth reading....
Posted by Drew Shiel at 2:14 PM

July 1, 2005

Gardens of the Moon

Coming hard on the heels of my disappointment with Hidden Empire, Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon was very much in contrast. This is the first of a series; The Malazan Book of the Fallen, and I'm going to be looking for the second book, Deadhouse Gates, in short order.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 1:57 PM

June 9, 2005

Future Projects

It's been announced that A Feast For Crows, George R. R. Martin's latest book, is now going into production. It got so big he had to split it in two, so we get half now and half later. In view of this, when I was looking for something to read while commuting today, I picked up A Game of Thrones. It makes me think.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 8:55 AM

April 6, 2005

Review: Catacombs

Dark Age of Camelot's newest expansion, Catacombs, was released in Europe at the beginning of April. Some distribution problems over the Easter Weekend meant that it didn't arrive everywhere it should have, leaving many of Europe's MMORPG addicts twitching. It did get there, though, and the result is that I, at least, am blown away.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 8:45 AM | TrackBack

January 13, 2005

Early Influences

I remember fairly clearly the first fantasy books I read. I was seven when an older cousin handed me a copy of The Hobbit, and said, "read that". I went home, read it, and came back in a couple of days time, and asked, in that cool, uninterested way that seven-year-olds put on when they want to look grown up, "That was pretty good. Have you any more?" And he grinned, and handed me Lord of the Rings.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 12:59 PM | TrackBack

January 10, 2005

Avoiding the cliche

Over the holidays, I read both Clive Barker's Abarat and Diana Wynne Jones' Tough Guide to Fantasyland. There's more connection than you might think - such that I'd almost think that Barker wrote his book while paying careful attention to Jones'.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 7:19 AM | TrackBack

November 9, 2004

Arriving in Dark Age of Camelot

Last week, I finally got hold of a PC game called Dark Age of Camelot. It's a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) in the style of Everquest, Anarchy Online, and a host of others. I've found it to be far more attractive and far more interesting than either of the afore-mentioned, though, and I'm trying to work out why. I was sceptical about it at first - I'm not keen on having the theme of my games restricted to one genre or culture or the like, as any player in my D&D games will tell you.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 9:55 PM | TrackBack

July 17, 2004

No Iron Council Yet

I haven't yet got my hands on a copy of Iron Council, the newest book by China Miéville, and the third set in New Crobuzon. What I have been doing, though, is reading every review of it I can find.
Posted by Drew Shiel at 11:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Out Now and Coming Soon

I try not to pay too much attention to the listings of what books are coming out soon. I like to know what's there, of course, but sometimes, I'll see something coming down the line from a favourite author -...
Posted by Drew Shiel at 2:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack