WWW: August 1, 2012

Hello, faithful readers. You’ve probably noticed lots of changes here in the last little bit and this is another one. I (Ruth) am taking over writing the WWWednesday column from Justin, because Justin has some new exciting stuff up his sleeves that you’ll be seeing soon. This column is probably going to look a little different under my tenure here in the comfy chair, because every writer has her own style. Mine can best be described as a mix of dragonfire and glitter, with a healthy dash of snark.

So, what fantabulous things have I seen on the internets in the last week, my dear readers?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews1. Patricia C. Wrede (pronounce the last e) wrote a great post on her blog about how to write believable battle scenes. If you’re a burgeoning author, head on over and check out her advice – it involves the children’s section of the library – so you can keep from annoying your future readers. As she so eloquently puts it,

unintentional stupid military mistakes on the part of the author really, really annoy a lot of readers. (This is not a problem when it’s obvious that the commander is supposed to be an idiot, but you still have to do all the planning, because there are some varieties of stupid military mistakes that simply will not be made by even a very stupid commander, so long as that commander has any military experience at all. The writer needs to know what these are and how not to do them, so that the fictional stupid commander can be realistically stupid in all the right ways.

2. The delightfully talented Felicia Day announced that Season 6 of The Guild will debut in December. If you’re not familiar with the web video The Guild, it follows the exploits, both off and on-line of a guild of MMORPG players. Also, über science fiction fan favorite Wil Wheaton shows up a few seasons in and becomes a recurring character. (Stan Lee, a Mythbuster, and Neil Gaiman all show up in Season 5.) Season 6 will be airing on the YouTube channel launched by Felicia and friends, known as Geek & Sundry. If you aren’t already subscribed to the channel you should be, because beyond The Guild, it also hosts a science fiction/fantasy book group called Sword and Laser, Felicia’s FLOG where she tries to level up her real life, Wil Wheaton playing board games with his geeky friends (think of what the lovechild of Celebrity Poker and Comic-Con would be like and you have roughly an idea of the talent and humor) and Felicia just announced that her Vaginal Fantasy book group will be moving its meetings to the channel as well. (Vaginal Fantasy is a paranormal romance book group.)

3. Nerdist News suggests five new sports to add to the Olympics based on our favorite science fiction and fantasy books.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews4. Peter Jackson officially confirmed the hints he has been dropping: The Hobbit is going to be a trilogy. I am not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, “Yay! More Middle Earth!” But on the other hand, are we going to lose the narrative arc of The Hobbit in an attempt to include all the appendix information that Jackson is going to be mining for expanding the story. I mean, The Hobbit was written to be read aloud to an eight year old, and I’m not sure I want it greatly expanded.

5. I’m probably unhealthily obsessed with astronomical phenomena that could result in the demise of our planet. I watched a Nova episode once where the main topic was the black hole at the center of the galaxy that will eventually consume the whole galaxy and destroy us all. I was quite concerned about this until one of the people in the episode mentioned that this will happen many million (billion?) years in the future. I was thinking, “Maybe you could have brought that up a little bit sooner!” Seriously, a little disclaimer upfront would have been nice.

That’s just a really long way of saying that there could possibly be a rogue planet on the loose and we have no idea where it might be. The generally accepted model of the moon’s formation is that it was created when a planet hit the earth, throwing off large amounts of matter that then were then formed into the moon through gravitational processes. However, there is no evidence that there is any matter on the moon that does not have a terrestrial origin. We would expect to see remnants of the planet that impacted the earth. Since we don’t, a new theory is emerging that we got hit by a much larger planet that then ricocheted off into space. We just don’t know where it is, or if/when it will come back. That’s a happy thought.

6. An excellent speculative fiction short film set in a possible near future. Less than eight minutes to change the way you see the world. “Sight.

7. In the wake of that “Hot Girls Can’t Be Geeks” debacle that I’m not even going to bother dignifying with a link, a group of my girlfriends and I are talking about doing Comic-Con in full cosplay glory next year. And so here is Frumpy Girl’s Guide to Cosplay. Funny even if you would never venture to a con or don a costume.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews8. And just as I was getting ready to finish this column, Brandon Sanderson updated his Facebook status to say “I’ll be prewriting Stormlight 2 and editing The Rithmatist over the next few weeks. But I also want to write something new.” I know authors do not belong to the reader, and are not little automatons churning out prose for our delight, but sometimes (all the time?) I get so frustrated when authors start new series before finishing the ones that they are working on. Especially when they ended the second book on a cliff hanger. And (maybe?) killed off a main character. And then go write lots of other series instead of finishing up the series. And that may or may not cause me to have a visceral reaction any time I hear that author’s name. Or see their books. And that I had to physically restrain myself from hiding all their books from their brand new series when I saw them at the bookstore this morning. Purely hypothetical example, of course.

Write what you want, Brandon. I don’t review you, anyway.

So, dear readers, feel free to weigh in on any of the above links. Does a Hobbit trilogy make you do the dance of joy? What did you think of the short movie? What would you make Brandon Sanderson write next if you could control him? What’s the awesomest thing you saw on the interwebs in the last week? And more importantly, what should I wear to Comic-Con next year? Leave a link in the comments below. And if you have anything you think should be featured in next week’s WWW post, send me a link at ruth [at] fantasyliterature [dot] com. Amazon gift e-cards can also be sent to that address. Just saying.


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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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13 comments

  1. Just a feedback note on display: the little Facebook etc. tool bar covers up some of the text (from header to Dealing with Dragons image). I have been unable to close or move it. The Dealing with Dragons image in turn covers first three lines/eight or so letters of the grey box quote. (XP & latest Firefox)

  2. Oops – sorry, I’ll post this where it should be.

  3. Tizz, what size monitor are you on?

  4. Ruth, you’re right — it’s the monitor size. On my monitor I have about 5 inches between the “social slider” and the post. On my ipad it is much closer, but it stays in the upper part, by the banner. If viewing on a phone or small monitor, it would overlap. We have always had it in that spot, but I can try putting it higher and hope that keeps it in the banner.

    • I decided to remove the slider and put that information in the right sidebar since we have plenty of room there. Thanks, Tizz!

  5. Sarah /

    First, welcome back Ruth. I haven’t read enough of Sanderson to know what I’d want him to write, but I can completely agree with the frustration of unfinished series.

    And I don’t think Hobbit should be a trilogy. But then I’m not a huge fan of the LotR movies, and probably wouldn’t go see it anyways. Hope that doesn’t get me locked out of the site forever :)

  6. Yay Ruth! Awesome column filled with goodies. WWW needed your deft hands.

  7. Nice job Ruth.

    I have a lot of concern with a Hobbit trilogy, personally. While I loved Jackson’s LoTR, and believe he has a sincere passion for it, there were also parts I thought terrible. Often those happened when he strayed too much from the text (Gimli as a clown too often, Denethor lacking dignity too often, etc.). It isn’t that I think a film has to be slavish (it’s often better when it isn’t), but in this case, when Jackson got to indulge himself it tended to be the weaker moments. Three movies out of a relatively short children’s book leaves a lot of room for straying and self-indulging . . .

    • Exactly my thoughts, Bill! In the long version, the Paths of the Dead episode was preposterous : it was supposed to be dreadful and turned a buffoonery! I do think somebody must hold the reins very tight with Jackson : he should have lived in the Baroque era.

  8. April V. /

    I’m not a writer but I love reading Wrede’s blog about all things writing. She puts everything so simply that if I had a speck of talent, she might help me develop it. Her dialog post is a good one too.

    I have no problem with authors moving in other directions in the middle of the series – everyone needs mental breaks – just imagine working so diligently inside another world in your head without breaks. Besides, I move on to other series while waiting for other books to be written. Too much stuff out there for me to moan about one or two I’m waiting for.

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