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Superluminary vs. Savagery

My friend, John C. Wright, has recently created a Patreon account and started serializing a space opera thereon. It is excellent and a great deal of fun. The tale had me from the opening line,

“Aeneas Tell of House of Tell, youngest of the Lords of Creation, was twenty-one when he was assassinated for the first time.”

and did not disappoint. It contains many of the tropes Wright and fans of Wright enjoy, and is currently 2 for 2 in making use of Wright’s favorite word, integument. If you were a fan of The Golden Age series or Count to a TrillionSuperluminary is like the less philosophically inclined, hack-n-slash RPG younger brother. Read it for free, then pay what you like!

Speaking of which…

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Some savage morlock crawled out of its pit to mock and sneer at Mr. Wright for not making as much per month as N.K. Jemisin. I aim to fix that. By RDF’s metric, Wright must be a better author than Jemisin if his monthly pledges overtake hers. I hereby double, nay, triple my monthly patronage.

RIP Christopher Rush: 1965-2016

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Christopher Rush has died. I’m still in a bit of shock. Not last November (the day after All Hallow’s Eve no less) I met him for the first time at GP Indianapolis, a short, friendly man with an air of mischief and energy about him. Exactly the kind of man you’d want illustrating a game about dueling wizards slinging spells at each other. He signed an Unglued Plains for me, one I picked up from a vendor when I realized I had brought no Rush-illustrated cards with me, and we talked briefly. I asked him if he had known, back in 1993, when he was doing the illustrations for Black Lotus and Lightning Bolt, if he knew what he was getting into, if he knew his artwork would grace the most iconic cards in a game that would still be played 22 years later. He told me no, that, given how little Wizards could afford to pay artists back then, he and the other early Magic artists contracted for as many cards as they thought they could deliver on time. He chose Black Lotus and Lightning Bolt because, in his words, “It was a flower and a lightning bolt. They sounded quick and easy to bang out”. He said he that though he hadn’t done any work for Magic recently, he was very happy that so many people still loved the game, and his illustrations.

In addition to Black Lotus and Lightning Bolt, the game’s most iconic cards, Rush also illustrated the game’s two rarest cards: Shichifukujin Dragon and 1996 World Champion, with only one copy of each in existence (the printing plates for the latter being ceremonially destroyed). Furthermore, as the designer of Magic‘s mana symbols, and co-creator with Jesper Myrfors of the card back, his artwork appeared, and will continue to appear, on (almost) all of the cards in the game! He was also the first and one of the few non-Japanese artists to illustrate a Pokemon card, the Wizards Promo #12 Mewtwo.

So R.I.P. your Blacker Lotuses tonight and raise a draft to one of Magic‘s finest artists. Mr. Rush, you shall be missed! May Seraphs and Archangels guide your Shade to the Safe Haven of our Heavenly Father.

NB: Rush continued to work as a fantasy illustrator up until his death. As such, he is eligible for nomination under ‘Best Professional Artist’ in this year’s Hugo Awards. So far as I can tell, there are no rules preventing the posthumous awarding of a Hugo. His work can be viewed here. His work for Magic can be found here.

 

Star Wars VII Trailer is Here

A ray of light on this blackest of Fridays.

The last remnant of the old skepticism has been swept away. This looks like the Star Wars I remember. This sounds like the Star Wars I remember. J.J. Abrams has an eye for wonder; I could watch X-Wings zooming across the water all day. Love the weeble-R2 unit; it’s adorable, and forget the naysayers, that crackling, cross-guard lightsaber is badass and pulpy as all get out. And the ending shot? Chills. December 2015 can’t get here soon enough.

A Review of a Review: SF Debris on Madoka Magica

If there is one thing I enjoy as much as watching films and television series, it’s reading reviews of those films and television series. I’ve pored over the websites of Roger Ebert and Steven Greydanus, among others, hoping to find a favorite movie or show extolled in prose far more witty and intelligent and eloquent than mine own (and also in the hope that some of their talent will rub off on me). A good review leaves you appreciating a favorite film even more than before, your head humming and sparking with newfound insights, analyses, and perspectives, and your heart warm with the knowledge that somewhere out there is someone else who appreciated this story as much as you did.

It was then, with great pleasure, that I recently discovered not one, but twelve such reviews. Chuck Sonnenburg over at SF Debris has done a twelve part review of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, giving each episode about 10 minutes of consideration, analysis, and snark. Read the rest of this entry

In Memoriam Jack Vance 1916-2013

I learned, without surprise, but with sadness, that Jack Vance passed away last week; the best kept secret of the science fiction and fantasy world has been lost. He was a great author, rich in vocabulary, imagination, and wit; a Croesus of the English language. I would have loved to hear him nuncupate some of his dryly humorous writing, such as this exchange from The Eyes of the Overworld:

          As he turned away a bravo swaggering across the room jostled him. Voynod snapped an acrimonious instruction, which the bravo did not choose to ignore. “How dare you use such words to me! Draw and defend yourself, or I cut your nose from your face!” And the bravo snatched forth his blade.

“As you will,” said Voynod. “One moment until I find my sword.” With a wink at Cugel he anointed his blade with the salve, then turned to the bravo. “Prepare for death, my good fellow!” He leapt grandly forward. The bravo, noting Voynod’s preparations, and understanding that he faced magic, stood numb with terror. With a flourish Voynod ran him through, and wiped his blade on the bravo’s hate.

The dead man’s companions at the counter started to their feet, but halted as Voynod with great aplomb turned to face them. “Take care, you dunghill cocks! Notice the fate of your fellow! He died by the power of my magic blade, which is of inexorable metal and cuts rock and steel like butter. Behold!” And Voynod struck out at a pillar. The blade, striking an iron bracket, broke into a dozen pieces. Voynod stood non-plussed, but the bravo’s companions surged forward.

“What then of your magic blade? Our blades are ordinary steel but bite deep!” And in a moment Voynod was cut to bits.

Read the rest of this entry