Fantastically Fun Fridays: June 10, 2011

It was a hot week here at Fantasy Matters! (quite literally--the temperature hit 101 on Tuesday, which was way too hot for me, thank you very much)  Before you break for the weekend, remember to head over to the forums and help our webmaster, Adam, pick the next fantasy book that he reads.  Also, here are some of the fun things that we've found floating around the web this week:

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“We Tell the Truth Best By Becoming Lies”

EmbassytownIt’s a line of snark, said so often that it passes for proverb: “Writers tell lies to people for money.” It’s true, of course. Truth may lie at the heart of stories, but lies are the ink pumped through their veins.

So imagine then, a language where lying is impossible. Such a Language is one of the central conceits of China Miéville’s new novel, Embassytown. Imagine what you lose from speech when there is no symbolic language. Not only is lying impossible, but so are similes, nuance, stories.

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Review: X-Men First Class

 X-MenIt became redundant to whine about comic book movies not following the comic around the time The Watchmen came out, so I will refrain from pointing out the numerous inconsistencies sprinkled throughout X-Men First Class. One big reason: anyone who is familiar with X-Men will know there are many parallel universes that exist, which makes highlighting inconsistencies pointless.  There is no caption in the movie that states which one of the multi-universe (explored or unexplored) the movie takes place in.  For example, the comics are in Earth-616, our reality is Earth-1218, and I believe the Avengers movie takes place in Earth-199999 (which will explain why Magneto won't show up to fight Iron Man).  Sometimes it is good to stray from the comics; in this movie, for example (without giving any major spoilers away), it isn't an alien scout named Lucifer disguised as the Devil who cripples Xavier, which leaves room for a pretty good story that explains what did happen. [spoilers after the jump]

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A Question of Why

The HobbitOur book-filled house is, like so many, home to rows and stacks of jeweled Fantasy volumes. Successive versions of touchstone works are there, thirty-year-old, dog-eared, and travel-worn paperback editions of The Hobbit nestled near hard-bound commemorative editions, one a delight for memories of how we read back then, the other a monument to what that book means to us in a grander way. The kaleidoscope of the many colored Fairy books are beguilingly resting on one shelf, just at a child’s eye level, and all of Narnia frequently sits in our daughter’s hand in one volume, perfect for days of rain or travel. Our bedside tables are towers of weaving bookstacks, where Patrick Rothfuss and Connie Willis beckon and invite among Arthurian scholarship and Margaret Frazier mysteries. Mighty buttresses of Robin Hobb, George Martin, and Robert Jordan fill whole shelves in a reassuring statement that in our house, for many reasons, fantasy does matter and always has.

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The Witchiest Witcher Around

The WitcherThe video game The Witcher, released in 2007, is based on a short story and subsequent series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. This is fortunate for two reasons. First, the lore is well-developed and doesn’t have consistency problems, and second, the game had a following before it was released, giving it a leg up on the vast majority of other videogame RPG’s. Unfortunately, these benefits are not unmitigated. I suspect that the story is faithful to the story(I can’t say for sure without reading the books) but I got the impression that they tried to fit the entire series into the game, since it felt fairly tedious after the second chapter (there are 5 chapters plus an “epilogue” in the game).

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