Dragons of Autumn Twilight ended with the refugees from Pax Tharkas having found a refuge in a mountain pass in the hope of (possibly) making it through the winter. The second book in the Dragonlance Chronicles series begins with the Heroes of the Lance having already gone on another adventure, and having brought the refugees to the Dwarven city of Pax Tharkas. In the roleplaying game modules, your player characters would have gone through this story. However, while much of the Dragonlance modules were adapted to the original Chronicles series, not all of them were. In the late 2000s, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman returned to Dragonlance to adapt this missing chapter into novel form.

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Top portion of the cover to Savage Sword of Conan #4

There aren’t a lot of fantasy comics out there, and the ones we get in the US are generally licensed from another property, whether Games like D&D or Pathfinder, or literary works like Game of Thrones, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, or Conan the Barbarian. So, when Marvel got the license to Conan comics again, I was interested, and when they re-launched their classic Conan titles – Conan the Barbarian and Savage Sword of Conan, I added those books to my pull list.

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When I was younger, there were a couple things that grabbed my imagination when it came to dungeon fantasy – there were the Monster Ecology articles in Dragon Magazine, and the descriptions of monsters in Hackmaster and KODT Magazine. The Monster Ecology articles envisioned a fleshed out dungeon ecology, where every monster, even ones created by coked out wizards like the Owlbear, had a life cycle and found a way to fit into an ecosystem – indeed, the articles presented the idea of a Dungeon Fantasy setting as an ecosystem that the monsters fit within.

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This time I’m taking a look at the first published Drizzt Do’Urden novel, and the second Forgotten Realms novel.

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At long last, the first Record of Lodoss War novel has received an officially licensed US release. I’ve read it, and here are my thoughts, and some notes on the differences between the two releases.

The Grey Witch is available from Amazon.com and RightStuf. Picking up the book through those links helps the site.

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A few years ago I did a video review of the original OVA for Record of Lodoss War. At that time, the OVA was out of print, as was (and still is, sadly) the manga adaptation of the novels. Since then, Funimation (not the company I expected to do it) license rescued all of the anime, and now Seven Seas has done something I never expected to happen – they licensed the first novel, and gave it a fantastic edition in 2017. I got it for myself for Christmas, and finally was able to read it in February. (more…)

Most fantasy novels that I’ve read work, generally, in the context of an existing society of our world. Tolkien took his cues from Nordic mythology and the Eddas. C.S. Lewis took a mixture of elements from various Mediterranean cultures and his own Christian views. Japanese period fantasy (as seen in anime, manga, live-action cinema, and books like the Kouga Ninja Scrolls) take cues from stories about youkai and oni, along with legends about the history of the Japanese Imperial family and the deities from which they draw lineage.

So, when reading The Cloud Roads, I was rather surprised to see very few connections to any real existing human cultures. However, the book also managed to execute on this without leaving me completely lost. (more…)

2015’s revival of Ushio and Tora by Studio MAPPA is not the first revival of an older anime and manga series in the 21st century. In 2008, JC Staff revived the classic fantasy anime series Slayers, with a fourth season after an almost decade gap. The series was was released as a split-cour show, with the first 12-episode cour being subtitled “Revolution”, and the second “Evolution-R”. When the show originally was announced, the big question that fans had was would this show come back with a Dragon Slave sized blast, or would it fizzle like a wet firework? (more…)

Gaming licensed fiction is hit and miss. For every Dragonlance Chronicles, you get a bunch of Darkwalker on Moonshaes. With the AD&D campaign setting of Ravenloft, which was born out of an adventure by Tracy & Laura Hickman, one would think that the novel focusing on the character from whom the setting was born would be written by the creator of that character – particularly when Tracy Hickman had gone on to co-create Dragonlance with Margaret Weis and would go on to co-write a bunch of New York Times bestselling novels. Instead, they went with a writer who also had also worked with TSR, and who had a strong track record writing gothic horror vampire fiction – P. N. Elrod. (more…)

Deathstalker II is a fun dumb movie. It’s the kind of film where there is a title-drop in the film that incorporates the number (sort of – the line being: “I’ll have my revenge, and Deathstalker too!”). It’s got a soundtrack by Casio, exterior sets from a Renaissance faire, pants made out of pleather because they ran out of their leather budget, and female characters who wear as little as possible in the hopes that the audience won’t pay attention to any of the rest of the film’s shortcomings. (more…)

Tor.Com has started running a series of articles on African SFF (Science Fiction/Fantasy) writers. This is really awesome. SF/F Fandom tends to focus on writers and artists from the “Anglophone Zone” – The US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and the EU (yes, not all EU countries have English as their primary language, but English is a fairly major language in the EU). East Asian countries – primarily Japan, China, and to a lesser degree Korea have also been getting some attention as well, but Africa and Latin America have not gotten near the same degree of attention that other countries have had.

So, this article is great, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

This time I’m reviewing the fantasy anime series “Record of Lodoss War” from 1990.

Footage:

Music:

“Little Lily Swing” – Tri-Tachyon
Used under a Creative Commons License.

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Notes: Matt Walton suggested that I cover some of the material I’ve previously covered in my fanzine on the show – this is meant to be a part of that – I did an article on Western Fantasy in Anime that covered Lodoss and several other shows that I’ll get to in future episodes.