Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Notebook: The Swordmaster

Behold: the first glimmerings of my fantasy magnum opus! I've been working on my own heroic cycle for a long time now -- a lot of that time was spent developing a world that both echoed the familiar themes of the genre while pushing for its own unique identity -- and the culmination of that work is what I am tentatively calling the Maric di Ascalon short stories, set in the universe of Sphaeren.

I'm drawing from many, many sources of inspiration: George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher, the Warhammer Fantasy universe, Robert E. Howard's Conan, and various historical and mythical pieces. Hopefully, by combining elements from these great exemplars of fantasy, and both treading familiar ground and cutting new paths, I can tell a story that is both enjoyable and provoking. Tell me what you think!

Also, here's a link to the audio file, with me reading!
In Tolkien's The Children of Hurin, Turin wields the black sword, Gurthang. (Picture by Ted Nasmith)

The Swordmaster

By Blake Tan

The songs of the old oracles name the easterly wind Aes, the eldest daughter of Wodan Sky-Father. They say she flies upon a raven-winged horse, cursed to ride against the fury of the sun god, Aurahel Aelar, whom the elves call Ancestor, for her part in the treachery of Malaketh, who sought to usurp Wodan’s throne. When Aes must ride, the bright fire of Aurahel’s undimmed glory scorches her silver hair and gray ashes rain down upon the world. The oracles tell that it is these ashes that bring ruin and misery to mortal men. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Notebook: Revolutionary Day

Revolutionary Day
By Blake Tan

Carlos Villabuena was born on the west end of Pasaquinas, near the municipal center of Pasaquinas City, in 1952. His mother was the fourth child of a family of seventeen, the oldest daughter, and had met his father, Luis Sanchez Villabuena, when she attended the Santa Clara College for Women in 1946. He was the dashing son of an aristocratic family from the east end of the island, who, along with his like-minded, youthful compatriots with money to spend, liked to roam Metro Pasaquinas for university girls. Rita CorĂ³n had seen him, the handsome principalia lieutenant, smiling at her from across the bar. She smiled back, and the rest, as the Pasaquinos say, is la cuenta que todos saben.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Notebook: Confessional Booth

Confessional Booth
By Blake Tan

“Speak, mi hijo, confess your sins
so the Savior can forgive you,”
says the padre behind the screen.
Amado squirms in the rickety room,
the confessional booth creaking.
His mama had yanked him off the fence
where he liked to sit and admire the schoolgirls
as they marched to the Santa Maria preparatoria atop the hill,
their blue plaid skirts hiked up to their knees,
where the dirt road muddied their brown-flecked black socks.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Why I Preordered XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Strategy games have always held my rather short attention spans longer than most other games. There's a draw that strategy games, whether it's grand strategy (Crusader Kings II), RTS (Starcraft, Company of Heroes), or turn-based (Civilization), that keeps me around longer than a hectic, story-lite FPS or even RPGs nowadays. When I first saw a preview of XCOM: Enemy Unknown in a GameInformer issue many months ago, my interest was already piqued. Now that I've read previews from IGN, Rock, Paper, Shotgun, and PC Gamer, watched the trailers about a hundred times, I thought: "To hell with it! I'll drop the fifty bucks and preorder the damn game already!"

The free copy of Civilization V that went along with the preorder on Steam definitely helped that decision.