Tag: 2000s

Frank Miller’s Hot Gates

A feeling’s been gnawing deep inside me for a while. A feeling that maybe Frank Miller’s hypermasculine antiheros and faceless, breast-thrusting women are exactly what they seem, not just sketchy parody. After reading 300, Miller’s 1998 account of the Spartans at Thermopylae, I don’t have any doubt: Miller […]

Expectations Shattered

Let’s say you’re reading a book about a boy who grows up to be a wizard. That’s a very familiar story… so do you want exactly what you’re expecting? Or are you prepared for something new and interesting? Ursula K. Le Guin’s famous Earthsea series started with a […]

Too Many Dragons

Fantasy fiction is overrun by dragons. The fiery beasts have become a way to spice up an otherwise standard book — just add dragons. When I first heard about Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series — the Napoleonic Wars, a la Hornblower, except with dragons — I sighed to myself:  […]

A Faster Pace

Is it possible to have a book with a pace that is too fast? A book with too much action? Sure, since it’s relatively easy to jettison all of the hard-to-write stuff like character and description, and just dump in a lot of violence (ironically, I think a […]

Explaining Vampires

I don’t care that much for vampire stories. It’s a reflexive dislike that’s hard to define — basically, I’m not part of the target audience of the whole vampire fascination. Another pet peeve of mine is the amnesiac protagonist. What an absolutely lame excuse to explain everything to […]

Retold

Familiar tales, like Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid or The Snow Queen, have been reused and retold countless times. Sometimes the result is a mindless rip-off, and sometimes the familiarity of the structure lets a writer riff on the story in creative and surprising ways. It’s a […]