Krull: A Flawed Movie That Could Have Been Great

In the ancient days of yore (1983) I viewed a movie called Krull.  It is a strange tale.  Neither science fiction nor fantasy.  Not great, but not terrible.  I weep for the movie it could have been.

This chimera of a movie is the tale of an alien invasion of a fantasy world.  Sort of.  Details are a little fuzzy. 

Essentially, a big bad called “The Beast” invades the planet Krull with an interplanetary castle called The Black Fortress.  The fortress disgorges a bunch of (literally) faceless bad guys called “slayers” (no, not the band,) armed with one-shot blasters called “neon spears”.  The slayers run around conquering Krull for The Beast apparently has a bit of a hard-on for Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony).  I can almost see his point, as she’s a fine-looking woman, but planetary invasion seems like overkill.  The Beast apparently thinks that the way to woo her affections is by kidnapping her and slaughtering her family.  Not exactly progressive.

“Hey, could you hold onto this nuclear weapon for a bit?”

Standing in the way of The Beast’s incredibly violent nuptial plans is Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall). Slayers interrupt  their wedding ceremony when they nab Lyssa.  Their wedding is meant to unify their two kingdoms against The Beast.  Instead, we get to see pretty much every soldier they have die in one night.  Anyway, in what would be an important plot point in a better movie, the wedding ceremony involves a ceremony where Lyssa hands Colwyn a magical flame.  Or rather, she tries to before the slayer wedding crashers arrive.

Fear the Death Frisbee!

Lyssa gets abducted, Colwyn gets injured and everyone else in the castle dies.  Along comes Ynyr, the Old One (no, not Cthulhu.)  Ynyr (Freddie Jones) is a kind of Obi-Wan mentor to Colwyn, and leads him to find a magical weapon called The Glaive.  Colwyn finds this magical, edged Death Frisbee after a very boring climbing sequence which ends with him pulling The Glaive out of lava.  I think it’s meant as a “test of faith”, but I’m not sure.

Armed with the Death Frisbee, Colwyn and Ynyr set out to find The Black Fortress.  The snag is that the fortress teleports every morning to another place on the planet.  Now, how The Beast maintains any logistics with that setup, I don’t know.  I do know it makes it pretty hard to storm the evil headquarters.  Probably pretty hard to receive any mail, too.

“Fred, did you notice a black fortress there last night?”

Along the way, Colwyn and Ynyr pick up a gang of followers.  Ergo the Magnificent (David Battley) is a magical faerie-type fellow, who has a running joke of trying to transform others into animals, only to become the animal himself.  Rell the Cyclops (Bernard Bresslaw) tags along with the backstory of how The Beast cheated his people of an eye to see the future–but the only thing they can see is their own deaths.  Finally, a group of outlaws led by Torquil (Alun Armstrong) joins up.  Liam Neeson, in one of his early roles, plays an outlaw named Kegan.

This motley band sets out to find the Black Fortress in a series of encounters with a body count akin to a Friday the Thirteenth movie.  Torquil’s outlaws serve admirably as redshirts and have worse life expectancy than V.A. patients.  There are a couple of decent fight sequences and a memorable stop-motion giant spider with the “Widow in the Web”.  Unfortunately, slow pacing and ponderous editing neutralize a lot of the good stuff.

The actors are all very British–with the exception of Ken Marshall.  The actors are all very competent–with the exception of Ken Marshall.  Seriously, Ken isn’t strong enough to carry a movie.  The guy’s a block of wood, made worse by the solid actors around him.

My biggest complaint is probably the ending.  The Glaive/Death Frisbee finally gets used against The Beast (and why he didn’t use it in previous fights isn’t explained) only to be useless.  Then suddenly Lysette hands Colwyn that marriage flame and now Colwyn can shoot friggin’ Godzilla-sized flames!  Apparently nobody at the wedding party mentioned “Oh, by the way, you can use that marriage flame like a super-flamethrower.  I mean, if you wanted.”

(beats head into wall)

Can you foresee me in better movies?

I can’t help but wonder who decided this ending made sense.  It could have been fixed to make sense.  I can think of a half-dozen ways off the top of my head.  But no, they decided “Nah, this is good enough.”

That’s what irks me the most about this movie.  There are several moments throughout where it starts to work, only to slam into a wall.  The production values are excellent.  The acting (with one glaring exception) is solid.  The musical score by James Horner is outstanding.  With a rewrite and somebody other than Ken Marshall, this movie had a lot of potential.  Hell, even with Ken Marshall they could have muddled through.

I can still enjoy parts of this movie.  The points which rise above.  Mostly, I just mourn for the movie it could have been.  It might be why I’m an aficionado of Spelljammer and similar fanboy nonsense.

It’s worth watching once for the oddball nature of it and those moments I mentioned.  Check it out.

Dragonslayer: A Forgotten Fantasy Movie

Disney released Dragonslayer in the year 1981.  The movie came out only a couple of years after the less-than-stellar The Black Hole in 1979.  It is Disney’s next attempt at a more adult-themed movie.  For the most part, it succeeded.

Coming out of the dismal decade of the 70s, Disney tried everything to remain relevant.  This meant putting out less G-rated kids’ films and expanding their repertoire, and then along comes Dragonslayer.  At a superficial glance, it looks like a standard wizard’s apprentice fantasy tale, however it’s a lot darker.  A general sense of futility and grim finality obscure the few heroic deeds.  This is to accompany the Dark Ages setting.

The story begins with a wizard named Ulrich (Ralph Richardson) and his apprentice, Galen (Peter MacNicol) being visited by a group from the kingdom Urland.  The envoys wish to employ a wizard to destroy a dragon named Vermithrax.  The dragon holds the kingdom in bondage to its hunger and they regularly sacrifice young women with a lottery system.

The delightfully thuggish soldier Tyrian (John Hallam) and another young man named Valerian (Caitlin Clarke) test Ulrich’s magical power.  They stab him through the heart at his urging, only to have him die instantly.  Afterward, Ulrich’s magical amulet constantly materializes in front of Galen, urging him to take up Ulrich’s mission.

Galen follows the group back to Urland, during which Galen discovers Valerian is a ‘she’ after he joins her for a bath in a pond.  Valerian masquerades as a ‘he’ to escape the lottery. 

Shortly after arriving, Galen wields the amulet to bring down then entire mountain on top of Vermithrax’s lair.  Believing the dragon slain, the kingdom celebrates and Valerian ‘comes out’ as a woman.  The news of the dragon’s death is premature, however.  Havoc and swordplay ensue.

I don’t want to give it all away, so let me simply say that the producers spent a full quarter of the film’s entire budge on special effects.  Vermithrax is, quite simply, the most amazing and terrifying dragon ever put on film to this day.  The audience doesn’t get a good look at it until at least three quarters of the film’s length.  The build-up is worth it.  Vermithrax is everything a fantasy geek expects of a dragon villain: impressive and dreadful.  Nothing is cutesy or humanistic about Vermithrax–it’s a force of death and destruction. Bilbo is never having a conversation or riddle contest with this thing.  It’s obviously intelligent, but completely inhuman and malignant.

The special effects by ILM veteran Phil Tippet are extraordinary.  In fact, if you’re a young viewer who has never seen it, dig it up and watch it merely to see how a true master handled special effects before CGI.  Tippet created the monster through puppetry, practical effects and a type of stop-motion animation called Go Motion.  The combined techniques make you believe this winged nightmare might be real.

Lots of other good stuff is in this movie but the bleak tone and cryptic ending subtract somewhat.  It’s not perfect, but definitely worth watching for any fantasy fan.  Check it out.

Footnote: Ian McDiarmid (of Emperor Palpatine fame) has a brief cameo in the movie as a village priest who is burned to a crisp by Vermithrax after the priest tries to banish the dragon with his faith.

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Quag Keep: The First D&D Novel

Lo, those many years ago (1981) when I read Andre Norton’s novel Quag Keep.  A copy presented itself in my Middle School library. A dragon appeared on the cover and fantasy had just fastened into my pubescent consciousness, leading to a reading.

Quag Keep is a queer duck of a novel.  Neither fish nor fowl, it slumbers in obscurity.  Set in the Greyhawk campaign world created by Gary Gygax, it is extremely referential to Dungeons & Dragons as a hobby, rather than game mechanics.  Literally.  Magic transforms a bunch of RPG nerds into their characters in Greyhawk via ‘cursed miniatures’.  No, really.

I know what you’re thinking.  This must be a stupid concept that breaks the fourth wall or just comes across as pretentious.  Surprisingly, it’s not.  Is it great?  No, but it’s not bad.  It moves quick, has enjoyable scenes and the characters (especially the main caracter, Milo Jagon) are interesting.  Moreover, because there is little to no attempt to shoehorn game mechanics, Andre manages to describe the world and situations without worrying about such trivia.  The game mechanics, ironically, are actually far less visible because they are literally part of the story.

Later books placed modern people into fantasy settings via games (such as the enjoyable Guardians of the Flame books) but this is the first.  Greyhawk wouldn’t be published for another two years.   This version of Greyhawk is misty and incomplete.  Andre takes that incompleteness and fills in the gaps with her own writing skills–not without success.  Unfazed by whether or not wizards are allowed to wear armor or wearboars cast spells, she does her level best to tell an interesting fantasy tale.  Quite honestly, I’d prefer the authors who presently crank out gaming novels to take a page from her playbook and do the same.

While researching this I noted that a sequel to Quag Keep, unimaginatively titled Return to Quag Keep, came out a couple of years after Andre Norton died.  I have zero desire to read this, since it smacks of pillaging a dead author’s stories for ideas.  I suspect Andre had little to nothing to do with this ‘sequel’.  I’ll pass.

If you like your gaming books bereft of gaming mechanics, would like to delve into the history of the hobby, or just read a fast, enjoyable fantasy romp, you could do far worse than Quag Keep.

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Television That Needs More Love: Brimstone

brimstone-01Brimstone came out in 1998, roughly the time another hellish series called GvsE (Good versus Evil) appeared.  Both series were similar in plot, and I don’t know if one copied another.  I do know I enjoyed Brimstone, whereas I found GvsE forgettable.

Basic plot goes like this: Ezekial “Zeke” Stone (played by Peter Horton) is a NYC cop whose wife is raped.  Zeke tracks down the rapist and murders him.  Shortly thereafter, Zeke is murdered and goes to Hell for the sin of murder.  Jump forward fifteen years and Zeke is sprung from hell by The Devil (played by a bombastic John Glover.)  Turns out there was a jailbreak from Hell.  113 damned souls are free and loose on Earth.  If Zeke uses his detective skills to find and return all of them to Hell, he gets a second chance at life.

brimstone-02Great hook.  Grabbed my interest from the start.

Any catches, you ask?  Several.  The damned souls are impossible to kill unless you destroy their eyes.  Also, it turns out the longer you’re in Hell, the more of Hell comes with you.  This translates into the longer souls are in Hell, the stronger they are on Earth.  Nearly all of the souls are older than Zeke, and some are hundreds or even thousands of years old.  Even worse, not only are they stronger, but many of them have hellish ‘magic tricks’.  Some can turn invisible, spread hellish diseases or cast magic brimstone-04spells.  Zeke relies on old-fashioned police work and his own immortality.

The sole reason I even know this series exists is because the Sci-fi Channel (before they called it “SyFy”,) had a marathon one Saturday afternoon.  Lasting a grand total of 13 episodes, it was a mid-season replacement that fizzled.  A pity, since it had great promise.

brimstone-03Lori Petty fills out an enjoyable minor role as a hotel clerk.  (Usually people either love or hate Lori–I am one of the former.)  John Glover as The Devil chews scenery like a teething beaver.  No joke, he’s a pleasure to watch.  My favorite episode (“It’s a Helluva Life”) has John playing both The Devil and an angel.  The two of them take Zeke through is life, alternately showing him every bad brimstone-05thing he ever did and the good he’s accomplished.  It’s surprisingly moving.

Is Brimstone great?  No.  Plot stumbles and misfires are in evidence.  The special effects are dated and clunky.  I will say that there was enough there that I wanted more.  It picked up steam as it went, and the writers and actors were hitting their strides–just in time to be cancelled. 

Should someone with a modicum of power in television get a chance, resurrecting this brimstone-06series wouldn’t be the worst idea. 

Go dig up the 13 episodes or watch them online somewhere.  You won’t regret it.

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Piers Anthony: Apprentice Adept

Piers Anthony is a best-selling fantasy author who most people associate with the apprentice-adept-01pun-filled Xanth books (of which there are 39!)  However, he’s been prolific for several other science fiction and fantasy series, such as the sci-fi/fantasy series called Apprentice Adept.

Piers is an oddball writer.  I’ve read a lot of his books and his tone ricochets all across the emotional and intellectual spectrum.  The Of Man and Manta series is a quasi-nihilistic and psychedelic experiment, while the Xanth series is a pun-filled goof.  As strange as Piers gets, he is typically entertaining.

The Apprentice Adept series takes place in two parallel worlds.  The science fiction world is a barren mining world called Proton.  The fantasy world is called Phaze.  The two can be crossed over at certain spots and there are parallel social systems on apprentice-adept-02each world.  Both are essentially a kind of feudal system.  On Proton, the worlds are controlled by the Citizens, who rule over the serfs.  Wealth is measured in the rare mineral called Protonite.  The serfs are in a form of indentured servitude but can win a kind of Olympic game called the Tourney and become citizens.  Serfs are unable to own anything on Proton, including clothing.

On Phaze, there are super-powerful Adepts (wizards) who rule over all the lower classes.  The Adepts each have a unique form of magic and a color they’re identified with (which seems to have little connection apprentice-adept-03with their unique magic.)  The magic of Phaze is powered by a rare mineral called Phazite (which reminds me of Larry Niven’s The Magic Goes Away.)  The two worlds are (for the most part) unaware of one another.

The main character, Stile, is a serf who discovers a plot against his life in Proton.  With the help of a female robot named Sheen, he escapes through a portal to Phaze.  There, he discovers that the other ‘him’ on Phaze is the Blue Adept.  He inherits Blue’s magic on Phaze, which allows him to cast spells by rhyming (which isn’t actually as goofy as it sounds.)  He discovers that the plot against him extends to Phaze as well.

The plot jumps back and forth from Proton to Phaze as Stile unravels the scheme against apprentice-adept-04him with the Adepts on Phaze and the Citizens on Proton.  There’s a meta-plot involving Stile entering the Tourney so that he might become a Citizen.  The individual competitions in the Tourney are actually pretty enjoyable and eventually becomes an integral part of bringing down the Red Adept (who is his primary nemesis.)

The series is an enjoyable middle ground between Piers’ experimental nihilism and his silly puns.  The story never flags and the characters are quite likable.  The science of the science fiction setting is somewhat soft but not too silly.  The magic of Phaze has a decent level of continuity and the fantasy elements aren’t played for laughs like in Xanth.  I recommend the trilogy apprentice-adept-05without reservation.

* – For disclosure, I’d like to mention that I only read the first three of this series and wasn’t even aware there were more books.  I do know the first three are a tight, well-written trilogy and am, frankly, afraid to read the rest.  I know what happened after the first three (pretty apprentice-adept-06solid) Xanth books.  (Hint: they became awful.)

Jack L. Chalker: River of the Dancing Gods Series

dancing-gods-01Jack L. Chalker was a prolific and fascinating author, best known for his Well World series of science fiction novels.  I definitely remember the Well World series with fondness, but I also remember his lesser-known Dancing Gods novels.

These books are a queer duck mix of straight fantasy mixed with Christian mythology and parody of the fantasy genre.  The story goes that after God finished with creation, all the stuff ‘left over’ got dumped into a corner of creation, where it formed another world, only without concrete rules.  Wizards got together and wrote out a Book of Rules to stabilize everything.  However, after they got finished making the important rules, they started making more and more trivial ones.  This is how all the cliches and oddball behavior of so many fantasy characters is explained dancing-gods-02in the series.

Rules like: (and I’m paraphrasing since I don’t remember the exact rule) “Good looking men and women will, when not otherwise called for, dress as little as possible.”  This is how bare-chested and bikini-clad heroes and heroines are explained.  Other rules are how magic items are always of certain shapes and types and dragons are always guarding them.  There are a lot of extremely silly rules and it gets pretty funny.  There’s even one saying: “All fantasy novels must be trilogies.”

(I think my favorite is the magical sword named “Irving”.)

The struggles come from heaven and hell fighting with proxies in the Dancing Gods world.  dancing-gods-03While constrained on Earth, rules are more lax on the Dancing Gods world.  Demons are typically influencing events and heaven keeps out of it because they don’t cheat.

Jack’s specializes in having his characters go through transformations and having to adapt to them.  This series is no exception.  Joe and Marge (the main protagonists at the beginning) are transformed at least a half-dozen times.  Joe starts out as a barbarian warrior and ends up as a fairy princess.  Marge has a similar story.

The books are very entertaining and even occasionally veer into serious territory about responsibility to family, dancing-gods-04gender roles and the like.  Chalker is too somber a writer to go with goofiness all the time like Mythadventures.  Most of the humor comes from the self-aware humor involving fantasy and horror tropes.  The characters are sort of ‘in on the joke’ but that’s explained by the Book of Rules.

Jack also like the characters to have to perform some kind of ‘impossible task’.  They have to break into somewhere impossible to break into or destroy something that can’t be destroyed.  Picture the vault break-in scene from the first Mission Impossible movie, only done with fantasy trappings.  This is pretty standard, but also awfully entertaining when written well (as Chalker does.)

If you don’t mind amusing fantasy with self-aware tropes, this series is amazingly dancing-gods-05entertaining.  Give it a shot.

Stephen Fabian: An Artist Who Needs More Love

Stephen Fabian 01Many years ago, while stationed in Wildflecken, Germany, I bought the 2nd Edition AD&D new boxed set of the Ravenloft  role-playing game campaign setting.   I was exposed to artwork from an artist heretofore unknown to me: Stephen Fabian.  These were in the days where game companies couldn’t really afford to get much in the way of color interior artwork.  All of it was, with rare exceptions, black and white.  This didn’t mean there weren’t some damn fine artists putting out illustrations, but most game designers were smaller companies who didn’t have a stable of artists who could paint interior illustrations on a whim (and computer illustrations were purely theoretical.)Stephen Fabian 02

Along comes Stephen Fabian.  He had done illustrations for TSR (the creators of D&D before being absorbed by Wizards of the Coast,) but the Ravenloft setting allowed him to really shine.  For those unfamiliar, Ravenloft is a world setting for D&D that is essentially a combination of dark fantasy and Gothic horror.

Stephen Fabian 04Most of the other artists employed by role-playing games came from a more comic-book tradition.  Fabian, on the other hand, was very much a pulp illustrator.  He did very little line work, and instead he used solid whites and darks with gorgeous gray washes.  Where washes weren’t used, he would use stippling instead of hatching.  The moody and dark tone worked perfectly with the setting.

I had never seen anything like it before and fell instantly in love.  I snapped up every Ravenloft supplement I could find, and Stephen’s illustrations were a big reason.

Stephen Fabian 03 Stephen set a new standard in an era of very little experimentation in rpgs, as did the Ravenloft setting (most younger gamers have no idea how much Ravenloft shaped a lot of monsters they’re familiar with, especially undead–but that’s another subject.)  Stephen’s stark,eerie style struck just the right note.  He was also fond of graphic flourishes, such as stylistic borders and icons relevant to the subject material.  It turned mere game books into pieces of art.  He even did the illustrations for an entire deck of cards in the Tarot tradition called the “Tarokka” deck.

I discovered later that Stephen was no newcomer to the illustration field, and had been doing illustrations to fantasy and science fiction since the sixties.

Stephen Fabian 05He’d done illustrations for various pulp writers, such as Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, and A. Merritt and older writers such as William Hope Hodgson.  I dug up whatever artwork I could find and ordered an art book from Bud Plant.  His scope of work was impressive and he had been favorably compared to Virgil Finlay.  Virgil’s influence on Stephen was apparent and it definitely fit with his pulp style.

I haven’t seen many new projects since his memorable run on the early Ravenloft products.  He’s been nominated for a Hugo Award and in 2006 received the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement.

Stephen Fabian 06If you’re at all a fan of classic illustrations styles, pulp styles/subjects and an eerie, ethereal style, you should check out Stephen Fabian’s artwork.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Lords of Dus by Lawrence Watt-Evans

Lawrence Watt Evans BasiliskThe Lords of Dus were the first fantasy novels I ever read by Lawrence Watt-Evans–way, way back in the early 80s.  I’d seen the four novels sitting on the rack at Waldenbooks for a while and finally decided to give the first one, The Lure of the Basilisk, a try.

Lawrence hooked me right from the start.  He had a way of making even the mundane interesting as his inhuman protagonist “Garth” tried to navigate a human world.  (Apparently he named the character “Garth” because he had only slits for a nose like the character “Simon Garth, the Living Zombie” from Marvel Comics.)  The character is far different from most fantasy antagonists up to that point, as he was entirely inhuman–an “Overman” that had been created by magic as soldiers in ancient wars.

What truly hooked me, however, was that unlike most of the fantasy epics I’d read before, Garth didn’t have some mystical ‘gift’ or ‘insight’ that allowed them to pluck a magic sword or toss a magic ring.  No, he just cobbled together solutions out of whatever makeshift plans or ideas he could come up with.  He got things done, but it was usually messy and haphazard.  Like Indiana Jones’s line from Raiders of the Lost Ark: “I’m making this up as I go.”  It did turn out later that Garth had a mystic ‘destiny’–but the destiny kinda sucked and it was completely unwanted.

This was the norm for Lawrence’s characters.  Courtesy of stumbling and seeking, they found their ways through tough situations by improvisation, stubbornness and wits.  The solutions usually weren’t perfect, but they would get them done.  This is what endeared me to him, and still does.  He has definitely influenced my style of writing and character development.

Lawrence Watt Evans Altars Lawrence Watt Evans Sword Lawrence Watt Evans Book The series incorporates a lot of fantasy cliches but manages to turn them on their head in most respects.  Mystic destiny?  Yes, but it’s mostly an unwanted curse that will kill a lot of people.  Rescuing a maiden?  Yes, but as an Overman, Garth has zero romantic interest in her.  Great quests?  Yes, but they’re never what they seem and wreak havoc on innocents.  A powerful wizard as a patron?  Yes, but he’s an apathetic nihilist.  Etc., etc.

If you crammed together elements of Robert E. Howard’s Conan, Moorcock’s Elric, and some wry snippets of L. Sprague de Camp’s characters, you might get a rough estimate of what this series is like.

It’s well worth reading.  If you like these, you’ll enjoy the Ethshar series by Lawrence.

 

 

Roger Zelazny and The Chronicles of Amber

This is my first post in a long time, and I apologize.

Amber-Nine Princes in AmberAmber-The Guns of AvalonAmber-Sign of the Unicorn

Amber-The Hand of OberonAmber-The Courts of Chaos

Okay, I wanted to talk about a subject and individual I care deeply about–The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny (May 13, 1937 – June 14, 1995.)  Usually the response I get from people–especially younger ones is: “Who?  What?”

This is rather depressing since I consider him one of the 20th century’s greatest masters of fantasy.  He has one of the most unique styles of anyone I know and came up with an entire genre of fantasy which had nothing to do with elves, dwarves, hobbits, etc., yet remains virtually unknown outside of fandom.  The closest he’s come to real fame was a horrible movie adaptation of his 1967 novella, Damnation Alley which he later expanded into a novel for the movie.  There was also the attempted adaptation of his novel Lord of Light which was never produced due to legal problems, but elements of the film, including concept drawings by Jack Kirby were later used by the CIA in an operation to smuggle people out of Iran during the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979.  The fake movie was renamed Argo and a film concerning the events was filmed in 2012.

Other than those undistinguished blips, he’s virtually unknown outside of fandom.  This is a crime, since the man was brilliant.  Foremost among his achievements is the creation of the Amber series of novels.  This is a fantasy series which is breathtaking in scope and yet a personal squabble between family members.  It starts out fairly straightforward and then spirals off in directions which you never would have guessed.

What I usually say to people when I try to describe it is: “It’s a family of Machiavellian demigods fighting a war for the seat of creation–and that’s just the first book.  After that, things get really interesting.”

I consider my writing most strongly influenced by Zelazny and if I could be half the writer he was, I would consider my life complete.

What made me bring this up and make a blog post about it was the news that apparently, after many, many decades, it appears that The Chronicles of Amber is going to make its presence felt on television.  I am both delighted and horrified by the prospect.  Delighted, in that maybe there will be a chance for this man to received the accolades he’s due, yet horrified that they’ll screw it up.  I am glad to see Robert Kirkman of Walking Dead fame producing, so that fills me with some optimism.  I know George R.R. Martin considers Game of Thrones inspired by Amber.

But don’t wait for an Amber series.  Go out and read them yourself.  There are ten of them in two story arcs.  The first five are generally considered superior, but I thoroughly enjoyed all of them.