How Not To Write A Best-Selling Fantasy Novel


This post was written in September of 2004, relative to a blog post about how to put all of the typical fantasy cliches into your manuscript. Jaq's post is still available, because Jaq's got stamina, and you go look at it if you like. In this post, I refer to two novels of mine, one of which is indeed available to read on-line (though not in e-book format) and one which is still not quite done, ten years later. Jaquandor comments (with reference to his manuscript in progress) on this post … [Read more...]

What Is Christian Fantasy?


This post was first written in May of 2004. I think it holds up pretty well. I made some minor edits, and fixed a couple of typos. Kudos to Phil Wade, of Brandywine Books; the link below hasn't decayed, even though it's to the old version of the blog. Phil at Brandywine Books has written several posts (most recently here) on the subject of "What is Christian Fiction?" My answer is that there are several things which can go by that name. The first is simply, "Fiction written to be … [Read more...]

Review: The Complete Peanuts, 1950 to 1952


This review was first posted in May of 2004. The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 (Vol. 1) (The Complete Peanuts), by Charles M. Schulz, is the first of a series of books to be published over the next twelve years, containing the complete run of Peanuts cartoons from October of 1952 until Schulz's retirement, a span of nearly fifty years. I bought it for two reasons. The first is purely nostalgic. During most of my life, the only Peanuts cartoons I read in the newspaper were the Sunday … [Read more...]

Jeeves and the Nameless Ichor

Back in May of 2004 I heard of a Wodehouse/Lovecraft mash-up called Scream For Jeeves, and my mind boggled. And then, a few moments later, the following emerged from mine own fevered brow. I reproduce it here for your delectation. I was in bed, eyeing the morning egg-and-bacon while getting outside of a stiffish brandy-and-soda, when Jeeves shimmered into the room. I don’t know how he does it, and I would never dream of asking. There are things about one’s man one simply isn’t meant … [Read more...]

Review: Bugsy Malone

This review was first posted in April of 2004, on my old blog. I've made minimal edits. I first saw Bugsy Malone on Z Channel (one of the first pay-TV channels) back in the late '70's. I recorded it on to videotape, and watched it over and over; I've no idea how many times. And when I saw it on DVD at Tower Records yesterday, I grabbed it. IMDB only gives it 6.1 stars out of 10, but I'm telling you, I watched it with my two boys this afternoon, and it's everything I remembered. And … [Read more...]

The Compassion of Telling the Truth


This post first appeared in slightly different form in April of 2004. Since then, the blog post I was commenting on has disappeared, and I'm now Catholic rather than being a rather evangelical Episcopalian. The main point, however, remains. Lynn Sislo (the link has decayed) comments on an article about a young preacher who has been charged with heresy by his denomination. It seems that the preacher has been teaching that non-Christians might still be able to go to heaven; the … [Read more...]

Review: On Food and Cooking, by Harold McGee


This was first posted in March of 2004. As I've hinted upon occasion, our favorite TV show at the moment is Good Eats, which airs on the Food Network. It's not so much that we're foodies (we're not) as that Alton Brown is both funny and informative. He doesn't just show you how to cook something; he also goes into the chemistry and physics of it. And he goes about it in a suitably whimsical way. Anyway, in Alton Brown's cookbook he references McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and … [Read more...]

The Abolition of Man: C.S. Lewis on Natural Law


If you're like me, you've participated in dozens if not hundreds of bull-sessions, electronic or otherwise, on the topic of "What constitutes good literature?" The presence of the book in the "Literary Fiction" section is no clear guide; the "Literary Fiction" section is mostly filled with pretentious tripe. The popularity of the book is no clear guide; people will read the most appalling trash in large quantities. And the book I revere might well revulse you. It can be tempting to cut the … [Read more...]

Writing Words vs. Writing Fiction


The core of this post was written in March of 2004 in response to a post by Kelly "Jaquandor" Sedinger of Byzantium's Shores. I find it delightful that the link to Kelly's post still works, and that Kelly is still writing. Here's the old post; and then I'll have some more words at the end. * * * * * Over here, Jaquandor discusses whether blogging is bad for writers. It seems a correspondent had suggested that blogging is simply another form of procrastination, and of no benefit to a … [Read more...]

The Old Man In the Hat Comes Back

This is an old Dr. Seuss/Lord of the Rings spoof I wrote about ten years ago. I managed to get Frodo and Sam to Rivendell, and then the wellsprings of inspiration dried up. We had no time for adventures We had smoke-rings to tend. It was time for some pipeweed At the door of Bag End. When old Bilbo left town With a bang for a joke, He said we should always Think of him and smoke. "Somebody, SOMEBODY Has to, you see." Then he picked out two somebodies, Samwise and … [Read more...]