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It’s been a while since I’ve published anything here. I’ve been busy, with life and with finishing my story, as well as updating the official website, sage-eyes.com. In order to consolidate, I’m moving this blog over there. It has a lot of information about the book I’m writing and about me. I will still be coming up with blog posts, hopefully with more frequency, and hope you check it out and comment!  Also, my book has a trailer, take a look!

Hope to see you at sage-eyes.com! Thanks for everything!

 

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Why I don’t watch Game of Thrones

I’m a big fan of fantasy. I’ve read the books. So why don’t I watch HBO’s series Game of Thrones? You’d think I’d be all over it. And while I admit there’s the temptation, there are also several reasons why I don’t.

First of all, there’s the practical reason. I don’t have HBO. I don’t even have cable (unless you count Netflix). There’s just not enough of a compelling reason for me to get cable, let alone HBO. Now, I know, I could buy the seasons after they come out on DVD, but I don’t really want to spend my money on that, either. And while I’ve read that it is only of the most illegally downloaded shows out there, well, getting an illegal copy is just that, illegal.

Now, that’s a pretty weak excuse, if I really wanted to watch it. But there are other more important reasons why I don’t want to. The content is one of those reasons. While I’ve been desensitized to on screen violence, from what I’ve heard, this show takes it to a whole ‘nother level. And in a way, it’s hard to relate. Unless you’re two years old, you probably don’t use violence to get your way (and if you do, you should be behind bars). Even our wars don’t rely much on outright violence. Instead, many targets are killed by use of drones, snipers, or bombs. Still real, but not up close and personal like a good ol’ sword fight. So the violence on the show isn’t as relatable as it could be if they just toned it down a bit.

More importantly, in regards to content, though, is the sex. Take a look at the parent advisory section on IMDb.com and you’ll see a list in the sex section that makes you think this is a porno, not a drama. And while the violence might not affect people that much (just like in video games, where 99.9% of people that play violent video games don’t go out and shoot anyone), the sex portrayed actually can affect you, in subtle ways. Based on the books, the sex in the show doesn’t seem to involve loving intimacy between husband and wife, but it’s more along the lines of men hiring a prostitute, incest, or violent sexual assault against women. When the best you can hope for is consensual sex between two unmarried people, you know you’ve got a warped sense of values. There’s enough media trying to warp our perceptions on sex. I don’t need to add porn disguised as a story to that. At least in the books, it didn’t go over all the dirty details, usually, but there’s a difference between written word and seeing it on video. And even reading it got too much at times.

Which brings me to the next point, possibly the most important. Like I said, I’ve read the books. I thought the first book was great, and Ned’s death shocked me. I kept expecting him to come out and say it had all been a trick, that someone else died in his place. But no such luck. As memorable as that was, though, when I read the second book, I didn’t know who to root for. Ned had seemed like the only really good person. I went to Dany and Jon Snow. Tyrion had his funny moments, but was a bit too cynical for me. But with most of them gone in the fourth book, and without much to do in the fifth book, I stopped cheering for them. And that is one of the weaknesses of George R. R. Martin’s story: if anyone can die unexpectedly, then sooner or later, I’m going to protect myself by severing my attachment to the characters. If anyone can die unexpectedly, then it begs to wonder, why are we even reading their story, aside from the shock value? Sure, some people can die, like in the real world, but if I’m expecting the entire cast to die sooner or later, then what’s the point?

So while all the political maneuvering interests me, I think I’ll stick to more family friendly media, especially since I’m now a father. Or better yet, write my own books, dealing with similar themes, but only hinting at the terrible details, instead of showing them in full splendor.

Martin’s books might possibly have left more of an impression that way.

via Sage Eyes: Why I don’t watch Game of Thrones.

via Sage Eyes: Why I don’t watch Game of Thrones.

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Simon asks Princess Tiffany to dance with him. But should she accept?

“You little thieves, you’ll regret even touching me.”

“Actually, since you wanted to kill us, I really doubt that. I rather like living,” Tandrel said. Simon scanned the magic pass for a moment, and tore it up. The man who had been hunting them sat tied up in a small abandoned tavern. They had little light, despite the midday sun outside. The Majestic glared at them.

“I could burn you up right now, you know.”

Simon laughed. “Stop bluffing. You would have done it already. I doubt you even know elemental magic. Yours is probably all spiritual and useless.”

“It let me find you.”

“Much good that did,” Tandrel said. “What’s so special about this gem? Why would the Follings hire a Heretic to get it back?”

The man looked back and forth between them, then sighed. “You might be able to get a nice price on the market with that, but its real value is in its magic use.”

“So you want it for yourself? Are you working behind the Follings’ back?”

“No! I mean…yes?” The man drooped his head.

Simon and Tandrel looked at each other. “Nobles using magic? Interesting…”

The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)The Magicians by Lev Grossman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What do you get when you cross Harry Potter with Narnia? On the surface, The Magicians seems to be the answer. An awkward kid goes to a school for magic, and then finds a magical land of talking animals and saves it…kind of. But the spirit of the book is quite different than that of Harry Potter and Narnia. Aside from the copious amounts of alcohol, this book deals with more mature themes, like finding a meaning for yourself and navigating a real relationship. In fact, the main theme, which hits you quite bluntly over and over, especially in the second half, is that if you don’t learn how to be happy with yourself, nothing, not even magic or finding out that your childhood fantasies are true will make you that way. This isn’t really escapism like most fantasies, but quite the opposite: it tries to make you face reality. Or at least Grossman’s version of reality, which is quite depressing. Still, it sucks you in, makes you want to finish it even though you know it won’t end happily ever after. The characters are deeply flawed and can be jerks, especially Quentin, the main character, and much of the setting only exists to serve as a contrast to Hogwarts and Narnia. Do I dare read the next books? That would be rather masochistic, but the writing was well done, full of great metaphors. As long as you know what you’re getting into, this can be a good, although not so much fun, read.

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Earth Afire (The First Formic War, #2)Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book, along with Earth Unaware, is an interesting read, but not so much for the characters, but for the situation. It is interesting reading about plausible technological advancements and their usage, like mining asteriods for metal in deep space. Some of the technology isn’t as believable as other, like the gravity laser that can disrupt the gravity of any object, like a planet. Mini Death Star, right there. But none of the ships can go faster than the speed of light, including the aliens, so that’s a refreshing change from a lot of science fiction. It begins with a family of deep space miners who see the alien vessel coming to earth and want to warn people about it, but because of technology limits as well as bloated bureaucracies, plus the radiation the alien ship emits, no one gets the message until the aliens are nearly there, and no one believes it until the aliens actually do come. Once they do come and start invading, no one can agree with each other and it just becomes a big mess, which the aliens take advantage of, to an extent. It’s like politics today. The characters didn’t really feel strong to me, just representative of different factions on Earth, trying to cooperate for a common goal. My biggest complaint would be about the aliens, the formics, or better known as the buggers by those who have read the Ender books. There wasn’t much description of them, but I was hoping for something more original. Basically, they are ant men, who swarm in hordes but don’t seem to be that smart, despite advanced technology. The comic book versions don’t get props for original design, either. But the book still makes an interesting read, especially since Ender’s Game is coming out as a movie soon.

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In this technologically advanced society we live in, where science rules and anything coming close to magic belief is ridiculed, including religion to an extent, why hasn’t fantasy gone the way of the Western, to a niche group of loyal readers but rejected by the mainstream? Why have movies like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings ranked in millions while the recent Lone Ranger failed to impress (aside from quality issues)? Why is fantasy a viable genre in books, video games, and movies (albeit limited in that last regard)?
I may not have all the answers, but I do have some ideas. First of all, people need something to believe in. So with religion being derided on all sides, or people disenchanted with it, many turn to make believe magic, because really, science doesn’t give a lot of comfort. Science doesn’t tell you what happens to you when you die, except that your body decomposes. Science doesn’t tell you whether there is an ultimate being looking out for you; it can’t even tell you if there is life out there or not beyond our planet. You can’t pray to science or believe that science cares whether things will work out in the end. But what does this have to do at all with fantasy? You may ask. Fantasy books can’t give me that comfort. World of Warcraft doesn’t tell me what happens when I die. I can’t use the Force to get revenge on the kids who pick on me at school. Well, there was one guy where I worked before who talked about all the nerdy things, especially Star Wars, as if they were real. He even asked once the guy who trained me what the difference between the Force and other religions were, to which he got the response, “No matter how much I believe it is real, it can’t be. It was made up by a guy named George Lucas for entertainment purposes, and he doesn’t even believe in it.” That incident got me thinking. In no way do I advocate being like that guy who was kind of deluded, although even he knew that Star Wars wasn’t real. But it served him just the same, filling some need of his to believe in something guiding the universe. The truth is, fantasy often introduces religious ideas that would never be accepted in any other form, but in fantasy, it can be integrated into the subconscious while the conscious mind dismisses it as entertainment, something made up. So while someone might not have organized religion in their life, they might believe subconsciously in some ideas like there is a guiding force, which gives them reassurance.
Secondly, fantasy usually calls back to simpler days, when there weren’t so many people, when technology didn’t complicate things. People didn’t have to worry about 20000 pages of Obamacare that no one’s read all the way, they didn’t have to worry about getting likes on Facebook and Twitter, they didn’t have to worry about navigating health insurance, car insurance, mortgages, credit card debt, remembering passwords, identity theft, software skills, and confusing government forms. Now, obviously things weren’t all great back in the day. There were repression, caste systems, tyranny, wars, diseases without cures, few rights, unsanitary conditions, and overall poor living conditions. But the romantic part of us believes in a world where the peasant can take up a sword and save the world. Where he can find true love with a princess. Where good triumphs over evil. These things that we see in fantasy that we don’t in the real world.
Finally, fantasy allows us to use imagination in a way that would be mocked in other genres. Worlds where people fly on dragons, or can fly by their own willpower. Where flowers grow to be a hundred feet tall. Where other creatures besides humans interact with us. Where the world doesn’t have to be a ball spinning around the sun, but can be flat on a turtle’s back. Fantasy takes us back to our childhood, where things didn’t have an explanation, but that didn’t keep us from exploring them. The world was wonderful, exciting, new. Not drab and gray like we so often see it now.
And the world needs more people who can see and enjoy it with child-like wonder. Image

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