We stumbled across another illustrated book for young readers, from a couple of years ago. It’s simply titled Skunk and Badger. Easy to remember! “Wallace and Gromit meets Winnie-the-Pooh in a fresh take on a classic odd-couple friendship, from Newbery Honor author Amy Timberlake with full-color and black-and-white illustrations throughout by Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen. No one wants a skunk. They are unwelcome on front stoops. They should not linger in Important Rock Rooms. Skunks should never, ever be allowed to move in. But Skunk is Badger’s new roommate, and there is nothing Badger can do about it. When Skunk plows into Badger’s life, everything Badger knows is upended. Tails are flipped. The wrong animal is sprayed. And why-oh-why are there so many chickens?” Find out when you look for it in hardcover from Algonquin.
The second furry role playing game has just come off the presses, and I hear will be launched at Further Confusion this month: World Tree. I've been playtesting this one (and did some illustrations for it), and it's really fascinating . . . an intricate setting with a logical magical system that actually has repercussions on daily life. An updated website should be ready for FC weekend, so be sure to check back then for order information and a glimpse at Mike Raabe's spectacular cover art.
Available at Anne McCaffrey's website.
Anne McCaffrey's dragonriders of Pern were my introduction to 'adult' science fiction when I was young, and my favorite character was (and still is) the Masterharper, Robinton. As a kidling I used to make up tunes to fit the lyrics McCaffrey would often excerpt at the beginning of chapters. Imagine my delight, then, to finally see a CD of songs from Pern! I'd been waiting for an opportunity to purchase this relatively obscure disc, and found it finally at a filk-dealer's table at Chicon 2000.
Micah: I'm here with Bard Bloom and Vicki Borah Bloom, co-creators of the new roleplaying game, World Tree. Could you two tell us a little about it?
Vicki: Sure! The game takes place on a world which is a giant tree. Civilization has flourished on its branches. There are eight prime species who live on the tree, and who are the people whom players can play in the game. The world is full of magic -- even small children cast spells!
Bard: And it is a very civilized place, mostly -- like 18th century Earth in many ways, though aspects of society range from 13th to 23rd century. Except that it is on a tree's branches. The flat tops of the branches are civilized -- but the sides are not. The wilderness is never more than a few dozen miles away from the cities.
The Dream Hunters
by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano
published by Vertigo/DC Comics
Available at Amazon.com
This book is simply too beautiful not to own.
Well, the much hated, feared, and anticipated article from Vanity Fair is out. As has become common knowledge, there was a reporter from the magazine at Midwest FurFest 2000, who interviewed several people in the furry fandom and spent some time at the convention.
The reaction, much like the article, was less than positive.
Available at Amazon.com.
Evil goblins have taken over your kingdom, destroyed your best wizard, and hexed all the color away from your world! Do you: 1. Send an army to defeat them; 2. Surrender yourself and your valuables and hope for
the best; or 3. Trust the transmogrified pets of your recently deceased wizard to restore color to your world and incidentally take care of the goblin leaders?
Ring of Swords by Eleanor Arnasson [Orb/Tom Doherty Assoc, 1993 -- 364 pages]
It is the late 21st Century, and humanity is busy exploring the far reaches of space looking for habitable planets in the hope of escaping a polluted and overcrowded Earth. They are also looking for other intelligent life. They find the latter in the form of the fur-covered humanoid hwarhath. They seemed at first to be perfectly matched to humanity: aggressive, technologically advanced, and eager to go to war with the first thing they met.
Or so they seemed.
The Wolves of Time: Journeys to the Heartland by William Horwood [Harper Collins UK, 1995 -- 610 pages]
Fire Bringer, by David Clement-Davies
"It is a dark time for the deer. A tyrannical new Lord of the Herd has ended the old way, the yearly play of antlers that ensure a change of leadership. At his command is a corps of young stags, antlers sharpened for the kill, whose mission is completely dominion over the animal world.
"But a prophecy among the deer promises a hero -- a fawn with the mark of an oak leaf on his forehead. His unique bond with all creatures, including humans, will bring a new age of freedom.
"Rannoch is born the night his father is murdered. His mother, Eloin, keeps him hidden from the deadly attention of the Lord of the Herd, but soon Rannoch is forced to flee, beginning a perilous, wonderous journey. Among the moutnins and haunted glens of the Great Land, the young stag encounters strange herds, makes unusual allies, and, at last, finds the knowledge and courage to face his extraordinary destiny.
"In this grand epic of old Scotland, with its echoes of myth, history, and Scripture, David Clement-Davies has created a classic hero tale, full of thrilling action and told with the resonance of legend."
As a writer and an avid reader, I naturally tend to be very critical of books that I read. Yet I also take into account other factors that attribute to a book's greatness. Many "great" books have scored 0 on my list. However, _Fire Bringer_ is an excellent tale that is woven together with history into a rapturing story that was difficult to put down. I stayed up many, many nights reading this book.
Fire Bringer, by David Clement-Davies
Well, it's warmed over Watership down for sure. Actually, I was a little disappointed in this one. The author never could seem to decide which way he wanted to go: at one moment its an allegory for historical battles and the unification of Scotland, and the next its a much more traditional sentient animal story.