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Tolkien’s Cellar Door

At the beginning of May I saw Disney/Fox Searchlight’s new film Tolkien. Unlike the fictional literary works produced by the film’s titular character, this movie is not an epic adventure of good versus evil, but rather a depiction of Tolkien’s youth through his time...

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One Genre to Rule Them All

It is a heck of a month to be a nerd. Two massively successful franchises, Marvel’s Avengers and HBO’s Game of Thrones, are closing out their story arcs. Both have achieved critical and commercial success; on the critical front, Game of Thrones has won thirty-eight...

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I Can Beat You Anywhere: The Appeal of Reacher

Last month I experienced a first since starting this site: in the craziness of launching City of Darkness, I accidentally missed my monthly blog post. It’s time to make that up, so in the spirit of breaking rules (in this case my self-imposed rule of one blog a...

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Lessons from Dystopia

I recently began watching the Hulu original series The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name. Dystopian fiction, which has its roots in works such as Brave New World, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451, has seen a popular resurgence in the last ten...

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The Human Thing to Do

In Warrior of Light, there is a scene where Quentiin, a slave, is captured after attempting to escape. In order to punish Quentiin, his captors (the malichons) select two other slaves at random, and they tell Quentiin they are going to kill one of the two slaves. They...

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The Catharsis of Hallmark Christmas

I spent Thanksgiving week at my parents’ house in southern Alabama. I grew up in the snow-covered woods of northern Minnesota, but my folks have since decided to spend the winters of their retirement years among the magnolia trees and along the shores of a more...

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City of Darkness Preview

The following is an excerpt from the opening sequence of "City of Darkness": The elion opened his eyes. He lay in darkness, the earthen floor unyielding against his back. He did not know how long he had been here—hours? Days? Years? It mattered little, for he had long...

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Writing (and the Deer Stand)

Next month, deer season will open in northern Minnesota. I remember a November morning several years ago, when I found myself sitting in a deer stand near the crack of dawn in the woods. The season was colder than usual, and before the sun rose, I’d fully...

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The Seasons Turn

Last week, I had to turn on the heat in my house for the first time since May. I resisted as long as possible, because I didn’t want to go down as the guy who turned the heat on in August, but we were having a cold snap in good old Bismarck and I had to relent. This...

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Why Does Epic Fantasy Work?

This week, I’ll be presenting at Tampa Bay Comic Con, and the title of my panel will be “What Makes Epic Fantasy Epic?” Specifically, I’ll be digging into how the fantasy genre has evolved over time, why I think it succeeds as a genre, and why I write it. In terms of...

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