Friday, February 24, 2012


(click "Menu" in the lower right to embiggen and enjoy!)

Today, Angry Robot Books, one of our go-to publishers for cool new genre fiction, has decided to offer a free sample of Gav Thorpe's Crown of the Blood, which SMISA contributer Kate Sherrod reviewed happily last year. This is ancient Rome for pulp fans, kids, and it's the first book of what looks promisingly to be a great series. It seriously has it all: legionnaires riding lions, barbarians riding dinosaurs, dynastic politics, blood and the problems of polygamy. Lots of fun and highly recommended!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Jason Mormoa as Conan

The movies do not love depicting our favourite barbarian in the plate armour he occasionally wore in the original stories and novellas, but at least this time around we had him in a mail sleeve for a good chunk of the action. Love the film or hate it (we at SMISA loved it, despite its rejection of canon and its lame inventions), we think most of you will agree that, brown eyes aside, Jason Mormoa made a helluva good Conan. Shoutiness? Check. Nakedness? Check? Wenching, guzzling, drinking, slaying? Check. Growling? Check.

Will there be sequels? Dare we hope? By Crom, we do!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Obscure French Shouty Men in Shiny Armour

In 1978, French auteur Eric Rohmer, best known for his 1960s morality plays like Pauline at the Beach, released one of the oddest and most hypnotically fascinating films I have ever seen. It was inspired by perhaps one of the granddaddies of all epic fantasy literature, Chr├ętien de Troyes' 12th century Arthurian romance Perceval, the Story of the Grail, which alone makes it a must-include for this blog. But this is not some big loud crashy bombastic free-for-all like, say, Excalibur. No: this film is straight out of Jesse L. Weston, restoring the ritual character to Arthurian legend and the theater. Lines are chanted as much as delivered; movements, too, are often stylized (but not, as you see, in the fight scenes).

The result is a film as puzzling and intriguing as the Grail legend itself. If you haven't seen it, get your hands on a copy of the DVD right away!