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Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab

Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Magic In Children's Books - Roald Dahl

The inspiration for this post came from this post on Laura Jane Cassidy's blog.

Growing up, I adored Roald Dahl's magical mischief, although I always struggled to spell his name right. =/ I'm embarrassed for admitting it, but there it is. In this post, I'm only going to be referring to the books that engage directly with fantasy or magic, even though a great deal contain an element of the Fantastic; talking animals, inanimate objects doing weird jazz, you know what I mean. Don'tcha just love it? =] Roald Dahl truly is one of a kind.


My favorite Dahl book has to be Matilda.
How could it not be? An adorable little girl with a vile family develops magic powers via her own intelligence and gets her comeuppance on said vile family. Awesomeness. It's one of those stories that makes you feel guilty for wanting vengeance, but that doesn't make it any less awesome when it comes. In your FACE, Trunchbull.
Roald Dahl books don't go too much into the specifics of magic, which helps to keep it lighthearted. The film adaptation starring Mara Wilson is one of my favourite kids movies for that reason. I think it's important to keep the Wonder (capitalisation required) in fantasy. When High Fantasy becomes too high and Epic Fantasy too epic, it starts to parody the whole genre. And that's just a tragedy.

The Magic Finger

This story is loooads of fun. (I love how the protagonist in this story was just called - 'Girl'. Makes me laugh every time. Girrrle.) So 'Girl' has a magic finger that does things of it's own accord when she's cross. The mayhem that comes about from her magic finger is sooo funny, women growing whiskers and and the Gregg family becoming birds and all that.

Never mind how she ended up with a magic finger, or the probability of causing serious harm... ! Still, though, for me this book prompts thought into the rules and boundaries of magic, even though what makes The Magic Finger so fun is that it's more about the What and maybe the Why than it is about the How. I doubly like this, because one of my writerly drawbacks is that my stories often overcomplicate things.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

- is one of those wonderlands I loved to explore as a kid, sorry, but much cooler than Alice's, which is a particular favourite of my Mum. (I'll get round to making a post on Alice In Wonderland at some point.) CATCF is so silly and playful, it's a perfect reminder that fantasy is awesome because it stretches your imagination. Reading this book when I was younger, it was kind mind-blowing to think about all the ways that Roald Dahl manipulated the very very simple concept of chocolate! And everybody loves chocolate... (okay, most people =] ...many people...? =/ ) Other confectionary was messed about with too - think of the Hair Toffee. And in The Giraffe, The Pelly And Me, there's a ref to Willy Wonka's Rainbow Drops, which allows you to spit in seven different colours after you've been sucking on them. I had a pretty wild imagination as a kid (it gave me years of insomnia), so I could only be inspired and awed by one of the champs like Roald Dahl. It's not really surprising that I'd grow up to love the same element of the Fantastic that lit up my days as a kid.
... y'know, I never did read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

Oh well, onto my To Be Read pile it goes. (Must be about 50 books long by now.)

James and the Giant Peach
'There's more power and magic in those things in there than all the rest of the world put together,' the old man said softly.
'But - but - what are they?' James murmured, finding his voice at last. 'Where do they come from?'
'Ah-ha,' the old man whispered. 'You'd never guess that!'
-- James And the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl. (pg. 18 in 2001 Penguin Edition)
Heard that one before? Yup. And I LOVE it. The simple, unsuspecting object that turns out to be what the fate of the world rests on, or something. You know. The Ring. The Triforce. Some Magic sword or orb. It fascinates me to think of the properties that could exist in this All Powerful object we thought we knew - does that make it alien, or is Earth evolving? Anyway, I'm going off track...
Anywhoo. The above quote reminds me of Jack And The Beanstalk, although in James And The Giant Peach, the 'seeds' that the peach comes from are described as little stones or crystals, about the size of a grain of rice. What I like about this book, to be honest, is mainly the characteristics of the insects. It's super entertaining to me.

George's Marvellous Medicine

I don't love this one as much as the others, maybe because I'm not as familiar with it, but as a fun read, it's still hilarious (that mean old Grandma!1) and as a Fantasy study, it's utterly intriguing. No, Srsly. 'George's Marvellous Medicine' is, in essence, a potion. And if you read all of the ingredients he puts in it, just the idea is hilarious, insane, wondrous and we know in real life it would just be lethal, no qualms no questions. It would be bloody poison!
Yet, when he's finished, there's sparks coming of it and the fumes are described as 'rich blue smoke', which sounds pretty magical to me. I love the image of that in my mind, like a real potion!
Not to mention what it does to his Grandma, but... well you get my drift, you get my drift.


Here we goooo!
I remember this story pretty vividly, especially the animated film adaption. It's probably one of the first stories I read with my own two (seven-year old...? Nine?) hands about giants, and for all I know it could be the reason why I still don't particularly like them as a fantasy being in a story. Another fantasy being I'm not much fond of is fairies - but hey, hey... that's another issue, son.
What I love most in this story is one, the character development, and two, the fantasy elements that make up the story; BFG and the nasty giants, the land where the giants live, the happy bubbly non-alco fizzy drink Frobscottle, the dream catching in glass jars, and BFG's wonderfully bizarre mixed-up language.
Two things in particular - I love the whole process of Dream Catching, and how a very good dream is a Golden Phizzwizard and and nightmare is a Trogglehumper. Nice ideaaa.
The second thing is how all of the giants are terrified of Jack The Giant-Slayer, of the Jack and The Beanstalk story. That was such an excellent bit of irony to throw in there and makes me think about folklores within fantasy cultures. I think they're quite an important part of world-building.
'Is it ever occurring to you that a human bean who is fifty is spending about twenty years sleeping fast? [...] So what I is trying to explain to you is that a human bean who says he is fifty is not fifty, he is is only thirty.'-- The BFG, Roald Dahl (Penguin Edition)
Interesting quote. Last year, my Japanese tutor (as in, she was teaching me Japanese) also made a point about how we spend a third of our day sleeping, and thus, a third of our life sleeping. I never really though about that. I'd better work even harder on writing my book.

The Witches

Within the realm of Roald Dahl books, one thing that scared me more than the nasty giants is the witches of this story. This book used to genuinely disturb me and the 1990 film adaption scared the crap outta me. Yet, I love it to pieces, because it's so clever and curiously intriguing.
There's actually too much to go into in this book, but one thing I can mention from off the top of my head, was the tell-tale signs of how to spot a witch. I love this because I think it makes a story more believable when any class of superpowered humans or supernatural beings should have their own set of characteristics besides their magical powers. And if for some reason, they are humanoid and identical to humans in every way except for one, that should be explained too.


Noticed a trend? These children are all trying to get away from awful adults and ghastly grown-ups. (See what I did there.) I guess one exception is CharlieATCF, but there was still vile adults in the story even if they're not related to Charlie. That interesting. I can think of many fantasy titles wherein the fantasy element comes in as a result of the character trying to escape something. Even my own work, Seven Empires Fall (CT), it could be said that Karalan's story begins when she goes on the run from the NP. It sets the hole wheel in motion.

I still cling possessively to my 16-book box set, which includes:
Boy: Tales of Childhood
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Danny, the Champion of the World
Esio Trot
Fantastic Mr Fox
George's Marvellous Medicine
Going Solo
James and the Giant Peach
The Enormous Crocodile
The Magic Finger
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
The Twits
The Witches

- and I expect that if I had to sell most of my 150+ books, this set would be one of the last to go.

Ashana Lian .

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Fantasy Concept: The Sword

I saw a poster for 47 Ronin on a bus the other day and that got me thinking about the sword; the fantasy warrior's favoured weapon. From Arthur's Sword In The Stone to The Lord of The Rings, magical swords are the most iconic devices in fantasy.

In fantasy, the sword is really the only noble weapon of choice. Why? It can end someone's existence just as surely as a chainsaw, right? But the sword has a symbolic resonance in the fantasy genre, and swordmasters therefore provoke a sort of reverence.

Swords come in all shapes and sizes, they are made from all kind of materials (often in fantasy, a mystical and fictional metal), and they often have their own "personality". The most sacred of swords are named and treated with respect. Sometimes they are never even used, even if they have magical properties; what it represents is more important that what it can be used for.

Let's look at some fancy-pants swords.

The Legend Of Zelda (Game)

The legendary Master Sword symbolises justice and balance, which is why its rightful owner is the Hero of Time. It's the ultimate symbol of light, the only weapon that can defeat Ganondorf, the king of darkness. Across the TLoZ games the Master Sword has had a range of powers and abilities, from time travel (Ocarina of Time) to harbouring spirits (Skyward Sword) but its most powerful and important trait is being able to vanquish evil.

Death's Sword (Concept)

Why does Death need a sword to kill you? IT'S DEATH! But as I said earlier, there's something about a sword that makes murderers seem humane; more noble, less heartless. It's bizarre, really.

Cloud Strife (Character)

The Buster Sword - 6 combined swords. Wielding a sword wider than his waist and heavier than he could realistically carry, Cloud Strife is one character who I now literally nothing about. Let's move on.

Heavenly Sword (Game)

Often, the sword is seen as having an elegance that other instruments of violence lack. Fantasy has seen a rise in the trend of women swordfighters, while carefully sidestepping the issue of many of these heroines not being muscular enough to carry or fight with them. Logically, many characters who fight with swords would struggle to use them well, unlike young Arya of A Song of Ice And Fire, who has a sword specially made for her that is deadly, but much thinner, lighter and easier to use.

Sword-fighting, it seems, is just as much about glamour as it is about killing.

Kill Bill (Film)

The Bride, in Kill Bill Vol. 1, seeks out Hattori Hanzo to request one of his swords. Hanzo's sword is superior to all others and only one of his swords will give her a fighting chance against Bill and co - indeed, it slices half of somebody's head off. Often in fantasy, there is one particular sword or type of sword that is heralded as being special of having some unique mythical trait. Coming into contact with the sword increases the user's ability to tap into its power.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Film)

Some swords only allow its power to be accessed by a worthy fighter, The One, as it were. Others, like Green Destiny, do not differentiate. Whether the fighter's intention is pure or corrupt, the sword does what it does. The sword featured here, Green Destiny, is the most beautiful and lethal of fantastical swords, and destroys most weapons that are pitted against it. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of my favourite films. In the picture above, Yu Shu Lien holds her own against Jen, who is armed with Green Destiny. Skill is just as important as the quality of the instrument. Unless the sword is magical, a weak or untrained fighter often can't use the sword to its full potential.

Ashana Lian .

Further reading:

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Summer 2014 Fantasy Book Reading Challenge!

I, Ashana Lian of Ashana Lian - A Fantasy Writer's Blog present to you -

The Summer 2014
Fantasy Book Reading Challenge!

Source:, wallpaper by Nimarra

The Idea

If you read only one book per month, that will put you into the top 1% of income earners in our society. But if you read one book per week, 50 books per year, that will make you one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field. Regular reading will transform your life completely. 
-- Brian Tracy at

When I listened to Brian Tracy's 'The Power of Self-Discipline', he said that if you read for 60 minutes a day, perhaps a little in the morning and a little in the evening, this translates into more or less one book a week.

If you read one book a week for a whole year, that's 52 books a year,
that is the equivalent to a PhD in your field.

I don't know about you, but this stunned me. If I read one book a week on investing, or accounting, of success strategies or self-development, for a whole year, then assuming I actually retained that information, I would have amassed a lot of knowledge on that topic.

That's where I got the idea for my reading challenge.

I mean, I'm quite sure Brian Tracy was referring to non-fiction books in the above quote, but I'm sure I can balance both fiction and non-fiction. I'm supposed to be reading books for university at the moment, and also I am incorporating self-development books and books on investment. But last summer, I managed to read at least 10 books from roughly May to September - that's quite slow for me, to be honest. In the past I've read much more. So assuming that my holiday this year is, again, from about May to September, and I read fantasy books only, I should aim for the target of 20 books in that five-month period (4 over 4 weeks, for 5 months).

I'm quite excited about the idea because, as I said before, I was fallen sorely behind with my fantasy books. When I'm at work, I see new fantasy books arrive in the delivery and I immediately write it down on my hand, but then it'll go into my Amazon wishlist and stay there for months on end while I struggle to keep up with university work.

Assuming I can meet deadlines by the summer, I'm definitely going to give this a go. In the meanwhile, I'll be reading every singe Robert Kiyosaki book I can find and a whole host of other non-fiction books I've wanted to read, though I won't go into it now.

I'm just glad that this current cycle of depression is over - ever since it started to fade, I began to love reading again.


Soo - I thought, to make it fun, I'll create some rules in case anybody else wants to join in!

How does a book qualify?
It must be a Fantasy Book. Because the point of this exercise is to catch up on books I saw a while ago, they don't have to be published within any particular timescale. It can be by any author and of any size; it can be as petite as The Fellowship Of The Rings or as colossal as a GRRM book. But...

... like I said, it must be fantasy, and it must be a book.
Paranormal Romance, Young Adult (YA), and children's books (eg. The Hobbit) are not allowed.
Also excluded are comics and mangas.

When does the Challenge begin and end?
I'm beginning mine from May and ending in September because of when the university semesters fall, but I know most school summer holidays are from mid-June-ish to August. So although my target is 20 books, I'd pitch the average Summer Fantasy Reading Challenge goal as about 10 books.

Achievement Score
(based on the challenge starting mid-June and ending 30th August)

5+ books: Novice Status
10+ books: Master Status
15+ books: Sorcerer Status
20+ books: Sovereign Status
25+ books: Deity Status

Progress can be tracked using a goodreads bookshelf, but I get the feeling I'll end up not bothering. Instead I'll post what I'm reading, what I've read, and what's up next on a blog widget. At the end of every month, I'll review the 4 books that I read.

Well, I can't think of anything else because my brain is turning to mush, but I can't wait for this challenge. Next week I'll probably do a post about the books I can't wait to read. =D Until then, may the force be mildew. I mean, with you.

Ashana Lian .

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Conventions In London For The Fantasy Fan..?

This was meant to be my Thursday post, but to be honest after all the little things that happened today, I'm simply exhausted. Even more so as I just posted on my other two blogs as well; I had to gather as much of my brains as possible to post on my style blog, then finish and brush up a long draft post on my personal blog and post that too. To think that I was going to post a chapter of my online stories. Ha! Laughable!

So instead of putting an interesting fantasy concept under the microscope, I'm doing a much simpler post today. Sorry dudes and dees. I bailed out.

MCM Comic Con London. Not my image.

I don't think this blog had been created when I went to my first comic convention. It was MCM Comic Con London 2013 and (dare I say it =/ ) it was a disappointment to me. On the one hand, I loved the vibe there. I loved that we were all there for the same reason: our love of the Fantastic. Our love of cosplaying and fandoms and stuff. O_O But after I got over the wonder of that, nothing really made me go 'wow'. I'd seen it all before - online or in little shops hidden in China Town like Forbidden Planet. The only really cool thing was to get them all in one place. But I got bored after an hour. It didn't help that I was already exhausted from three hours of queuing. Hahaha, I dunno how I got so tired from standing and sitting but there you go!

But I'm not giving up yet; if I go back this year, two fundamental things have to change: A. I MUST cosplay (just for the experience), and B. I MUST get an early bird ticket.

The two things that took the most fun out of it was that I went as a muggle civilian (e_e) and after all the queueing it was too packed to move inside the venue. I think it would also help to coerce more friends into going. The more the merrier, and all that ._. until you got about 8 people, then it doesn't get merrier, it gets dismal.

SO, I may not be back at MCM this year. But that got me thinking about other conventions in London where I can find the Fantastic. It's a sorry-looking list, but I'm sure more will come to me as I do more research, and if anyone is kind enough to suggest one I've missed, that would be EPIC.

MCM Comic Con
(Next expo: 23-25 May 2014, Excel London.
Well... you heard me bitch about it for like three paragraphs, there's really nothing more to be said (lmao. seriously.) From what I can tell, it seems to be more popular than the others. More people I know generally know about it. (I suppose that's why it was f*&%!*#! packed. (e_e) Man, it still gets me...)

London Super Comic Con
(Next expo: 15 & 16 March 2014, Excel Centre London.
Hey heeey! I'm looking forward to this one! Even though I generally love fantasy, when I narrow that down to comics I realise my knowledge is pretty limited, but I'm sure I'll get by. (I'll watch some Grace Randolf videos before I go or somethin'.) It was be great to expand my knowledge in this field and I'll just have to do my best not to buy memorabilia. It's bizarrely addictive.
My friends don't seem to have heard of this. I'm still dragging them to it though.

Nine Worlds GeekFest
(Next expo: 8-10 August 2014, Radisson Hotel and Renaissance Hotel, London Heathrow
Nine Worlds will take place in London, UK, 8-10 August 2014. It’s about gaming, film, cosplay, fandom, literature, science, geek culture, meeting people and having a really big party.
That perked my interest! It seems like it would be a lot of fun as there's a TON of stuff to do, although it does also seem very... iono, 'exclusive'. It's notably more expensive than other Cons, but I think if I saved up for it and could get somebody else along with me, it would be worth it.
I also want to share this from the website:
So, you might be wondering, what's this 'Nine Worlds' thing people are talking about? Well, we're a group of sci-fi convention fans putting together a weekend-long, multi-genre, residential GeekFest in London next summer, on August 9th-11th. We've named it Nine Worlds GeekFest. The idea behind Nine Worlds is to create a large fan-run multi-genre geek event in London. For years we've been going to huge US sci-fi cons like Dragon*Con and GenCon and SDCC, and we got to wondering why nothing like that exists in the UK. France can drum up over 20,000 sci-fi fans for Utopiales, even Finland can find 15,000 fans for FinnCon. But when it comes to large fan-driven residential multi-genre sci-fi cons in the UK, pickings are pretty slim.
That said, we're not really a sci-fi con either; we're more than that. We started off self-defining as a sci-fi con because there aren't really any other models (or words) for what we're trying to create. But we always intended to be inclusive of all kinds of things from board games to costumes to Doctor Who fandom to skeptics. As we're been developing the project, the label Sci-Fi Con has been fitting less and less well, and eventually, we decided that GeekFest is a better description. And while there'll be lots of sci-fi/fantasy TV/film & lit stuff going on at Nine Worlds, there'll be even more other stuff like science and creative writing and film making, that have no direct link to sci-fi (other than a degree of overlap in fan bases).
Read the full thing HERE.
It was interesting how they made the comparison between UK Cons and Cons in other parts of the world, particularly the US which looks a lot more intense than the UK counterparts. Oh well. I'm glad we at least have one Con available for the fantasy and sci-fi fans, let alone all of these.

Loncon 3
(Next expo: 14-18 August 2014, Excel London,
I also came across the name World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”) This one seems different to the others; it seems more modest and I get the feeling that it's gonna focus a lot more on science-fiction and fantasy that spawned from the city of London. Which would be interesting.

Hyper Japan
(Next expo: 25-27 July 2014, Earls Court, London
I went to this last year and I LOVED it. I wouldn't exactly call it a convention, it's more of a festival of Japanese culture. But as it's Japan from which came anime, manga, many video games, and so many other overlooked fantasy elements, that  it deserves place on this list.

London Film And Comic Con [Added 14/03/14]
(Next Expo: 11-13 July 2014, Earls Court 2, London
I can't believe I forgot this one. When I came across it two years ago I'd wanted to go, and last year I wanted to go even more! This year I simply CANNOT miss it. And it's in West London, so close! There is just no excuse. Apart from... okay NO! I will go.


That took a lot longer than I expected. But my excitement about these upcoming expos kept me going. When I get the chance, I'm going to do more research. There might be more I've missed!

Ashana Lian .

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Author's Notes on [Seven Empires Fall - Chapter 6]

HERE to read the short fic.

Disclaimer: Don't own it.

I decided to post it as I had written it - indented.

My Fiction Friday pieces are line spaced; I do that for work I have written to post online as it's easier to read. Manuscripts, I write indented.

This is one of my favourite little bits, naturally, as Milete Beyene is introduced and she is probably my favourite female character. I may have mentioned it, but when the story was created, she was meant to be the protag. But she couldn't fulfil the needs of the story, so she stepped down to Karalan and I suppose you could say her inexplicable suspicion of Karalan has been present ever since. Teehee XD

Chapter 6. 3rd of June. I can't believe how quickly I got to Chapter SIX, I started writing the whole thing in, what, May?

This picture is misleading, but it'll do for now. Bless'd Bay is a town that runs along the edge of the country, collected of villages and one big dirt road connecting them. There are rivers within this town, but just outside. Most of it is a beach. The large hut that is the school of Bless'd Bay is actually at the highest point of the village, on a hill, and you can see the beach in the near distance. it isn't that close to the water, and there are no mountains in sight.

Well, I didn't manage to post the fic before ten but at least I posted it at all.


I'm going to leave this bit out, because if improvements are to be made, it would have to be looked at in perspective. As this is an extract of a chapter of a book of a series, I COULD analyse this one bit, but I'm not sure how useful that would be right now, while the whole thing is still unfinished. Also, I'm tired and my eyes hurt. G'night.

Ashana Lian .

P.S. This schedule is working really well so far! So, Author's Notes today, a fantasy related post on Tuesday, and maybe Thursday, then a brand new short fic on Friday! I'll do my best to keep this up!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Author's Notes On [Supe'd Up: After The Ball]

HERE to read the excerpt of this story.

This is about my Fiction Friday piece - Fiction Friday is a feature I made up for this blog to ENSURE I am practising fantasy writing! (I often forget. I wrote this last week Friday and I even forgot to POST it). It also enabled me to explore the dozens of ideas I think of but never use, as I'm usually always writing a longer work.

It is ALSO to get back into the habit of doing what I say I will and keeping my promises, and during the worst parts of my depression I hated being controlled by me emotions. I'm putting myself back in control again. I was a tired as HELL yesterday, need to take a 5 min rest before I finished typing it up, but you can be damn sure I did it!

 Another Google Ims. discovery.

Why do I always end up posting this late? And - why do I always end up not being able to cmplete it fully before I post? Argh.

As I only just typed up the notes I hastily scribbled on Monday, I don't feel like the characters have been done any justice, or that anyone can properly understand what's happening from thi particular extract.

Oh well.

I definitely did not make Whitney cute enough. She's supposed to be ADORABLE.

Because this segment was posted on its own and separate from the rest of the story, I changed things I really shouldn't have. It was so fun to make Amy use her powers on Dewey twice, but in the original scene she doesn't do any of this. She is a mother-figure to Dewey and doesn't really mess about with him in that way, plus he was telling her about an unprovoked attack which should have shocked all of them more than I actually show. She would be too deep in thought and too concerned about Whitney's welfare to think, 'Oh, let me put baked beans on my brother's head.'

I don't know what to do about that. I don't want to take it out, and yet, it doesn't fit in there.

Improvements (If I were to rewrite/add to this, I would...)

- Again, I didn't do enough descriptions, especially of Dewey.
- Also not enough unique characterisation in this piece, particularly in their actions.
- Did not spend enough time in general crafting this.


Ashana Lian .

P.S. Fiction Friday? So far so good!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Fiction Friday: Seven Empires Fall - Chapter 6

Disclaimer: Don't own it.

There was one girl of all the villages of Bless’d Bay who was desired, hated and envied by every other girl and boy, and it wasn't Karalan.
   It was impossible to look at Milete Beyene and not be captivated by that slightly crooked nose, the firmly set mouth, and the eyes as grey as swirling storm clouds. The girl was lithely built, with long, beautifully moulded legs, delicate fingers, and sleek black hair always tied up in a high ponytail which fell down her spine and swung like a horse’s tail. Sometimes she had it braided. A red dot was often painted on her brow, between her eyebrows.
   She was the only girl at school with gold coins in her moneybag instead of bronze pieces. Her status wasn’t terribly high on the social scale but as her father was Governor of Bless’d Bay, she was still entitled to be privately tutored by a Prophyte. Regardless, she turned up at school every day wearing her most simple dresses, though by the standard of the other children they were still superior to the finest clothes a seamstress could offer the lowborn. Most of the children wore brown or green shapeless tunics, Karalan included.
   Milete was ruthless in more than one aspect. Her words with direct and pointed, her determination unwavering – even her fierce beauty was like a spear, piercing holes in every heart. Her disregard of the expectations of others was so much like Karalan, that it was generally accepted they would become friends. Naturally, they disregarded that too and respectfully ignored each other in classes and elsewhere, never even giving the other a glance. Karalan had once hated Milete Beyene for being born the way that everybody else strived to be their whole life. As she grew older, she realised that such hate and jealousy wasn’t worth her energy.
   “I hope you haven’t made a mistake choosing me over her.” Jory would joke as they lay on the grass outside the school. Karalan's reply was blunt and simple.
   “I'm suspicious of anything that wears a dress.”
   The grin that Jory would give her was worth ten times more than Milete Beyene’s approval.
   But still, Karalan curiously took note of how indifferent the girl was to being popular. The younger children treated Milete with more courtesy than their teachers, and the Prophyte teachers of the school treated her like a princess, clearly hoping that praise would reach her father’s ears and perhaps even Nuor Priests. But Milete’s equal treatment of everybody made the Prophytes think her insolent and the poor children feel like royalty. When studying, she ignored all distractions and quietly focused on the task at hand. When class was over, she could always be found sitting silently on the edge of the school fountain with a pack of girls at her feet like dogs – the Flower Girls, they were called, because their brains flew away like petals and kept their heads in the clouds, dreaming, and ultimately stupid.
   “Let us review the five classes of living beings on earth.” the Prophyte Mistress told a room of eleven adolescent pupils, and Karalan sat up straight. There was nothing she loved more than learning about the Seven Empires. History, in whatever form, always tied back to Aura and sentinels somehow.
   Next to her, Jory lay on his stomach and his eyes fluttered open and shut, barely catching on. When they exchanged looks, his bored face said, ‘Why is she the only teacher who talks without pause for hours?’
   “At the bottom, plant life. Above them, animals. Naturally, above them, sentinels – though it is very much debated whether they should be above humans. Next is, of course, humans. And above us, obviously, Auran races.”
   “Like Fairis!” sang a Flower Girl with a tiny nose and an idiotic smile.
   “Like vampires.” Kyaraus said with a confident smirk.
   When Milete turned her lifeless eyes on him, he unravelled slightly. “There are no vampires.”
   “Yeah, well, you’ve never been to Nocsaare, have you?” Kyaraus shot back, torn between a voice that was defensive and flirtatious. He looked all of the girls in the eye, “Got all sorts over there. Banshees, Shells, Golems -”
   The Prophyte Mistress pursed her lips. “Thank you, Kyaraus. That is enough.”
   “Shut up, Kyaraus.” Karalan murmured calmly to her brother.
   “- and then you got your Reapers and Demon Lords... yeah, I'm sure some bloodsuckers are hiding in that giant graveyard.”
   Kyaraus tapped his fingers on the floor as the Flower Girls cried their chorus of ‘ew!’ and broke into mindless chatter. Karalan tutted and fiddled with the straw that unravelled from her sandals. These girls always told Kyaraus how disgusting he was, but lavished their affections on him all the same, and he would always play. He was a fool, and they were the most dense and brainless girls in Seven Empires.
   The Prophyte Mistress exhaled hard, her eyes briefly meeting Karalan’s and, for once, they silently acknowledged each other’s intolerance to this pathetic adolescent behaviour. “It is obvious you are no longer mine for the moment. Very well, you may leave for your midday meal. When you return, we will have another reflection session to determine what your future trade will be. I hope you have all been thinking hard since our last session.”
   Tired groans closed her sentence. Karalan got up, gave the Prophyte Mistress a last, assessing glance. She’d always hated Prophytes for being too close to Nuor Priests – but they had been abducted as children just like her mother. It could be her mother standing there, teaching the class. ‘But they’ll never permit your mother to leave.’ Father-Han said simply. ‘Can you believe that, Fairi Princess? As if we’d find each other again and hatch a master plan to destroy the Nuor Preists.’ He spoke of treason so calmly that it made Karalan grin. Suddenly, her father looked very cunning as he chuckled, ‘Oh, oops!’
   “Thanks, bitch-puppy.” Jory cuffed the back of Kyaraus’s head, although he was grinning.
   “Yeah, thanks, you fool.” Karalan scowled. “I wish you were still young enough to be in Class Two, away from me.”
   “What? I didn’t do that.” Kyaraus insisted. “What I did do what get us all a lunch break. You should be thanking me, Kar.”

Ashana Lian,
6 June 2013.

If posted, Author's Notes will be HERE.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Marvel Magazines And Graphic Novels

I admit, I am getting off track.

I've had a ball going on about Justice League, it was fun, but the time has come for it to end. I'm going to collect as much scribblings as possible about Supe'd Up and then put the project away to focus on what really matters - Seven Empires Fall. Or whatever it ends up being called.


Before I close this chapter, ONE LAST ROUND! =D

Naturally I had to make this a Marvel post, if this series of posts is going to go out with a bang.

Marvel Fact Files (Partworks Magazine)

I bought this quite some time ago and I was in the mood to bring it down off the shelf today. As I've always been a Marvel Fan, when I saw them selling the first issue for like a pound where I work, I thought Why Not? Well... actually, I thought, I Must - !!!

I can't remember what you get with the first issue - I remember Spiderman was on the front though, and as he's one of the Marvel male heroes I actually like, fine. But with issue 2, you get this awesome binder, an if it doesn't enlarge when you click it, I'll tell you - on the front it has a WEALTH of Marvel favourites; right in the front is The Hulk, Thor, Wolverine, Captain America, Magneto - then you got Spiderman, Spiderwoman (or girl, I ain't gonna lie, I can never remember... I think her name is Jessica though =D ), Who I THINK is Black Widow, and then one who kinda looks like Jean Grey... and then in all honesty I have NO IDEA who the rest of them are.

Is that any better?

After having a read through it, I decided not to continue buying the series after Issue 2 (Even though Issue 3 comes with dividers for the binder =D). The reason is because, even though I'm not a HARDCORE fan, I'm also not a newbie and I would say that generally speaking, I know my stuff. As long as you don't ask me about Bolivar Trask or something weird. Much of the issue goes over content I discovered when I was 10. Wikipedia was my friend then, still is now.

But, I know that eventually the series would cover the less popular heroes - maybe they put well known ones in the first few issues to draw people in. But I don't think I wanted to spend much more money on things I kinda already knew, or else characters I didn't much care about. So I have this sweeeet binder and 2 issue, and that's pretty much it! Hehe, okay now let's do a tour of the magazine.

When you open the binder, there's a list of logos inside the cover which I think is really awesome. Though I was irked that Avengers came before X-Men (e_e), then we got the Fantastic 4, and the other three symbols are for Marvel Knights, Cosmic, and Real Marvel *shrug*, which is how the magazine is divided.

Did I mention Wolverine is my favourite Marvel male? Yes? Well you remembered wrong, because I'm QUITE sure (teehee XD trick question) that I would have also mention how I put him on the same level as Cable. I love Cable, even though he underrated. Or maybe, he's one of my faves BECAUSE he's underrated. Knowing Marvel, he'd lose his novelty the moment they put him in the spotlight. (Sorry Marvel. Sad but true.)

... why did I even out this picture in? Got nothin' to say.

I can't remember how close this magazine was released to The Amazing Spiderman movie, but it was nice to get some background info on Gwen Stacy because I knew next to nothing about her. I didn't even know she existed until maybe some time before that movie came out - for most of my childhood I'd always thought there was only Mary Jane. This sounds bad, but it kind of gets annoying these characters cropping up (though I only have my ignorance to blame, lol) like Clark Kent's Lana Lang. When I first watched Smallville I was like, 'Who the heck is Lana Lang??! Where's Lois?!'

And another thing. Mary-Jane. Gwen Stacy. Lana Lang. Lois Lane. Are you hearing the repetition? Two syllables and One, or vice versa. No 'Angelica's or nothing. Can't they create some diversity with the names? I know they were all created in the same period of time, but damn... throw in a Jessica or somethin, man...

I. LOVED this spread. It was like the old cartoon I used to watch coming back and punching me in the face with love, that's what it felt like when I turned to it. I was happy to recognise every character on this page, even Sunfire - oh, except the curious-looking dude with the red and blue, far right. Never heard of him before ._.

I sometimes forget that this well-known team weren't actually the original X-Men, but actually formed to save the First Class.

Someone remind me how Jean Grey ended up dropping 'Marvel Girl' again?

Okay, I love the New X-Men. I read a comic about them ages ago when I was at secondary school that had X-23 in it, and it was a great read. Illyana is one of my personal favourite, a well as X-23, though I get frustrated with Magma quite a bit sometimes just for being like a female Pyro. Oh well.

Rogue, one of the old favourite, again. I remember Grace Randolph saying in a video about how it's great she's gets really innovative storylines as her powers stop her from getting into a relationship. That's pretty cool - sometimes I'm tired reading about what issue Cyclops and Jean grey got into THIS time. Think I'll go pick up a Rogue comic.

Marvel's Mightiest Heroes! (Graphic Novel Collection)

Again, it was £1.99 and I couldn't resist. DESPITE that I sortakindamaybe dislike the Avengers. In the first picture, on the left is a poster, on the right is a collectors edition graphic novel, and the next two image show what original comics they were taken from.

As it was only £1.99, I was like meh, it's would be great to have a Marvel comic on my shelf for the price of a KFC snack box. But the NEXT issue was £7, so.... well, I don't really need to spell it out, do I....

LOL, and I call myself a FAN??!

I will further explain the reason why I'm not collecting the series, again. Most of the characters are boring to me. On the back of the cardboard is a list of heroes that each comic will be focussed on, I'll type it up here:

Iron Man
Captain America
X Men
Black Panther
Captain Britain (psh, please.)
Ghost Rider
Iron Fist, and
Doctor Strange.

Okay - even if we take out the ones I don't know, that doesn't change that only a few of them I actually LIKE. As I said before, X Men is my main reason for supporting Marvel, even well known X Men still intrigue me, like Storm. After that, I like Spiderman, and I used to think Thor was boring but I felt the movie brought life back into the character. I didn't go to see the movies for the Hulk, Iron Man, or Captain America, because they bore me. Sorry man, no offence meant.

I love when book spines do that. c:

Who are these peepol ?!

- sigh -

I'm surprised I actually managed to do this post before ten o'clock this evening. (e_e) ) Tomorrow is the day for this blog's feature which I made up like three weeks ago - Fiction Friday. As it's one of the alternate Fridays, I either post Seven Empires Fall expreact or nothing. Er, I do intend to post Seven Empires tomorrow, (which would be a bit exciting as I've gotta show where seven months of my left went) but that's provided it doesn't turn out to be an awful day like today. Today was the worst day this week, I must admit. And if I must pin the blame on something, then I point fingers at myself, and this blog.

Ashana Lian .

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Wise Words from Big Bro

Justice League WAR Verdict From Big Brother, capitalisation necessary. c:

The origin comics that Justice League 'War' movie was based on.

My oldest brother got round to watching it. War, I mean. He watched it literally the same day I told him, which is ironic because he procrastinates about everything else. Sorry. Harsh but true.

So I rushed up to him, all eager-like, and asked him what he thought. He goes to me, "*sigh*, You know, they always find a way to disappoint me."

And I said "WHHHAT?! Really?"

"Superman isn't like that. He's - he's just not like that, I didn't like him at all, but I appreciated that they didn't make him huge and the women tiny." He went on to explain about something else he watched where that was the case, and he said that Wonder Woman and Lois Lane were tiny, they looked about 4 foot where Superman was like 8 foot, which was really creepy because it looked like some huge man dating a little girl. I was like 'Well that's disturbing...' Can't remember what it was called but I'll find out.

"And Batman? He was my favourite."

My brother does that funny little smile-grimace and goes "Yeeeah... see again, they didn't make him tactical enough like Under The Red Hood - you seen under the red hood?"


His eyes, honest to God, went so wide. He dropped his voice and said, astonished, "Are you fucking kidding me?" I had to laugh because my brother doesn't really swear, for anything. I thought 'Now he's getting emotional. This must be good.' He said Under The Red Hood was the best Batman film he'd ever seen. He said it was clever, tactical, and logical (words of this nature c: ) so I made a note straight away to watch it (*snort* Yeah, I'll get round to that when this semester at university finishes, probably).

So then I talked about my burning hate, Green Lantern. "What did you think of him?"

"Oh, he was alright."

"I couldn't stand him. And I'm not with the whole Ring That Can Do Anything thing."

"It can't do anything." he said simply, "It can only make physical constructs."

And as that's something I've been wondering about for a long time, I thought, "Riiiiiight. Well, okay then. There could very well be things I don't know about the ring. But still - " and I explained about the attack methods with Green Lantern, how I found the choices-nonrealistic.

We talked about Cyborg - "Cyborg was good." my brother agreed. By this point I was surprised he didn't have any qualms with this character as well. But then he said, "But Flash, see, Flash wasn't as funny as I expected him to be. I know there's one Flash who's funnier than the other - I think Barry Allen is the less funny one, and then you have... W - um... West, West, something-West..."

"Wally West."

"Wally West! Yeah, he's the one that's not so funny, and he's the one that was in this movie."

All versions of The Flash!!

"Well that would make sense, because I generally found Green Lantern to be funnier than the Flash, which I wasn't expecting. It's like they swapped places! I also thought Shazam was quite funny - OH, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF SHAZAM?! He was my favourite, I loved him!"

"Oh no, no-no. I hated him."

I was. Appalled.

My brother continued, "The reason why Billy was chosen to have the powers of Shazam is because he's pure of heart, he's supposed to be pure of heart. If you look at the kid in the movie - he sneaks past the guards, he's surly, he stole that guy's shirt - a kid like that wouldn't be chosen to be the defender of the universe, he just wouldn't be given those responsibilities. I was disappointed with his character."

I was like ._. "Oh."

Billy Batson in other animations.

Then I thought =D "Hm!"

"Why don't you make a blog or vlog about it? I know they're be people who'd be interested in your opinion. Because you're more into comics than me, you're really good at criticising this sort of stuff!"

He goes, "I... don't really write."
Meaning he doesn't like writing like I do.

"What about a vlog?"

"I don't know what that is."

"Video blog. Or should I say - Video Web Log. Talk to a camera."

"! don't feel comfortable doing that."

*shrug* Well. Nobody can say I didn't try. It really is a shame because he talks a lot about how producers and animators aren't giving the fans what they want, he says he can never find a cartoon that does the characters justice, he talks about how great Teen Titans was and how frustrating it is that it was cancelled. But then he doesn't actually make his voice heard through any sort of medium. It's like customers at work who'll talk about how bad the service is with our store, but they won't actually complain to Head Office so that the customer's view can be heard and something can be changed. Sometimes I ignore it, sometimes it annoys me. If you won't do anything, don't say anything. They complain, and then they do nothing. What can you do?

Ashana Lian .

A.S. My thoughts on Justice League: WarJustice League - WAR! (2014 Animated Movie Review Thingy. Yeah.)

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