Here I post about all things fantasy and give tips on writing a book based on my experience. My three main books form a trilogy called the Prophecy of the Kings, a Gold Award Winning book, and I've also written Drachar's Demons. Happy to chat so please feel free to comment on any of my blogs. Good reading - David
"What it had is one heck of a good story. What it had was demons and dragons, sword and sorcery, danger and strife. What it gave me was the type of story I did not want to put down and when I did, I looked forward to returning because I wanted to know what could possibly happen next."
This is a list of my favourite fantasy authors and characters. I would have liked to have hit 20 at least, to be a nice round number. Sadly, I failed. If you can help me out - let me know who I have missed. Anyway - here goes and let me know what you think;
1. J R R Tolkien. I especially liked the Silmarillion and the tale of Turin Turambar. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings stand head and shoulders above all other fantasy. I loved the world and the background history he created in such magnificent detail. The films are outstanding and do Tolkien's work such credit. I would love to see the Silmarillion on the big screen.
2.Ian Irvine- Nish, a cracking character who first appears in The Geomancer, The Well of Echoes Novels. Ian creates several really good characters. A master of creation! Quite strange tales and very strange opposition. A little Science Fiction like rather than truly fantasy, but well worth a read. Very easy reading and highly skilled descriptions and characterisation.
3. George Martin's Games of Thrones. Brilliant series but where is it going and who will be left in it? Lots of good characters and Tyrion Lanister is definitely a favourite. What a great character, so cool and flippant under pressure. The TV series (i'm up to the second series) is excellent, but already taking short cuts!
4. Brent Weeks - Beyond the Shadows, my favourite character has to be Kylar. Very long books. Really good characterisation. Lightbringer is also an excellent series, although I've only read books 1 and 2 so far. Not as good as the first series in my opinion. Longer books again and lots of description. Very readable though and once again brilliant characterisation.
5. Terry Goodkind. The Sword of Truth series are cracking reads. No one character leaps out though. I liked the first few books but struggled with Soul of the Fire. It's worth reading up to that point and/or omitting that book.
6. Weiss and Hickmann - Raistlin is my favourite character and the Twins novels my favourite series. Very entertaining books and well worth a read. That characters are excellent.
7. J K Rowling - Harry Potter books. Many really good characters! Luna Lovegrove has to be high on the list! Great stories and very good films. I do think the books are better than the films though.
8. Edgar Rice Burroughs - Mars series. Nostalgic value for me as this was my first read. I loved the tales of John Carter searching for Dejah Thoris, but he lost her far too often! Was he just careless. Tarzan was his other offerings and if you haven't read them then I recommend them. Really good reads.
9. David Gemmell - Druss is my favourite character in the Legend of Druss. Well worth a read. Other books by this author are good but some less so. The Greek series, however, was poor.
10. Joe Abercrombe - The Blade Itself and in particular Glokta. One of the best characters for a while. Really evil character but surprisingly you feel sympathy for him. He was tortured and left crippled.
11. Michael Moorcock - He has written many good books, my favourite character were Elric, Hawkmoon and Corum. I really liked the eternal Champion concept, bring several heroes together for one epic battle. Jerry Cornelious series based at the end of time is a good read as well. Overall, excellent books.
12. Robin Hobband the Farseer and Tawny Man Trilogies were excellent. I found the Mad Ship series was very difficult to get into.
13. Stan Nicholls, Orcs. Quite a brutal tale.
14. Raymon Feist and Magician and Talon of the Silver Hawk. Magician was very good and deals with parallel worlds.
15. James Clemens - The Wit'ch Fire series. I need to re-read these as I can't remember much. They were quite brutal from memory.
16.Robert Jordan- Wheel of Time series. Book 9 was a stinker. Nothing really happened and it was so bad I gave up on the series. I have since read book 11, having been persuaded to continue and again found much of the story to be too slow. Book 12 (by another author) is starting to look promising. this was a cracking series to start with and books 1-3 were really good. such a shame.
17. Christopher Paolini, Eragon, but I didn't enjoy later books as much
Three short of 20 - so annoying!! What's your favourites?
1) Who is your favorite comedian or cartoon character and why?
Oddly – the question that leapt out at me most was this one. It has to be Bugs Bunny. I love cartoons and greatly admire the humour and characterization behind these. Bugs is so cool and his encounters with Daffy, Elmore J Fudd (what a tremendous name!!) and Yosemite Sam are brilliant. I love the way the latter mutters and curses as he falls down an impossible cliff and then there’s the thud and small cloud of dust upon landing. I think it’s the fact he keeps going back for more and there’s always an inventive downfall waiting for him.
Then there’s the Opera one with to Ride of the Valkyries with the immortal lines, Spear and Magic Helmet. Amazing stuff. Hunt the wabbit...
2) How would you describe your sense of humor?
Troublesome. I have been particularly mean to a work colleague who shares an office. Recently I spent a while labeling anything on his desk with labels stating “This is Mine” and “Mine.” I felt a little like the cat in Red Dwarf, if folk remember that episode. My colleague was finding labelled items weeks after I did this.
My humour is spontaneous and sometimes I need to keep quiet.
I do Saxon/Viking re-enactment and I am a Saxon. At one show we were asked to introduce ourselves to the Public and so I announced that I was “Baldric, the magnificent.” A friend shouted dung-shoveller, and so from that moment on I was christened Baldric the magnificent with a chorus of dung-shoveller each time I said this.
3) What did you want to be when you grew up?
I still haven’t decided. Ask me again next week. I have never really had any great ambitions to be anything in particular and to be honest I still feel that I am yet to find my niche. Hmmm. Not sure that I’ve got this exactly right, given my age? I enjoy my work and I enjoy having hobbies.
I have been an officer in the Territorial Army in Scotland, a re-enactor, a diver, mountaineer, ice-climber and a writer. I have lots of life’s experiences and my humour keeps me going.
One day, I’d like to take on politics perhaps, mainly because politicians are so damned useless and I couldn’t possibly do any worse! Prime Minister would be good, failing that – an astronaut, but only if the transport is something like the Tardis in Dr Who or a spaceship like the Enterprise from Star Trek. Only the best for me!
4) Which magical power would you like to have and why?
Being able to stop time would be so cool. You could get out of all sorts of scrapes and into some very interesting ones. Robbing banks would be dead easy as well, so there would be a financial incentive and a clear pension plan. I can’t think of anything wrong with that ability so that’s what I would want.
Good moments could last forever. I remember sitting in a cafe in California once, on a gorgeous day with blue skies and an absolutely perfect temperature.
It would also be funny for example changing things around in the street. Turning someone around for instance and watching their reaction could be quite humorous.
5) If aliens landed in your backyard, what is the first thing you would ask them?
I’d tell them to get off the lawn for one thing. We Brits are very proud gardeners and no damn alien is going to wreck my lawn.
I might also consider whether I could charge them for parking as I live in an area where parking is a nightmare. That may explain why they picked my backyard, of course.
On a more serious note, I’d want to know about their home world. That’s an absolute must. I would hope that it matched one of the worlds in novels that I have read, such as Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It would have to be a place of great adventure.
6) What would you do if you had a time machine?
That would be a great dream, and where to start? I’d go back in time and win the lottery to secure my future. I’d also tell my younger self to write earlier on. I would have to see dinosaurs, Rome in antiquity, the building of the Pyramids, Stonehenge, my ancestors in those periods, Moses at the crossing of the Red Sea... There’s far too much to contemplate.
I’d also go forward in time to see the technology of the future, steal it and bring back here to further amass my fortune. (I’m not shallow.) I’d probably live part time in the past and the future. Seeing the world unspoilt by man would also be amazing.
7) If you had a chance to spend some time with one mythical being, what would it be and why?
Meeting a fairy would be good. At least that would be small and inconspicuous. I think talking to a mythical being may get you arrested otherwise.
A genie would be high on the list. I’d ask for as many wishes as I wanted, although that might be a bit dangerous if I talked in my sleep.
Father Christmas would be jolly, but I may be on his naughty list, so again that may be disappointing. Back to the fairy, I think. Just so I could prove mythical creatures existed, even if it was just for my edification. I’d call her Tinkerbelle of course.
8) If you could be reincarnated as an animal, what would you be and why?
I considered being a dolphin as I like swimming, but I don’t like eating fish.
Being a bird and able to fly would be fantastic. Flying looks like so much fun.
I keep coming back to being a dolphin though as I also like swimming. A flying dolphin! It’s that or nothing!! It would also have to be somewhere warm, with clear blue seas. The fish would have to be cooked for me though. I think raw fish would be even worse than just fish. And no messy bones.
9.) What quirky habit do you have that often gets you teased by your peers or family?
I got teased a lot because of my re-enactment and often teased about wearing a dress. We don’t wear dresses of course, but a Saxon tunic could be mistaken for a dress. Don’t ever tell me that though, as I get very uppity!
I made matters worse once when I mentioned dyes were few and came from vegetables or tree barks and that I had a tunic that was a sort of shade of...pink. Well that went down a treat and wearing a pink dress at weekends was a real source of amusement.
I denied everything of course and insisted that the tunic was fuchsia. For some reason that didn’t get me off the hook, but every time someone mention a pink dress I would insist...fuchsia. At the time of the Saxons, pink was perfectly acceptable, as too was the man’s name Mildred!!
10.) My readers want to know what you had for breakfast. Not sure why exactly...
A strange request, but what the hell...it could be worse. Breakfast this morning was a pain au raisin with coffee - a bit of a weekend treat. I like it as it sounds pretentious – pain au raisin. On a workday it’s porridge. Far less pretentious.
11.) Why in the world did you consent to doing this wacky interview? I mean there is not one question here about your books, your writing or your future plans!
Hey, I did say I had a sense of humour and I love quirky questions. Being silly is a good way of passing the time. I have done strange things at times and sometimes it is humour that keeps you going.
I ice-climbed Ben Nevis, blinked at the wrong time and whilst hanging on with an ice axe with one hand, I found the lens frozen to the ice with small ice grains blowing past it. I managed to get the lens back in, much to a friend’s amusement.
The wacky and insane is part of life, I guess.
I recently noticed the moon was upside down. No - I am not intoxicated, nor am I suffering from madness (currently). Over the last three mornings I have definitely noticed something is not quite right with the moon. The usual face (the eyes being very large craters) is inverted.
I tried to take a photo but my camera on my phone was not up to the job and the resulting image was too small. Now, being a scientist, I deduced that the refraction of light at a low angle might invert the image. But, this would need a shallow angle and the moon on both occasions was about 30 degrees from the horizontal.
So, am I cracking up? Is the moon really upside down. I did a search on Google and was surprised by the amount of emails on the subject, much of it in 2012. So, have i been unobservant and the phenomena has been around for a while? unfortunately most the Google conversation didn't make much sense, so I am at a loss.
Anyone know the answer to this - and before confirming refraction, please have a look and confirm that the angle looks wrong.
Seeing the Hobbit today. Very excited. Anyone seen it yet? No spoilers!!
Saw it and it was absolutely brilliant. Amazing all round. The balance between serious film and humour was well done. OK - there were extra bits compared to the book but I enjoyed the lot. Jackson has produced a brilliant film.
My wife plays pranks on me and whilst in the pub one night, when I went to the "Wee Room" (Scottish phrase) - she phoned me. There I am, standing by the urinal with my phone ringing loudly in my pocket. Got strange looks from the chaps around me.
I found it difficult to understand why I liked this film, but for some reason I did. A super hero film with no super heroes. I'm not quite sure what appealed to me, but one thing was certain it was a very dark film. A child happily killing drug addicts in a crack house and comparing weapons with them as she did so. Very utterly bizarre, but very compelling. Her acrobatics were amazing and I was enthralled just watching that.
The story line was equally good. There were parallels to the Spider Man storyline at times, but it was always acknowledged and tongue in cheek. Nicholas Cage was brilliant in this film.
This is a strange review. It's quite critical but then states;
"Middle-earth's got its mojo back. A huge improvement on the previous instalment, this takes our adventurers into uncharted territory and delivers spectacle by the ton. And in case you were wondering, yes, someone manages to say the title as dialogue."
I suppose overall you can't fault the final statement and 5 stars!!
Clearly, that is a massive tribute, but I always take any comparison like that with a hefty pinch of pixie dust. Deep down though I am very (nervously) pleased. However, I can see such a comparison producing much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
One of the reasons I wrote my books was because, at the time, it was so very difficult to find anything even remotely similar in vein to Tolkien's fantastic books. Those works are truly amazing and have a grandeur that spans an eternity. I was especially enthralled by the Silmarillion. That is a massive novel and it amazes me that he created that world simply to make the Hobbit and lord of the Rings believable.
I was deeply upset when I typed Silmarillion and movie to find links to supposed movie pages, only to find it was a debate about whether Jackson would ever make this epic movie. Wow - what a challenge that would be. Bring it on, I say. To watch Beren hold out his arm and declare words to the effect, behold in my hand I hold a Silmaril - would have me reaching for a tissues. I also loved the tale of Turin Turinbar. That tale is so dark and sorrowful and yet at the same time moving. I would love to see the High Elves marching for the first time in Middle Earth as the sun rises for the first time, and flowers bloom beneath their marching feet. Then there's Glaurung, the first dragon, and Ungoliant, Shelob's distant relative.
I can but dream.
Anyway, have a look at the sample chapters on my website http://www.davidburrowsfantasyauthor.com and check out the reviews. Although there might be a loose similarity many readers say I have a distinctive style and my world is unique. I do hope that is the case and whilst I am flattered by the comparison I know it is an impossible height to strive for. Still, I hope that I can bring enjoyment to my readers.
Just seen Hunger Games, Catching Fire. One word - awesome. It's highly moving and entertaining.
I preferred the first film in the series, marginally. It's difficult to follow on with a better film when the premise is already set. Having said that - what a great film. Jennifer Lawrence is superb in it and certainly brings it alive. Well worth seeing and I must see the first film again.
This is a pivotal year in the BBC's history. 50 years of Dr Who and the longest running science fiction series. The BBC have produced some pretty good programmes over the years and I admit to finding Merlin quite quaint. However, what were they thinking with Atlantis? It purports to be a modern day chap (Jason) falling into the sea and awakening in the mythical city of Atlantis. OK - fantasy, so no problem there.
However, they could have spent some money on a script! The plots to date have been pretty dire. They pick a topic, OK this week they will fight in an arena, and that is it. They fight in an arena. That's the plot. It's hardly compelling stuff. Jason seems quite wooden and barely passes surprise when he is introduced to Medusa. Wow, isn't that the women with the snake hair? OK - I know that bit hasn't happened yet! This week's episode is Pandora's box so I can see some pretty neat links growing here. However, last week's plot on the Sirens was simply about gusts of wind for all I could see so I am not holding my breath over Pandora's box. (Don't open it chaps!)
I think this programme is a great shame when taken into account this is Dr Who's 50th anniversary. It epitomises the low standards to which the BBC has fallen. If only the CEO would give up his £600k salary (Did I say £600k? I'm sure I read that somewhere) then they could afford to pay a script writer, or three, or 20 even! Then there's the CEO's toadies, the managers, the senior managers and the managers sub-managers. Goodness, are we the tax payer footing all that? And then there's the repeats. Well how else do they pay for the CEO? BBC2 has about 90% repeats on a Saturday. That's jaw-dropping. So where does all the saved money go? Atlantis? have you seen the costumes and then there's the script. we seem to be back to the start.
Finally, Atlantis - prime time telly??! What! Surely it's a kids programme. No doubt the BBC will tell us that it's on late as most 10 year old like to watch it before snorting coke and going down a nightclub. Myself, I think I'll start reading.
For all my US friends and visitors: a Happy Thanks Giving to
you all. Please don’t forget the back taxes you owe the UK for the French Indian Wars. I’m
happy to collect on behalf of the UK government. Please give generously. J
Lee, who runs this site has spent a lot of time and effort putting this together. One hundred books is quite an achievement; to log each one, comment and then prioritise these. Hate it or love it - in terms of which is at 1 and which is at 100 it's a very useful list of some very entertaining books.
Anyone else know of any other top 100 sites worth visiting?
OK I admit that fantasy isn't the only genre I read. I also really enjoy historical fiction, which in a lot of novels bears a remarkable resemblance to fantasy. There's usually swords (unless it's later period history where it might even be guns!) and occasionally dragons - although that's usually reserved to superstition and fear (so no real dragons then...humph).
Reading historical fiction has given me a real love of history. I started off with Bernard Cornwell's books set in the Napoleonic period. These are fast paced books and a very lively plot. There's also some very neat twists as well. I nice feature is there's hundreds of his books (slight exaggeration!)
I love books about Rome and Romans. Simon Scarrow tells a lively tale (can you see a common theme?). Tales about Egypt are truly sword and sandal novels...so what's not to like. There's also gods to contend with, either real or imaginary.
Surprisingly I have started to gain interest in areas of history I never thought possible. That's certainly true of Napoleonic, but when you hear tales about outnumbered troops in desperate circumstances it can really make you blood boil. Good stuff.
OK I agreed to this, but it's a bit like wearing make-up and high heels and then walking down the high street (bear in mind I'm male!!)...all of a sudden I feel as though the world is looking at me - weirdly. My fault I suppose. Check out the reason for my embarrassment by clicking the link. Let me know what you think.
Excellent film and very entertaining and quite moving. Dr Who is getting quite complicated and given it's 50 year history it has lots of prior plots to call on.
However, what I didn't understand is an old Tom Baker appearing at the end. That makes no sense at all. Tom Baker's Dr morphed into the next doctor. Therefore he can't get old...can he?
Also, what was the reference to the 13th Doctor?
OK John Hurt is the 12th but who on earth is the 13th?? Clearly, lots to look forward to. Overall - brilliant stuff. I particularly liked the 3-D version where Matt Smith introduces it, by mistake, as the 100th anniversary and it being in 12-D. I can't wait for that!!
Series Breakdown. This is an action packed, fast paced tale that packed a whole lot of punch in just a few pages. Book one sets the scene, covers the worldbuilding and introduces most of the main characters. Book two increases the pace as it focuses almost totally on action and conflict. Book three continues the action, rushing towards a crescendo of an ending which evolved out of a series of twists I never saw coming. The ending itself was an equal mixture of happy and sad not to mention largely unexpected.
What I liked. Pretty much everything. I loved the premise of alternate realms. I loved the interplay of dragons, demons, dwarves, heroes and magic. I liked the fact that though there was a prophecy, it was not used as an excuse for everything that took place. Much the opposite. It hardly played a role at all except to explain why the main characters came together how and when they did. Beyond that, the outcome rested squarely in their hands. I never got the impression that some all powerful, all knowing prophecy dangled them along like puppets on a string. I also enjoyed the tension filled, edge of your seat, pace of the entire story.
I saw An Adventure in Space and Time yesterday. I really enjoyed it but I think it would only really appeal to people who saw the original first series. I was perhaps too young when it came out but would have been 7 when it ended, I have vague memories of the first doctor and certainly the programme seemed to stir those. It was very moving and poignant. Very sad towards the end if they portrayed it correctly. I can see that the role would have been very difficult to let go of.
The pace continues to be fast but steady for most of the story. There were a few twists I didn't see coming and one I expected but never saw. Ummm, how do I explain that without a spoiler. Well, lets just say that there was possibly an easier way out of the Demon problem only David Burrows did not take it. And I respect him all the more for that. All too often a writer introduced a "convenient" magical solution which solves everything and takes the believability of the tale and tosses it out the nearest window.
Not this time. Every time our heroes got a foot up, David Burrows knocked them back down, dusted them off and then shoved them under the closest bus. It was truly fun to watch and I enjoyed every tension filled minute of it.
Wow. This was a pleasant surprise. What a really nice review and so eloquently put. I especially liked the analogy about sitting around a camp fire telling a tale. I take part in Saxon/Viking re-enactment (http://regia.org/) so that particularly appealed to me. I felt this was a very honest review.
"What I liked. I struggled with this book/series a bit. Not because I did not like it, but because I did - alot. But why did I like it exactly? It had no deep lovably flawed characters like Robin Hobb's stories, nor did it give me the warm fuzzy feeling I'd get from reading Anne McCaffrey. It didn't even have witty repartee like a David Eddings novel. Then I realized it. It was so simple. What it had is one heck of a good story. What it had was demons and dragons, sword and sorcery, danger and strife. What it gave me was the type of story I did not want to put down and when I did, I looked forward to returning because I wanted to know what could possibly happen next.
And did I mention the dragon? Oh yes, I got my dragon. A glorious, powerful, magnificent beast it was too."
I have a growing list of excellent reviews and several of these are from reputable Fantasy blog reviewers. This review in particular meant a lot to me. Brilliant :)
Really, really annoying. Just discovered a mistake in the kindle edition of my book. I have a larger and obscure version of emdash that's crept in (that's a -- sign). It's ascii190 and Kindle interprets it as [?].
Of course Word won't let me search for it as it doesn't seem to find it so I have to find it by hand. And I have several versions to correct!! Very frustrating and advice welcome. I have Word '97.
What do these folk actually contribute to life? Just saw The Lone Ranger on the plane and I really enjoyed it.
The annoying thing is that I listened to the critics and so didn't see it at the cinema. What a bunch of bozos. I appreciate that tastes vary, but critics seem to take offence at some films just because they can. Were they playing politics here? Did the film company not pay them?
When you consider the effort that goes into making a film, the cost and the total hours spent - it seems wrong that someone can destroy it in a couple of minutes of garbled print.
Off to Australia for a week with work. Adelaide and then Brisbane. Never been to the latter. Hope all the venomous creatures are kind to me. Mind you, if they bite me they run the risk of me poisoning them!!
I leave today Friday but get there at lunchtime Sunday. Where on earth has Sunday gone?? Missing it already.
For all the money we pay and all the updates of Windows it is a dreadful operating system. My laptop has become slower and slower which always seems to have it. Whether it's spyware or too many processes running I don't know but you would have thought Microsoft would have fixed computers to operate at their full potential.
Microsoft - you are RUBBISH
Anyone got any simple fixes. I have searched for bad sectors, deleted temp files, defragged, used Adaware spyware removal, deleted old programmes ... but to no avail.
Win a copy of Legacy of the Eldric. Simply send me your email address to enter the prize draw. Feel free to message me. Check out my website for details and my contact details. http://www.davidburrowsfantasyauthor.com/
Legacy of the Eldric is pure escapism, a high fantasy novel that manages to entertain from beginning to end with an easy to read narrative, interesting characters and intelligent world building, I highly recommend this novel to any fan of fantasy fiction.
5 out of 5 stars http://sfbook.com/
OK - I understand it is emotional, but get a grip. X Factor seems to be as much a competition nowadays about crying as singing. I am getting fed up with the judges phrase, "And what would this mean to you?". Out rolls the, "It mean everything. I couldn't go back to my job like normal humdrum people. I want to live the life of a mega rock star and never have to work again."
Hey guys, we normal people also want these things. I too want to live in Antigua and spend all day on the beach.
But back to the crying. It seems that contestants cry before the event, during and after. It is a singing competition and not a crying competition. Perhaps it is both and I missed the plot? What is happening to the British stiff upper lip. Men crying as well as woman? OK men have to show their softer side, but after announcing it means everything to me, when they are finally kicked off most seem cheerful enough and often quote, I'm pleased to have gotten this far.
How annoying is the incessant pleading? If they put as much effort into singing as pleading they would all do very well. They also need to understand that there is only one winner and already there are clear signs of a top 2-3 potentially individual good vocalists. All this pleading to get to the next stage only means they have to plead the following week to get to the next episode and it really is becoming a pain to watch. Yes, there is an off button but the singing is entertaining, sort of.
OK there is some good talent, but they can't all be mega stars. Even past winners slip silently from the stage within a year or two and one of the most successful was probably Olly Murs and he didn't even win X Factor!
Please guys, show some decorum. Stop pleading, whining, crying and general hand wringing. It really is unnecessary.
Just seen Season 3, I think. I'll have to wait for Season 4 being in the UK but that wait is worth it. The Governor was brilliant and you could really get to hate him, eye patch and all. Michonne is a great addition to the series. I love the sword.