By Albert Blackwell (April 2020, age 13)
From Anna's Racing Rivals story posted December 18th.
A friend offered four possible ways of portraying foreign language in prose and asked fellow writers (myself among them) which is the preferable method:
1) Repetition in the dialogue using the main narrative language: The German tipped his hat to the Englishman. "Wie heissen sie? What is your name, sir?"My preference lies with #2 although I've also used #4 and tried to provide enough context that the reader will have an idea. I agree that one should be very judicious in the use of foreign languages and especially to make sure that what you've written is correct.
2) Explanation in the tag: "Wo yao yi ping lu de che," she said, ordering a cup of green tea.
3) Direct translation in italics: "Ite maledicte in ignum eternum!" Depart ye evil-doer into everlasting fire!
4) Don't offer any help; let the reader sort it out for himself.
By James Blackwell and Godfrey Blackwell
We're going with a CFL theme, recreating most of the league (fortunately there are fewer teams in the CFL than the NFL!). These Orcs represent the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
For something a little different, Godfrey did a video review. Click the embedded video below to view:
By Godfrey Blackwell
After nearly 15 years, I went back to my tabletop gaming roots and painted up one of the many Bretonnian models I've had sitting in a box in the basement for eons. Warhammer Fantasy Battles and Bretonnia were my introduction to tabletop gaming and it was great to return to this army. I hope that many more models will follow at a decent speed.
|An ordered desk forms an ordered mind|
All of us in the Blackwell family are busy between running a law practice, raising children, studying for school, the chores associated with a large household, etc. Finding time for painting toy soldiers and writing fiction is not always easy since duties must come before recreation. To find that time, we attempt to cultivate the virtue of the spirit of order. The Catholic Manual of Civility, explains:
The spirit of order is a most precious quality. It should be included as one of the most indispensable attributes of a man in his private as well as his social life, because it extends itself beneficially to our personal actions as well as our relations with our neighbour.
This most beautiful attribute exercises a decisive influence over a man's success in life. Order gives value to our talents and qualities, and makes them fecund, just as its absence renders our highest aspirations barren and our best gifts futile.
Order is economy of time and money. It allows us to give a better quality and greater quantity of results in both our material and intellectual labours because with it, we take full advantage of time, avoiding dawdling, delay, and doubt.
In practice, this means living a regulated life. Many writers, being creative spirits, might balk at this idea, but it has allowed us to get many things done, including writing although there is always room for improvement.
Regulating your life boils down to prioritization, scheduling and habit. Determine what you need to get done each day, and plan what you will do when. It doesn't need to be carved in stone, but we try to follow a very regular routine even though we have no written schedule. Dinner is at a certain time, the family rosary at another, and bedtime at yet another. An important key is to avoid opportunities for dissipation in this schedule.
Catholic Manual of Civility. Ed. Horvat, Marian T., Ph.D. Tradition in Action. Los Angeles: 2008. p. 19
Available for sale at http://www.traditioninaction.org/books.htm; 160 pp.; $16.
By Godfrey and James Blackwell
We were quite happy with how this conversion/customization went. Out of the box, the 1.4 FD cannon comes in an Empire Strikes Back/Hoth style. To get it to fit in with the rest of James' Rebel army, we replaced the gunner with a rebel trooper from the box set and painted the commander in a temperate colour palette matching the others.
Title: The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian
Author: Robert E. Howard
Publisher: Del Rey
Godfrey's Rating: 3 stars
Summary in a Sentence: A compilation of all the Robert E. Howard Conan stories, this collection is a classic that not just defined but created the "swords and sorcery" genre; Howard's bold style and somewhat purple prose make for good clean fun well-worth the modern reader's attention.
I picked-up the Kindle version of this book a few months back after Sophia's Favourite mentioned on his blog that he considered the Conan stories "good clean fun". On the whole, I agree with the assessment and considered this collection a good read. Being an older work, you can get it for a fairly decent price as well, although unfortunately the version I got (which was only $0.99) is no longer available on Amazon.
When I say "good clean fun", there's quite a bit of violence with descriptions of brains splattering in the tradition of the Roman classics and Medieval chansons de geste, and while there are a fair number of scantily-clad ladies Conan is rather gentlemanly in his conduct with them, at least "on-screen". The stories are uncomplicated, pure action/adventure, so you should take them for what they are. These are to be read for fun and relaxation. One complaint I had, and which brings the collection down to a 3 where it might have been higher, is that the stories get a little repetitive after a while. There's definitely a formula to them, and while Howard does a pretty good job of mixing this up, there's only so much variety available. I found the same with Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars books.
But these stories are certainly better than most of what passes for fantasy fiction today. Aside from creating the "swords and sorcery" subgenre, this collection also features one of the seminal "anti-heroes". Conan is not just a barbarian, but a mercenary, brigand, and thief. He lives for the thrill of battle, the taste of wine and good meat, and the embrace of a woman. For all that, he does have a certain honour and decency which especially comes out when he is placed in positions of authority or when a vulnerable young woman is in his power. So he's certainly a palatable "anti-hero" although he seemed to have a bit of the "noble savage" about him which is a trope I've never been a fan of.
On the whole, the collection deserves a solid 3 stars and I recommend that any fan of fantasy in general and swords and sorcery in particular, read it.
Just a few weeks after I shared a teaser trailer for the new Dune film and shared some thoughts on David Lynch's 1984 version, it was announced that Dune's release is being delayed almost a year to October 2021. In the wake of this, Regal and Cineworld are closing all of their cinemas in the UK and US. One wonders how long other chain can hold out.
This leaves me wondering whether cinemas will even exist come the fall of 2021. As a science fiction/fantasy fan, this makes me sad as these films are at their best with the big screen and big sound. Although we have not had many opportunities to attend the cinema, it has provided great memories such as watching Interstellar with Albert on IMAX, and even though it was not the best movie, watching The Force Awakens with Albert and Anna will always be with us.
Although we have a projector, it's still not quite the same as going out to see a film, getting some bad way overpriced popcorn, etc.
On the other hand, I'm not too sad to see fewer films being released with liberal, feminist, or pornographic elements which all to many films have. Part of the reason we've attended the cinema so infrequently is because so many films are not something we'd want to watch.
How do our readers feel about this news?
By Godfrey Blackwell
Here is a comic I drew back in 2012, envisioning what might have happened to me if young Albert had been in government school at the time drawing the sorts of stuff he likes to draw, after reading about this travesty: https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/kitchener-dad-receives-apology-after-arrest-and-strip-search-1.834997(Yes, a man really was arrested because his daughter drew a picture of her dad "shooting monsters" at school)
By Barbara Blackwell (September 2020, age 10)
The children were playing around with dragon names, and based off an internet meme took whatever they last ate plus what was to their left as the things that the dragon is a hoarder of. They enjoyed it so much the made pictures!
By Godfrey Blackwell