Tag Archive: a


A – Anime

AAnd here we are kicking off this years A to Z challenge! My 2016 is Pokemon, due to a high level of current nostalgia and looking forward to the new games coming out later this year (Sun/Moon & Go!)

A is for anime. For those that don’t know, anime is a Japanese style of animation, which is where Pokemon originated from, as do many other great things.

The anime follows Ash, the main character, as he travels around the regions of the Pokemon world, encounters new people, catches and builds relationships with all his Pokemon, earns gym badges and competes in challenges and leagues.

pokemon_animeIt’s been going on since 1998 in the English language, so yes I do remember waking up early Saturday morning, running downstairs, and switching on the TV for Saturday morning kid’s breakfast and tuning in for that week’s episode, as they are currently running over 919 episodes, with several seasons passing through the different generations. No I am not up to date with the anime, but given how nostalgic I’m feeling, it’s something I might go and re-watch.

Although the games are said to be the main part of the Pokemon universe, the anime is way to introduce the Pokemon and world in a more specialised fashion, and each episode will typically involve a new Pokemon. There was even a feature (which may or may not still happen) over the break where they would show the silhouette of a Pokemon and make you guess it – “Who’s that Pokemon?”.

Yes, this is technically a kids cartoon show, but as I keep saying, nostalgia can play a big part, and because it is aimed at kids, you not only have the people who grew up with Pokemon, you attract the young generations in as well, and thus the Pokemon continues to be exceedingly popular.

And, of course, with any TV cartoon or anime, you have the theme song. It’s changed over the seasons, but the original one still has a special place in my heart.

 

Pokemon of the DayArcanine

A is for Arcanine.

Fire type, canine like Pokemon with orange/cream fur and black stripes a bit like a tiger, it evolves from Growlithe (with the aid of a fire stone).

Arcanine is one of my all time favourite Pokemon, mainly because I think he’s a bit like a tiger, would be super fluffy, and you could totally climb on his back and ride him, and when he is rumoured to reach top speeds of over 200mph that would be awesome. They are also super loyal, as long as you are loyal to them, so they make great partners. That, and their natural habitats are often volcanoes, and I do love me a volcano.

 

Arcanine2

 

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A – Authors

Toothless Letter AWould we have book without authors? Of course not, someone has to write the novel, and those someone’s are the authors.

I’ve written some things, and that makes me an author. Whilst I might not be published, or well known, or even that known at all, I have put pen to paper and written things down, and thus I can proudly say that I am an author.

Of course, this can apply to more than just fiction. Non-fiction books, journalists, bloggers, there are all kind of different authors out there. If you are reading this post now, then I’m going to assume (and be right about 80% of the time) that you are an author yourself. Probably because you’re over here from the A to Z challenge, and you have a website on which you blog, making you the author of your own blog.

So what I have authored? Well, I’m a fantasy writer primarily, so on my hard drive you find quite a lot of fantasy novels. Also some shorts, and loads of notes about things which I will write. I also do the 101 theme challenge, and have a few shorts lying here and there, mainly written for competitions. But, I also have folders of university work, essays I wrote about volcanoes, geology, astronomy and computing (my degree was the awesome choose your own variety, hence the weird mix of subjects). Anything that I write has me as the author.

FUN FACT: At my workplace we can input custom titles into the system. Guess what I put mine as ages back?

Author

Because why on earth wouldn’t I? It’s what I am and what I want to be.

Of course the goal is to be a published author one day, so let’s look at some fantasy authors who are famous, and published.

pratchettTerry Prachet

The late and great Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld novels, is one of the (if not the) greatest examples of a fantasy author that I can think of.

I love the discworld series, and it was probably one of my starting inspirations for fantasy. I really loved the idea that this man had created this entire world, and then spent the entire series playing around without. And the great thing was that there was no natural end point. The plot was never going to just stop, because there was a whole world full of great characters and oddities to play around in. And I loved that. Still do.

After starting off (and occasionally returning to, see his work with Neil Gaiman) with Science Fiction he changed his focus to fantasy, saying “It is easier to bend the universe around the story.”

 J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter has world wide fame, and everyone is at least partially familiar with the story of how the series starting: on a delayed train from Manchester to King’s Cross.

She’s got a wonderful website, with some FAQs on it, one of which asks her “When did you first want to be a writer” and her response: “Always… as soon as I knew what writers were, I wanted to be one. I’ve got the perfect temperament for a writer; perfectly happy alone in a room, making things up.”

George R R Martin

You can’t escape it in bookshops or on the TV, Games of Thrones is big (technically the series is call a song of fire and ice, it’s the first book that’s called game of thrones). Although it did take quite a while to get that way. First published in 1997, (and now on book 5:2 of 7), the TV show hit in 2011 and since then it’s been a massive work of fiction and drama.

the-ice-dragon-3-largeThe difference between Martin and most other fantasy writers seems to be the way he emphasises realism and plausible social dynamics above over-reliance on magic and the simplistic good v evil division. It’s really not the whole heroics knights and deeds that you might expect from more mainstream works, with in depth and morally ambiguous characters. It might be one of the reasons it’s so popular, but it’s hard to say. Me? I love Daenerys and her dragons (he’s also written a short story called The Ice Dragon, set in Westeros, which is rather amazing and should be read).

Tolkien

And of course, talking of fantasy authors we do have to give a mention to J.R.R.Tolkien. Although I have to say, Tolkien is very much a English Language professor, and it does show in his books. He created a number of languages, and the wrote a book about the races that might use such languages. Which is awesome in it’s own way, but as an english professor writing fiction was not his strongest skill. The lord of the rings is one of the few books/trilogies I actually prefer the film over the book, but the hobbit was an excellent book (and hardly a bad film triology) and I admire what he created, even if it is hard to read.

Is this an exhaustive list? Heck no. Fantasy is a huge genre, and there are many, many thousands authors out there, and even more who are not published and run little blog websites, like this one here. So go and explore, even if you have already there are always more out there.

And that’s A! Now, off to visit other people and see how they started their challenges. Hope you enjoy this post!

A – Anne McCaffrey

As you may or may not know, Anne McCaffrey is a writer, specifically she is famous for the Dragonriders of Pern series. And I have to say, they are fantastic books and some of my favourites, half of a shelf is taken up by her books on my bookshelf and I don’t even have all of them yet.

The dragons are what I am going to focus on, since that is my theme for this month, but the books are highly enjoyable and well worth the read.

Dragons are large beasts which bond to a human upon birth, a process called impression, and after that the two are linked together for the rest of their lives. A dragon can talk to his rider telepathically, can fly once h reaches a certain growth, can breathe fire by chewing on Firestone to create the breath, and they have a curious ability to teleport, called ‘going between’ which allows the dragonriders to get from one place to another in three heartbeats.

There are five types of dragon, divided up by colour: Greens, Blues, Browns, Bronzes and Golds. Gold and green dragons are female, whereas Blue, Brown and Bronze are male, and Golds are the queens of the dragon, the one who mate with bronzes to produce more dragon eggs. Green can mate, but never produce eggs.

There are also tiny version of dragons which are important in the series, called fire lizards. the emulate the dragons in colour and abilities, but are the length of a forearm instead of the massive size which the rider’s dragon are.

I could say other things about the dragons, but I don’t want to spoil anything if you decide to read them. But the setting is one of the most well done that I have ever come across, and I love the world of Pern so much. I think I might have to go and read it again now.

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