The other day, I was Googling stuff about fantasy novels that have prominent espionage threads in them. (There really aren’t very many when compared to other genre mashups.) Anyway, I came upon this article entitled “An Uncoiled Spring: The Absence of Real-world Tensions,” which examines how some science fiction and fantasy stories go about incorporating “the devices and techniques of espionage fiction,” as put by author Chris Gerwel.
I got the idea a couple of weeks ago while sitting in my living room, a copy of S. A. Chakraborty’s debut fantasy novel The City of Brass sitting next to me. It’s been sitting there for some time now. Like weeks.
Why? Because the cover and interior book designs are just so freakin’ gorgeous.
You can’t tell in the digital photo, but all the brass color parts have a metallic sheen to them, and the title is also embossed. It’s just a really well-done design. (The only issue I have is the interior font itself; I find it too distracting and wouldn’t be able to read the whole novel with it. Luckily, I’ve already read the e-book version instead.)
So why create a mood board? Well, some of you may know that my background is in interior design. I used to work with clients and would create mood boards to give them an idea of what updating their homes could look like. I used a different kind of layout and format in that case, but the board I made for The City of Brass is a similar idea only less literal—this goes here and that goes there—and more conceptual. Also, this one is less a historically or culturally accurate interpretation and based more on a mood or feeling, hence the term “mood board.”
Anyway, I thought this would be a fun little exercise. It’s been a while since I made one of these. 🙂 I started with the rug (it’s one I actually have in my home now; highly recommended!) and branched off from there. You can check out the Pinterest board I started with, as well, if you’d like to see more furniture and home decor that’s in a similar vein to what’s on the board.
What are some of your favorite book cover designs?
Do you have books that you keep around just because they’re pretty? Also, would you like to see more of these kinds of boards? Let me know in the comments!
So I was Googling stuff about the difference between epic and high fantasy earlier when I somehow came across this blog post by a black writer named Derek Tyce who asks a poignant question: “Black authors writing fantasy… Where are they?” Naturally, being both black and interested in fantasy, I was intrigued, so I decided to read on to see what he had to say.
…And it got me thinking.
First of all, I must note that Derek, of course, does mention a few black writers like N. K. Jemisin and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms series, among others (which I read the first book of though wasn’t terribly crazy about it myself; still, I found certain things to admire and appreciate). There are others, which fans have pointed out, but Derek’s point still stands: why aren’t there more black writers tackling epic fantasy? He also points out a lack of diversity among the characters displayed in epic fantasy stories. Granted, his post was written back in 2013 and a lot of new stuff has come out since then, but these are all still relevant topics to consider.
Not long ago, I decided to sit down and finally watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I was ambivalent about watching it because (1) I was never really a hardcore Harry Poter fan (mainly because I just didn’t catch the wave of Potter Pandemonium when it first rippled through America), (2) the previews didn’t get me very excited and, (3) call me a Debbie Downer, but I thought the premise was a bit silly. I mean a foreign wizard irresponsibly loses his magical beasts, adding trouble to an already magically-troubled America? (Great! Let’s give that man a visa!)
Despite these things, I understand that Rowling is a very clever writer, which I both appreciate and admire. That being said, I had to give it a try. So today, I’m sharing some of my thoughts about Fantastic Beasts, though I don’t intend this to be a full-blown review or summarize the plot in any way.
(Want a video version of this post? Check this out!)