A Game of Tropes: Roles and Reality in George RR Martin’s Epic Fantasy by Tim Bayley

Anyone who’s taken more than a passing interest in Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire will be aware that George RR Martin bases much of his fantasy on elements of history. It’s rather the approach I’ve taken in a certain project of my own, but it struck me that there’s also something more particular that Mr Martin is doing in his epic series.

*
What I’m referring to is that George is not just basing fantasy on history and the harsher reality thereof. Because it seems to me that he’s also, in his characteristic uncompromising style, expressing how treasured unrealistic fantasy tropes might actually be realised in a historical setting. I’m particularly talking Tolkien-derivative characters, and tropes common to lower grade fiction and role-playing games which – whether we love them still or just remember them fondly – George RR Martin is subjecting to what Alan Moore might call an ‘affectionate character assassination’. Read the rest of this entry »

September 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends

*

Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for September.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

Read the rest of this entry »

August 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends
 

*

Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for August.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

Read the rest of this entry »

YA & Children’s Book Recommends Jan-Jun 2017 – for Independents

Car YA & Childrens with text As we all know, anyone who thinks they’re too old for Children’s Books has a lot of growing up to do. So for those of us who know better, here are our picks of the vibrant and fantastical Middle Grade and Young Adult (YA) titles publishing January to June 2017!
(NB. Our Jul-Dec 2016 Children’s / YA Round-up can be found here…)

Read the rest of this entry »

Progressive and Socially-Minded Books publishing Jan-Jun 2017!

So Carabas is here to champion ‘all the good stuff’: imaginative, fantastical and cult fiction and film, alternative music, comics and graphic novels across genres, worthy non-fiction of and around the same – especially those books which provide an insight into the social concerns of today. This page is for readers and retailers to discover great titles that challenge perspectives and raise awareness they may wish to buy or stock and sell.

*
We believe in supporting bricks-and-mortar and you’ll find book links to a preferred chain (rather than a certain global online retailer) on other pages but all links here go to the title on Hive. Hive supports independent bookshops by enabling customers to order online with some great offers to match more corporate suppliers and nominate their local independent to receive a cut of the sale value or pick it up from them.

CP - Hive So please find our round-up of socially minded and progressive non-fiction, and fiction in prose and graphic novel form, from January to June 2017 below (Jul-Dec 2016 titles can be found here). If you’re a customer please support independents (especially if they’ve been good enough to tweet / RT us) by purchasing direct from them or choosing them on Hive – we get a small percentage of the latter which will help pay site costs and keep us going. Carabas - Logo

Cheers for reading and hope you enjoy!

Tim B

@timbayley1

Read the rest of this entry »

July 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends

*

Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for July.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

Read the rest of this entry »

Carabas Jan-Jun 17 Non-Fiction Picks: Culture, Current Affairs, History, Music & Film

At Carabas we’re about many things: the fantastical certainly, but we’re more generally about championing alternative culture and counter-culture; the marvelous, the wonderful and the creative; and certainly the things that will help bring a bit more understanding into the world.

So here’s our top non-fiction book recommends from titles publishing July to December: Alternative & Street Art, Biography, Music, Popular Science (General), Fact Behind the Fiction (our round-up of Non-Fiction on fantastical subjects), History, London titles and Ethical Politics / Awareness Raising titles – the vibrant, the quirky, the worthy and the enlightening. There’s something here for everyone…

 

n-jan-17-the-art-of-spray-paint G - Feb 17 - Haddon Hall n-jan-17-studying-hammer-horror

Read the rest of this entry »

Record Store Day 2017!

Saturday April 22nd is 2017’s Record Store Day, a date to celebrate and support independent bricks-and-mortar music outlets – very much our kind of thing then!

*
There’s so much great stuff being released / re-released for the occasion but we just had to knock together something by the way of our ‘If money was no object’ highlights for your consideration – just some established favourites, intriguing morsels discovered on our browsing and, more generally, musical items that chime with our overall alternative culture remit.

Below that we thought we’d drop in the vids from RSD 2017’s Champions and it’s 10th Anniversary LEGEND and you can find all of this and more at the Record Store Day website (UK, you’ll find others easily enough) and follow the celebration on Twitter via the hashtag #RSD2017!

Read the rest of this entry »

Rebels and Empires: The Future of the British Comic – Panel Coverage of the London Book Fair 2017

11.30 on Day 3 of the London Book Fair 2017 and we’re at the Rebels and Empires: The Future of British Comics panel. I arrive as host Bleeding Cool’s Richard Johnston notes that in the panelists left to right we have a “history of British comics right here”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Graphic Novels: The Last Ten Years (and the Next) – Panel coverage at the London Book Fair 2017

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the Cross Media Theatre is so packed – this is only one of two panels ton comics / graphic novels this year. But SelfMadeHero MD Emma Hayley, writer David Hine, Nibbies Bookseller of the Year nominee Gosh!’s Steve Walsh, and host Panel Borders broadcaster Alex Fitch recline rather more comfortably and are ready to go.

Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Mr Men Dr Who (Dr Who Mr Men?!!!) by Adam Hargreaves!

In this era of pop culture mash-ups few, whichever finally hit the bigtime mainstream market, leap out as anything special. But MR MEN DR WHO? Oh we were onto this without seeing a single image.

The much loved – and still hilarious at any age – Mr Men were of course the creation of Roger Hargreaves, subsequent characters and adventures created and curated by his son Adam. This is his latest and arguably – okay to those of us older than 5 – greatest MM venture, debuting the last week of April 2017 (link below to launch event at Forbidden Planet).

*

We spoke to those nice folk at Random House and asked for some preview pages to share. We were onto this without seeing a single image having no doubt how much fun they would be. Damn were we right… 🙂

Read the rest of this entry »

June 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends

*

Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for June.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

Read the rest of this entry »

May 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends

*

Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for May.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

Read the rest of this entry »

April 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends

*

Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for April.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

Read the rest of this entry »

March 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends
C - Mar - The Devil's Paintbox
B - Mar - The Djinn fall in Love
NF - Mar - Sound System
B - Mar - The Erstwhile
B - Mar - Wild Chamber

*

Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for March.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

Read the rest of this entry »

The 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival!

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival

We’re here at the Mega-City Block-esque Novotel Hotel in Hammersmith, lately arrived and soaking up the setting of the 40th Anniversary festival of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic 2000 AD!

There’s been some build up mind: do check out our February 2017 Book Highlights which includes the celebratory THE GALAXY’S GREATEST, a creator selected collection of the greatest one-off short stories, and ex-Tharg David Bishop’s THRILL POWER OVERLOAD, the forty year history of 2000 AD. On a similar note, from not so long back, there’s also ‘golden era’ Tharg Steve MacManus’s autobiography THE MIGHTY ONE from September 2016 – details here (scroll about halfway down to The Fact Behind the Fiction section). Oh and the creator of 2000 AD itself, first Tharg and writer of numerous flagship characters Pat Mills has just released with frequent collaborator Kevin O’Neill his darkly comedic crime satire about a comic editor SERIAL KILLER – and we’ve got a preview with title info and more here!

Right, back to the #2000ADFest (twitter link) itself. Looking forward to some cracking panels later and catching up with various folk but will be sharing a few things as we go – scroll down for more…

Splundig vur Thrigg people!

 

Opening Shots…

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (1) 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (2)
Entrance guarded by a Genetic Infantryman (Rogue Trooper to the uninitiated) and a bloke with a lanyard. Strangely synchronised in their security sweeping… 😉

*****

Immediately drawn to this corner: the stall of the Dog House, makers of the unofficial but officially Zarjaz films of Judge Minty and now Strontium Dog! So looking forward to the screening of that later…

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (3) 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (5)
2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (4)

*
Dredd film props: freeze creep – don’t ruin your photo!

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (7) 2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (6)

 

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (9) The main area: more artists and writers of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic than you can shake a Lawgiver or axe at!

 

The 4th Generation Panel

Great little session with comparatively newer additions to regular 2000 AD contributors in the Tir Na nOg room (Slaine reference). Hosted by CBR’s Steve Morris, there’s artists Tom Foster (Storm Warning, various Future Shocks), Eoin Coveney (The Alienist, also various shorts), Dani (Fiends of the Eastern Front) and writer Alec Worley.

2000 AD 40th Anniversary Festival (10) Steve’s first checking in on their first experiences as readers of 2000 AD. Alec was a rather late starter but was blown away (as were we all) by Pat Mills and Simon Bisley’s SLAINE: THE HORNED GOD. For Tom it was through those random issues bought by family members while he was ill as a kid. Dani very much came straight in as a creator, developing a love and knowledge of the comic since then, while Eoin started with Prog 2 after there was such a buzz about the first Prog at school the week previous.

*

Of course (whatever the comic’s alien editor Tharg may or may not approve of) few people have been regular readers and not drifted away from the comic at some point. But what drew them back?

For Owen it was the ultraviolence, the art and the humour. He remembers Pat Mills being interviewed emphasising that kids are smart and that you can’t fool them. It reinforced to him that 2000 AD is a quality product with insightful thinking behind it.

For Alec in part it was that it got referenced in Spaced: that alone said to him that, yes, 2000 AD certainly was cool.

As to how to get into the comic as a creator, well they’ve all got their own quite unique stories. Eoin was an early starter but admits not giving his first outing on a John Wagner script the attention it deserved, having understandably if falsely built his self-image as a creator after getting a gig with Moebius. It’s been more recently that he’s finally got in properly as a regular contributor.

Alec notes seeing an interview with ex-editor Andy Diggle in which he says how everyone asks how to get into comics / 2000 AD – no one asks how to get better at what they do. Focusing on the latter is more likely to actually achieve the former. It’s something of having a zen-like mental attitude as Alec puts it. Both he and Eoin emphasise the importance of properly taking on feedback from rejections, and that they both ultimately got in from developing a whole campaign of submissions.

Dani had been working on her own comics and was essentially talent-spotted at a convention where she had a stall. Tom on the other hand submitted work to a competition at Thought Bubble, coming second two years running then, when the prize was actually being given a script to illustrate, coming first in its third year. He’s yet to work for one of the American publishers but feels he’ll be far better placed to work in the more expansive scheme of their strips having honed his craft in the more compressed approach of 2000 AD than the other way round. On a similar note Alec praises the scripting of Gordon Rennie and Rob Williams for being ‘so on point’ and ‘muscular writing’.

And right now? Tom’s got his first Dredd story coming up and something in a few weeks on ‘From the Drawing Boards’ on YouTube. Alec has a US one-shot of the Dredd movie version of Judge Anderson. Owen is working on the next series of The Alienist while Dani is working on her own comics with a Dirk Gently filler coming for IDW and something that can’t be mentioned for 2000 AD’s special issue for Free Comic Book Day.

Cheers all – smashing panel!

 

More to come…