I admit I’m drawn to dark and gritty characters. I like a flawed protagonist that must overcome their own internal demons more than their external ones. The latest character that has caught my attention is Van from the anime Gun X Sword.
Dressed in a black tuxedo and wearing an epic black hat, Van looks the part. He is obsessed with revenge against the man who killed his bride on their wedding day. This single-minded obsession helps him to overcome one obstacle after another in his pursuit of the killer (The Claw) who happens to be an evil mastermind behind a plot to end the world. Of course, it helps that he pilots one of the most powerful mecha suits on the planet.
Along the way, he picks up several companions, despite his lack of manners or sense of decorum. The most important of which and the teller of the story is a young girl named Wendy who is trying to find her brother. The relationship between Van and Wendy is entertaining, mostly because of his lack of empathy for anyone who can’t help him catch his nemesis. This doesn’t stop them from becoming attached emotionally.
Van is not a brain surgeon, or really even a loveable character, but he has a code of honor to go along with his obsession with revenge, and Wendy’s presence tempers his lack of compassion. Also, he is a man of few words, which is okay in my book. Basically, Van is violent and obsessive, yet dependable in that he will not stop until he gets his man.
The anime is entertaining because of these two characters, although the series drags a bit in the middle with the long quest to find The Claw. The end is predictable yet entertaining, with Van swooping in to save the day in the most violent of ways.
If you like a dark and gritty protagonist, check out Gun X Sword and cheer on this pragmatic hero.
It’s been a busy week:
The Eastern Factor is off to the editors, and I just finished with the re-edit of The Order of the Wolf and it is now live on Amazon. You can also get a free copy if you sign up for my brandy new Author Newsletter. I will be sending it out monthly to begin with, at least until my next book is released in January. After that, we’ll see, but it’ll be quarterly at a minimum.
Click on my smiling friend to get your free ebook.
I also just found out that I won the Charlotte Geeks flash fiction contest with my story “Geekzilla Saves the Gala”. It was featured on their Guardians of the Geekery podcast. I also received some cool prizes. You can find the podcast here (the story starts at 07:30).
You can find my short story “Santa Doesn’t Work Here Anymore” in the Short & Twisted Christmas Tales anthology that just became available on Amazon.
Give it a read.
George R.R. Martin is on everyone’s lips because of Game of Thrones. Many people have seen the HBO series, but I’m sure many fewer have read the books. In addition to Martin, Tolkien and J K Rowling are also household names, known way beyond the fantasy genre. These are the mass media darlings, but are they the heart and soul of the fantasy genre. I say no.
The genre has changed over the years. It seems like YA fantasy is very popular, but wasn’t it always that way? Fantasy is one of those literary genres that has always been accessible to readers of all ages. It cracks me up to see the YA fantasy section in the bookstore. It’s just marketing because of the success of Harry Potter.
So if you’ve already read Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, and are waiting for Martin to finish writing Game of Thrones, what should you read? Well since I’m an old dude, I’m going to give you my recommendations for the best fantasy series of the last several decades. (I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones I have read and can recommend)
- Glen Cook – The Chronicles of the Black Company; The Dread Empire.
- Roger Zelazny – The Amber Chronicles.
- Mickey Zucker Reighert – The Renshai Chronicles.
- Michael Moorcook – The Elric Saga.
- Steven Brust – Vlad Taltos Series.
- Dave Duncan – A Man of His Word; A Handful of Men.
- Katherine Kurtz – The Chronicles of the Deryni.
- Terry Pratchett – Discworld Novels.
- Tad Williams – Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn
- Janny Wurts – The Cycle of Fire; Daughter of Empire.
- C. S. Friedman – Cold Fire Trilogy.
- Harry Turtledove – The Videssos Cycle.
- Jennifer Roberson – Chronicles of the Cheysuli; Sword Dancer.
- Raymond E. Feist – The Riftwar Saga.
- Louise Cooper – Time Master Trilogy; Books of Indigo.
- Eric Van Lustbader – The Sunset Warrior Trilogy.
- Patricia A. Mckillip – The Riddle-Master of Hed trilogy.
- Lawrence Watt-Evens – The Obsidian Chronicles.
- Angus Wells – The Books of the Kingdom; The God War.
- David Farland – The Runelords.
- L.E. Modesitt Jr. – The Saga of Recluse.
- Steve Bein – The Fated Blades.
- Patrick Ruthfuss – The Kingkiller Chronicle.
- Jim Butcher – The Dresden Files.
I almost feel bad about leaving Wheel of Time off this list because it started out so good, but I couldn’t keep reading it much like Game of Thrones – They both grew into this huge web of story arcs that lost my interest. Anyway, this is my list. I do prefer my fantasy a bit dark and gritty, but they don’t all fit in that category. Many of these books are a bit older, but hey, so am I. Try a couple of these if you haven’t read them already.
I finally finished the last revision of The Eastern Factor. Maybe I should call it the latest revision. This is the one where I made much-needed cuts based upon feedback from readers. It is the last revision before going to the editor. Which means it isn’t really the last revision. Wow, I talked myself down from that exciting moment way too quickly. Let me try that again.
Last revision! Last revision! Last revision! For Now. (No, I am not dancing around, but I did spin my chair around a couple of times.)
Wow, that felt better. (Still a little dizzy though.)
I’m talking to the editor and will have a bit of a break before it comes back to me. This gives me some time to work on something else. I’m looking forward to writing something new for a change. I actually have a couple of short story ideas that I want to pursue.
Speaking of short stories, my story Granny May Saves the Day will be coming out soon in Issue 4 of Broadswords and Blasters. Look for it in January.
The Eastern Factor, book 3 of my Kingdom of Haven series is coming soon. Just to get things rolling a bit, I am giving away 5 copies The Order of the Wolf, the first book in the series, over at Goodreads.
So head on over to sign up for the book giveaway. While you’re there, go ahead and friend me, or ask me a question on my author page, or leave a book review.
The giveaway is going until September 30th.
I’ve been working on the final revision of this novel. It is the third book in my Kingdom of Haven series. Soon it will be off to the editor, and then out in the world. It will be available around November. More details to come.
In the meantime, here is the cover design by my friend Don. He does a great job, and is very patient with my requests. I’m sure he gets tired of me asking: Can you do this? So far he hasn’t said no, so hats off to his talent.
Filed under Reading, Writing