Tag Archive | literature

Henry V

I’ve been thinking about the writers and books that have inspired me. One of the ones that hits me every single time I read it is Henry V, by none other than Shakespeare. And yes, I know it’s a play and not a novel, but once you’re reading it… The words and drama take over and transport you.

Hamlet was a pretty play, so are the comedies. I love seeing the different version of them. But nothing resonates as deeply as Hal’s giant leap into majesty, and the war speeches that come after.

Yes, I said war speeches.

The first time I saw Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, I gasped. That one speech, at the end of the movie, when he’s sure that everyone is going to die but they need to fight anyways and Aaragon (I think that was his name) gets them to do it willingly? To buy a couple of hobbits a few moments to hopefully complete the mission?

Yah. I thought “Shakespeare.”

Henry V did battle with France and was grossly out numbered. The numbers go something like: English Men: 6,000. French Men: 30,000-60,000 (depending on which source you use for historical –i.e. real– numbers).Think about it. 

What kind of genius was he to turn around what should have been a stomping? The French had armor, but not the English. Did you know that if you knock someone over in armor and they land on their back they can’t get up? And if they fall forward into mud (and it was a muddy, dirty battlefield), they’d drown to death? Yup. Armor looks pretty, but has some pretty atrocious drawbacks to it.

But tactics alone couldn’t make scared men and boys follow you into certain death. No, in Shakespeare’s Henry V, it is the Eve of St Crispian’s Day Speech that’s gets them all going. . Google it, or look it up on You Tube. You can find it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-yZNMWFqvM  (not sure how to do links, but I’m trying!)

As an epic fantasy reader I see shades of this character all over. Not all live up to it, but oh when they do…

It truly is magical.


Magazine Review: Fantasy & Science Fiction

One of the things I’m most passionate about is reading. It comes in second only to my son, Ray. And on a bad day… well, nothing helps settle the soul like a good story. So I’ve decided that this blog is going to change, just a little. Since I read so many books, magazines, etc… And I love ‘em, hate ‘em and can’t live without them, I’ll devote more time to the blog and books.

To start with we’re going to peruse the January/February edition of Fantasy & Science Fiction (the magazine). To be fair, I’m going to let you know that I received an ARC (Advance Readers Copy). I’m also going to let you know that I firmly believe that there is not enough time for bad books. If it doesn’t catch my attention, I set it aside.

I did not set aside this magazine. It kept falling open to the story “Scrap Dragon” by Naomi Kritzer. As an avowed dragon enthusiast, I couldn’t resist. But it wasn’t the dragon that kept me reading. Oh no, I was hooked by the second sentence in the story (which is actually a question). Anyone who has ever told a story off the cuff to a child is going to appreciate this one. I was laughing out loud—the play between narrator and listener was an integral part of the story and made it even more magical.

I also enjoyed the opening story, “Small Towns” by Felicity Shoulders. It struck me as a great mash up of the Pinnochio and Thumbelina stories, but with only using a dash of the originals. A fairy tale for grown-ups, it kept me guessing as to where it was headed.

Charles De Lint’s book review is always great, even if I don’t agree with his picks. And Paul Di Filippo’s “Plumage from Pegasus” made me laugh so hard I started snorting. I didn’t care for Elizabeth Hand’s column, Books, and to be honest it was a bit disconcerting to have an advertisement for another book on the page that was not being reviewed.

Bottom line: This collection of stories is well worth the cover price of the magazine. I’ll more than likely buy the next issue to come out. While I didn’t love every single story, there were enough great ones to more than make up for that. To be honest, I’ve bought short story collections of some authors to be sorely disappointed.

I was not disappointed this time.