Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Poem: "What Wings?"

As I sat at my desk in my home office, I felt the Muse tickle my brain.  Inspiration came in the form of a pair of white moths that I spied across the street flitting in my neighbor's yard.  I began thinking about moth wings and how dusty they are.  This (naturally?) led to wondering if faerie wings had faerie dust.  The poetry easily flowed from there.

Review of Skavenslayer by William King

The swords & sorcery fantasy novel Skavenslayer by William King was published in 1999 by Black Library.  I had the pleasure of reading it from the first omnibus edition published in 2006 which includes two other adventures of Gotrek the dwarf berserker and Felix the poet warrior:  the prequel Trollslayer (reviewed on April 17, 2013 in Songs of Eretz), and the sequel Daemonslayer.

Not much more is revealed about the iconic figure Gotrek Gurnisson, but Mr. King does give the reader a bit more of a backstory to the berserker's chronicler and friend Felix Jaeger.  Felix's brother Otto is introduced, and in him we see who Felix might have been had he not fallen in with Gotrek.  Like his brother, Otto his well-educated, kind, and generous, but, unlike his brother, Otto is a quintessential, mainstream, no nonsense, well-to-do member of the merchant class.  Otto does attempt to woo his wayward brother back into the family fold, but Mr. King never allows the reader to believe that Felix is seriously tempted.

The most interesting aspect of the novel is the skaven.  Mr. King portrays the skaven as a subterranean  race of scheming rat-men--which is to say hyper-intelligent, bipedal rats the size of men.  The technology of the skaven is superior to that of their human counterparts, and the power of the skaven magicians is at least as great as that of human wizards.  I found the structure of skaven society, which is divided into various competing clans, to be fascinating.  About half of the novel is told from the POV of the skaven--with such deftness that I found myself almost rooting for them as they plotted to take over the surface world.  Their manner of speech and preconceived notions about humanity add an element of humor too--most welcome in an otherwise serious if not sombre tale.

Skavenslayer will hardly rank among the great high fantasy epics, but it is nevertheless paced well, entertaining, and interesting to read.  As with Trollslayer, each chapter is structured as a stand-alone short story, but there is more of a novel-like flow between the stories in Skavenslayer.  I am looking forward to eventually reading the sequel.

Review of "The Dollmaker's Grief" by Michelle M. Denham

"The Dollmaker's Grief" by Michelle M. Denham appeared in Daily Science Fiction on July 31, 2013. "A man rescues an abandoned android-like doll."

There is something hauntingly beautiful in this story--really two stories in one that eventually combine in a surprising way at the end.  6 out of 7 rocket-dragons.

Review of "Blue Is Beautiful Amy but the Story Is So the '90s" by Farrah Field

"Blue Is Beautiful Amy but the Story Is So the '90s" by Farrah Field was offered by's Poem-A-Day on July 31, 2013.  The poem is a whimsical jumble of random thoughts without rhyme, rhythm, or perhaps even reason.  The poet's notes are not particularly illuminating.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review of "Demeter in Paris" by Meghan O'Rourke

"Demeter in Paris" by Meghan O'Rourke was offered by's Poem-A-Day on July 30, 2013.  I was looking forward to a poem about Demeter in Paris.  How cool would that have been!  Sadly, this poem is a string of random musings that have nothing to do with Persephone's vengeful mother.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Review of "it: a user's guide" by Evie Shockley

"it: a user's guide" by Evie Shockley was offered by's Poem-A-Day on July 29, 2013.  The poet states in her notes that the poem is inspired by and written in memory of the Trayvon Martin case.  However, I do not see much reference to the themes of the Martin case.  What I do see is an interesting poem about "it" as in having "the special sauce" or "magic touch" that leads to success--whether deserved or not.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Review of "It was a hard thing to undo this knot" by Gerard Manley Hopkins

"It was a hard thing to undo this knot" by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 -1889) was offered by's Poem-A-Day on July 28, 2013, the anniversary of the poet's birth.  This thought-provoking, rhyming poem contemplates the beauty of a rainbow and how that beauty is perceived in different manners by different viewers.

Review of "Atavism" by Elinor Wylie

"Atavism" by Elinor Wylie (1885 - 1928) was offered by's Poem-A-Day on July 27, 2013.  This haunting, rhyming poem reminded me of Gollum stalking the fellowship of the ring along the river in Tolkien's classic tale.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Songs of Eretz Poetry E-zine will close to submissions for its premier issue on July 31, 2013.  The issue will be published in August 2013.

New 'ku: lucky coffee break

This scifaiku was spawned from the Codex chain.  I had to link to my own haiku, so the chain may be dying.  Sometimes a coffee break can save a life.  This 'ku ponders this phenomenon.