Posts Tagged With: bartimaeus

Alternative History

Alternative_history_books

Alternative History genre is among my favorites. It is just that: one or several historical facts are completely or partially changed in the book, and whole world is then perceived via the prism of that possibility. Steampunk genre is most commonly known in Alternative History genre, since it operates on alternative possibility of Steam Engine being the one that got developed wider and longer than it actually was.

My most favorite examples of Alternative History could also be called Alternative Reality, since fantasy enters (fantasy as in supernatural, not as in mere fiction). One being Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. We all have read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, haven’t we? Or at least seen the dozens of movies that we can choose from without even looking for them (and if you do look, there’s hundreds awaiting). There the brave men ganged up and killed our Father in Darkness (in Anno Dracula that is how your sire is called, Mother/Father in Darkness). Yet in Newman’s story that is not what happened at all. Some meager little men against someone like the Impaler? Ha. He rips them to shreds, in some cases even literally, and slowly but surely brings vampires into the daylight. Not literally. History proceeds as is, but vampires are a great part of it. Say, Bloody Red Baron tells the famous Red Baron story, yet here we not only have some epic pilots doing their jobs, heck, we have giant blood thirsty bat-dragons.

The other example is Bartimaeus sequence by Jonathan Stroud. Empire of Great Britain has never crumbled, but just went on, and on, and on, becoming the greatest power since Roman Empire if you please. History ceases here, since this is not the main genre of the book, and yet it fits the frame.

There are, of course, many more, since I told you what Steampunk is at the base, so even our very own Tapinas with his Wolf Hour is guilty of being Alternative History writer. It’s a genre for all those who overthink things, I think (see what I did here?), since it allows us a wider view of what could’ve been, and how that would’ve changed our lives as we know it.

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Categories: Alternative History Books, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, Gothic Books, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Of 2013 books

In 2013 I’ve read around 70 books. 22 of them were e-books. 4 of those e-books I had taken from the library and mid way brought them back to read them in e-versions, for it was easier for me.

Some books were great, some were awful. Some re-inspired me to continue writing myself. Some taught me a lot, others made me re-consider my values. Eitherway in the end I can say it was a decent reading year.

I owe apology to Karen Essex – her book on Dracula, the “Dracula in Love” is actually a really good book. I just took the topic of Dracula too seriously, forgetting that not everyone is as obsessive as I am. I still think that were they Jack and Jill, John and Lisa or anyone else – the book would be a mad bestseller. But it’s Dracula and Mina, thus I fear there’ll be more like me, who misjudged the book too quickly. Don’t do that. It’s a good book. Ignore the names, just take it as a fantasy that it is, it’s worth it.

The Discovery of the year was Dmitry Glukhovski with his Metro 2033 serie. I wasn’t and FPS fan until those books hit me. And it did hit me, like a runaway train. After I finished the first book, and mind you, this happens extremely rarely, some readers will never know what this means, I had to stop reading for a period of time. It took me almost a week to collect myself and move on. Not without reading Metro 2034, mind you. And not without replaying the video game twice. I own the second one too now, no regrets.

The regret of the year is by Lithuanian author, my native woman, the name I forgot, but I spoke of her book in my blog. I recommended that book after getting suckered in by the advertisement it received and am deeply ashamed. Author later wrote to me, asking whether I read the introduction, where she clearly says people like (one doesn’t have to be a “book snob” to judge a book as I did…) me shouldn’t read her book. I won’t point fingers at the great authors who wrote same thing. The moment you release your baby-book into the world – your word means nothing to the reader. The reader will take your baby and form it as their own. But if she reads this by some chance – it’s your first book, isn’t it? Aim higher, the first step is rarely easy and good.

The surprise of the year must be Simon Brooke, who only when asked – told me he actually published a book called “Harem“. Don’t get taken aback by the awful cover, the book is a treasure. I, pretty much, ended my year with it and I think thus it makes it a good ending for the year. And, am I the only one who feels happy that this book is only in e-version of it? It’ll be more common in the future, and I dear hope that that future is not a millenia away.

The admired author of the year would be re-discovered Anne Rice. Her love to her fans is beautiful. Her views and ideas of what a writer is are even more so. This year I intend to read more of her works, in hopes to finish the Vampire Chronicles and see what else is in store.

The joys of the year that I could call little guilty pleasures would be J. Stroud’s Bartimaeus and R. Gordon & B. Williams Tunnel series. Mr. Stroud said there’s likely to be more Bartimeaus eventually and that made me very happy. While G&W last book of Tunnel series finally got translated to lithuanian, so I won’t have to buy an english copy and feel the OCD strangling me for having a serie of books with different editions in the set. Yes, it’s that bad.

The “Funny book story of the year” would be the fact that my bookshelf finally collapsed under the weight of the books. Luckily there were these two planks that went vertical and when the base cracked – those just leaned sideways and got propped against the wall. So it still holds my books. Just… Don’t touch anything without my supervision!

The “Greedy horder of the books” fact would be – I discovered that Amazon provides a 100% discounts on some kindle versions of the books. I own now over 700 hundreds, out of which some are known, famous or classic titles. I bought some for money too, worry not, I’m not a completely “if it’s free – I want it” freak.

I guess that’s that for the 2013. In 2014 first thing I’ll tell you about will be Murakami and a lithuanian author that makes me real proud! See you soon!

Categories: About Msg2TheMing, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Nosferatu Books, Treasures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When you love the crazies!

This ain’t no joke. My friends are either crazy or extra-interesting people and day after day I keep thinking how lucky I am to have them in my life. There’s always a person I can write to at 3am a text and get a reply to it. There’s always a person who’ll spare me a kind word if I share my silly future plans. There’s always a person who will make and create something beautiful and fantastic and make sure I won’t miss it. There are people who ask me the oddest things and have me try my skill limits at the craziest stuff. Like, yesterday I drew a morse on a horse. A year ago, or maybe two, I made miniature piglets for earrings. I cut up DVD disks, severed barbie hands sewed naughty parts onto teddy bears and so on. Other’s pull me into different things that help my mind, not only my crafting skills. One fairly new friend gave me her copy of German “Bartimaeus: Amulet of Samarkand” book (Jonathan Stroud Bartimaeus sequence, I have all four, but when offered I agreed to take the german one because I really like the language and it was the first foreign one that I learned, so it’ll be great to remember it and re-use it), the other, old friend, gave me a poem book with translation and original (old French) side by side, for I expressed my will to learn that language too (too many Dracula’s musicales, people. I love your love for him). Then the other one who is a cousin beside a friend, made sure I get a spot in these cheap school-trips their teacher organised for their class (teacher knew me, so she agreed gladly), so I saw Germany (Berlin, Potsdam), Estonia (Tallinn), Latvia (Riga+) and Sweden (Stockholm). And each one of these people got something about them. Some are smart beyond measure. Some are creative beyond measure. Some make movies, other’s make costumes, and you can do nothing but marvel at both. Some are able to learn a new crafting technique and make jewelry within night, worth all the praise. Some sleep few hours a day and work non stop all the other time for reasons not even they know. The only question there is – why am I in their world? I got some skill, I got some talent and some brain. But not enough of either. It’s why I say they must be crazy, but hell, I love each one of them.

So on this high note, lets go on and see how past few days went for me, shall we? Let’s start with the oldest. I experiment with techniques for crafting, for I want every piece I make to be different and as unique as it can be without being just trash. So I cut up DVD’s after I was reminded they’re made of two thinner layers stuck together, unlike one-fat-layer CD’s are. I cut the edge, stick a blade in it and rip one piece off. Put a ruler on it and cut, cut, cut. If you’re lucky, after you severed the beautiful-covered DVD in half, you will have transparent side and the pretty side. If you’re less lucky, you’ll have pretty side and one side with residue of the shiny bits.

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Broke my bodkin when piercing holes into promotional BioShock: Infinite DVD (demo) earrings…

And then I went on making other stuff. When the Muse hits me – it lasts long enough for me to burn for a couple of days and make several decent and good items or at least learn something new about making them. So what I did was: A pair of earrings carved into a book. Pretty much, I cut a slice of a book off, made back out of the cover, frame out of pages. Put a skull picture inside and covered it all in thick layer of enamel. It doesn’t look so good, I guess, but it’s different and I was quite happy in the making of it.

Skull_Book_soukyan_JRV

  The other thing I made was a fail at first. I printed four pictures of skulls for this second work, cut it into a triangle and glued it on a piece of cardboard. I thought, wow, I’m so clever, this’ll be hard enough surface for paper! Then I thought… No, no it won’t. If some girl (or a boy, no discrimination here) puts those earrings into jewelry box – they’ll be crushed, they will bend and in the end – they’ll be ripped as any paper or light cardboard gets. At first I thought I’ll throw it out and just make new ones and glue them on plastic (and I will make such once I get back into the mood of making, plus I need a few more items for it now, as I ran out), but figured, if I intend to throw them out, why not learn on them and experiment? So I did. I took a knife, heated it up and dipped into dry enamel and spread it like butter in uneven chunks onto the triangles on both sides. All well and good – hard and shiny. Thing is – edges began looking dirty and uneven. So I dug into the stash of supplies from old home renovation and find some wallpaper which says “you can wash it with water“. In other words – waterproof (or hydrophobic, if you so wish) paper. I cut off even slices and put it onto the triangle edges. I think the final turn out looks decent if not real good. Not too bad, not too bad.

Skull_Triangles_Soukyan_JRV

  The third full piece is the previously mentioned DVD earrings.  They’re made out of a promotional DVD one gets with PC Gamer magazine, it contains the game demo and/or promotional trailer. Pretty much, what you do is you cut the edge of it, for if you look closely – it has some kind of melted residue on it, you need to scrape it off. Then you stick the blade in between, which is a hard task – guard your fingers or wear thick, real thick gloves, and then without pulling it out – drag it around whole DVD. Then carefully rip it apart. If you’re lucky – you will have a clear side you can use for something else and whole shiny stuff will be on the part which you will cut up for the picture on it. If you’re less lucky – there’ll be residue on the clear part and you might not be able to use that then. All in the limits of your own imagination. After you done all that, you drop the fattest ruler you own and use same blade (I expect it’s either a scalpel or a box opener) to cut it. No pressure, make long, firm slices across where you want to cut over and over and over until you cut into your cutting board. I hope you have one, coz table will not like the crafting you do. The further process is up to you. I put plastic wallpaper on the back – it’s soft and squishy and green. Then covered edges with copper dye and clear acrylic paints to hold it all down. Then I pierced the holes, put through a gold colored little hoop and the hooks. Done. And I think they look beautiful.

Bioshock_Infinite_earrings_Soukyan_JRV

  From the creative field I can show you one small piece too. It’s an elven shaman, you’ll see her story in my DeviantArt page someday. She’s a friend of Dyaebl, who has two stories in my dA (first; second) already. It’s a very small picture, I avoid making such, even tho I find it a lot easier. But the interesting thing is not the size but the way it progressed. If you look closely, it seems it all started out so innocently and look what came out of it all. The picture in her BG is the village my father grew up in, by the way.

Three_elven_mages

  Now the other things. A month ago I ordered three items from one Etsy store, called Finding Supply and yesterday I finally received it. It was a free shipping, so it’s normal for it to take a month to get here. Must say, I am very happy about everything it contained. First of all, the envelope was MAYBE re-used, I don’t know, eitherway, I was glued with extra glue which held everything really, really firm and I approve to cautious shipping. Second – every item is packed firmly in the most compact size zip-bags, no excess air, no tangly edges. Packs were brand new (some people I bought from definitely re-use those bags), sturdy and well zipped. And thirdly – the items are great in quality and really cheap. Lets hope I can make lots of nice things out of it all.  Crafting_supplies Crafting_supplies_2

  And let me show you my Bartimaeus too. German language never looked as beautiful as when Bartimaeus describes his first summoning by Nathaniel. I’ve read it in Lithuanian, listened to audio book in English (I recommend it a lot, by the way) and now I can re-read it in German. No, there’s never too much of Bart. Ever.

German_Bartimaeus

  And just to finish it nice, another picture, okay? Last collage, so to say. First on top is my new experiment – the Slave of Kirkwall from Dragon Age 2, I am a great fan of Dragon Age series, comics, books, games. Second picture on top is another experiment, it’s a bow bent four times in length and four times in width and pushed through the loops of itselfs. Strengthened with sems there and here and metal studs. At the bottom, first picture is same studs used to mark which hoodie is mine (coz there’s two same in my home and one ain’t mine), it’s an Assassin’s Creed (not Masons) symbol (tho they’re quite same). The thingy beside it is a bat made out of green note paper. Just so. Now, on far edge, three pictures, first (top) is a picture of how books hang over my head there and here, for I got no room to put it elsewhere and do trust me, there’s just no way to put them less ominously. Below are some Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag logo’s I intend to use up. What for? You’ll see. One item is already on my dA, it’s a pendant for a courtesan. And the bottom is my bane. Either no one’s there to make me tea, or no one’s simply making me tea, or there’s a cup after a cup after a cup. And I randomly drink from all of them. Yep.

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Categories: About Msg2TheMing, Books: Everything, Creations, games | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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