Book Review: “The Shattergrave Knights,” by David M. Haendler

August 11, 2011 Reviews, Writing Comments (0) 481

 

[Full disclosure: Dave is a personal friend.]

I wouldn’t exactly call myself an avid fantasy reader. While I greatly enjoy some entries in the genre, I’ve sampled many of the best-selling fantasy series and found them wanting. I only have so much patience for yet another repackaging of Tolkein: the unlikely hero, living a peaceful life in an idyllic region far removed from the world’s problems, finds a long-lost (or hidden) relic of great power, which attracts the wise old magician who sets the hero up with some motley companions and sends them on a long quest to challenge the rising power of the Big Bad. Along the way they fall into peril, they’re separated and nearly defeated, and the hero learns to wield a great power long forgotten in polite society. Ho hum.

Some of these are certainly tropes of the genre and relatively unavoidable, but good fantasy finds new and inventive ways of presenting the tropes. I’m pleased to say that The Shattergrave Knights, recently self-published by attorney and fellow Philadelphian David M. Haendler, does just that. The story follows Jack and Olive Merriwether, twins from the tiny hamlet of Muddy Hollow who are caught up in adventure when a simple act of kindness draws the ire of a paranoid and overreaching government. A quest to rescue their parents from extraordinary rendition leads to revelations about the history of the Protectorate and the Merriwether’s own sinister ancestry.  Continue Reading

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“The Inversion of a Coen Brothers Movie”

February 1, 2011 Pop Culture Comments (0) 282

Ruben Bolling at Tom the Dancing Bug posted some really interesting thoughts on the Coen Brothers’ True Grit and how it broke from the usual Coen Brothers mold. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I recommend you read it.  While you’re at it, poke around on the blog. Ruben is a brilliant cartoonist and I’m always excited when a new Tom the Dancing Bug cartoon is posted.

True Grit: The Inversion of a Coen Brothers Movie

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Mondegreens and Eggcorns

February 14, 2008 Pop Culture, Writing Comments (0) 571

Today I came across the Wikipedia entry for “eggcorn,” a recently-coined linguistic term that describes one of my ultimate pet peaves. I know I should be forgiving, but to my mind few things make a person seem stupid than the use of a term they have mis-heard or misunderstood, an “eggcorn.”

A few examples:
“For all intensive purposes”
“Once and a while”
“The spurt of the moment”
…and, of course, the eponymous “eggcorn.”

My own pet peaves aside, what was really interesting to me was the list of descriptive names for other linguistic misuses. An eggcorn, you see, is defined as a personal (as opposed to culturally shared) misuse that results when the person misunderstands the term in question through similarity. “Acorn” in many dialects sounds identical to “eggcorn,” and hence the error – which usually only shows up in written form. Continue Reading

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