Speculating Canada interviewed Jen

Hello Friends, Fans, and Family,

Speculating Canada is an award winning podcast and interview series that interviews fantastic Canadian and genre personalities.

Jen was interviewed by the wonderful Derek Newman-Stille. You can see the interview on their website.

It’s a great interview and gives you a great insight into how she works and does so many fantastic things.

Jen says:

I was interviewed for Speculating Canada yesterday!! It was so much fun.

We discuss Queer writing, the interrelationship between craft-making and writing, writing with a community, and writing with a partner (specifically my husband).

It’s a long interview, about 50 minutes, so get comfy!

It certainly made me blush from all the compliments.

Go listen to it.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Nimona – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film Nimona.

Story

The movie took a lot of traditional fantasy story elements and moved them around or flipped them upside down. It meant that everything felt familiar but was still suprising.

The not-so-subtle message of inclusiveness and not treating others like monsters is painfully current and needed.

Score: 1

Characters

I was so happy to see the queer relationships in this. It was a relief not to just have it hinted at. The characters were all very well fleshed out and distinct. Despite being in a massive city, the cast is actually quite small which gives us that personal time with the characters while keeping the feel of a rich world.

I liked Nimona’s chaos gremlin energy and was a huge fan of Ballister’s unyielding goodness.

Score: 1

Dialogue

There were a lot of quippy lines, lots of good jokes, but also lots of well used emotional words. The characters don’t outright answer every question, but they also don’t completely dodge every question and that leads to some excellent character moments and developement.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

I found some of the animation almost underdone and other parts absolutely gorgeous. It was probably the style of animation that threw me. Beyond the animation was the astounding use of colour, lighting, camera angles, and world design.

Score: 1

Fun

As a creator, you want to make your audience feel something and this movie delivers an emotional rollercoaster that felt personal while still being fun.

The entire family was glued to the screen.

Score: 1

Overall

This was a fantastic movie with great diversity and impressive writting. If you enjoy animation, science fiction, fantasy, or good stories; please watch it.

Final Score: 5 Stars out of 5*


*A 5 star review doesn’t mean the movie was perfect nor that it is perfect for everyone but it is a movie I believe is as close to perfect as possible.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

Story

This story felt like every D&D campaign I’ve read from Wizard of the Coast without being derivative, bland, or predictable.

There was a lot of worldbuilding and character set up, and I loved every second of it.

Score: 1

Characters

The characters are well defined in their quick backstory introductions, but I’m not sure how well someone who doesn’t know the game would understand what they can do. (My father-in-law was as confused as Doric why Edgin was useful.) Having not played much of the system after 3.5 edition, I spent a long time trying to figure out what they could do and what their classes were.

The actors were perfect in their roles and the character development was better than most D&D sessions.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

This was the perfect balance between epic and cheesy. The dialogue was perfectly delivered.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The dedication to practical effects was a welcome change. They filmed a real volcano!? Everything was stunning and I liked that the spells weren’t too flashy or overdone. It gave the world a sort of grounding that made it feel more realistic.

The music was a great combination of epic fantasy (honouring scores like Lord of the Rings) and of action. I liked the slight Celtic flair to it.

Score: 1

Fun

This was fun from one end to the other. My daughter complained there were no dungeons or dragons at the beginning, but loved it once they got to the Underdark.

I enjoyed this immensely and can’t wait to re-watch it.

Score: 1

Overall

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves toes the line between catering to long time fans and being accessible to casual movie goers. It doesn’t always succeed, but it does a fantastic job overall. This is an excellent adventure movie with wonderful characters. More then worth watching several times.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

10+ Books for $10 (Aurora Awards Voter Package)

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve talked about the Aurora Awards before.

Now all the nominating is over and it’s time for people to read the nominees and vote for their favourite.

Here’s a list of the nominated works

If you sign up for the Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association and pay $10, you’ll have access to most of the nominated works. That’s 10+ novels, collections, short stories, and more. The voters package will be available until voting closes on July 23rd.

What are the Aurora Awards?

aurora

The Aurora Awards are awards “for excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy works and activities.” They are administered by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

It’s a fan-voted award in the vein of the Hugo’s, but with way more awesome people.

In Conclusion

Sign up, get ebooks, read, and then vote for your favourites. It’s a great deal and you’ll love the books.

So go to https://prixaurorawards.ca/ and click on the “Become a Member” button.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

The Quest

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

For those of you who have been around for a while, you might remember The Quest. It was on at the tail end of the Reality Television boom of the early 2010’s. We got lots of dance, spies, murders, pirates, and other odd concepts.

The Quest was all about fantasy and magic. It was set in a fantasy world where the contestants had to go through challenges in order to be deemed the hero of Everealm.

The show inspired my book Everdome and has a lot of the same elements, although the stories and the worlds are very different.

Trivia: Everdome is a book series inside my, and my wife’s, books. The fist mention of which was in my first published novel A Study in Aether.

Read more about my inspiration from this eight year old blog post.

The Quest 2022

Disney+ is reviving the series with a twist of it being teens and not having it be eliminations. I was skeptical about the show since it didn’t have any of the same cast, but after seeing the new trailer, I’m sold and can’t wait to watch it.

I’m really looking forward to this, but it’s going to make me want to write more in Everdome. Maybe it’s time to revisit the world after my next few planned novels?

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Please Vote for the Travelling TARDIS

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

As you know, The Travelling TARDIS has been nominated for an Aurora Award. (4th year in a row)

Voting for the Aurora’s is now open and will close on Saturday, September 4, 2021. Please vote for the Travelling TARDIS.

Voter’s Package

The majority of nominated works are available in the voter’s package now. Simply make an account, pay $10, and you’ll have access to a wonderful library of Canadian Science fiction and fantasy.

The Travelling TARDIS isn’t part of the package because you can access it for free on this site.

The Travelling TARDIS

The Travelling TARDIS moves, with the power of timey-yarney crochet, through time and space visiting and taking pictures with cosplayers, landmarks, celebrities, and cute babies.

Thank you to everyone who nominated and especially to everyone who reads and enjoys our content.

Thank you!

Éric

Raya and the Last Dragon – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Raya and the Last Dragon.

Story

The story was a nice combination of fetch quest, found family, and post apocalypse. The message was nice and I like the way they ended it. I feel like there was something missing, but that could just be my love for the Moana twist and complexity of Frozen II.

Score: 1

Characters

Raya and Namaari had really nice character arcs, but the others felt like they were there for merch or to fill space. I know it’s only a single movie but I would have liked more development for the other characters. That said, what they did have was fantastic.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The movie was an epic fantasy with elements of westerns and post apocalypse. The dialogue was so modern as to be jarring to start with. I’m not sure why it hit me harder than Emperor’s New Groove, Aladdin or Frozen’s but it felt very new lingo filled (it could also be that I’m getting old). It just really felt out of place.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Wow. This movie is spectacularly beautiful, the animation is unparalleled. I wanted to rewind just to watch a character walk through a puddle.

The music was wonderfully evocative. It captured the setting and the cultures while still being Disney. I did miss the musical aspects of some of the previous movies, but it wouldn’t have fit.

Score: 1

Fun

The worldbuilding was beautiful and the strong but traumatized hero was a wonderful change. The whole family was riveted and it was absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed the whole thing and look forward to rewatching it.

Score: 1

Overall

A spectacular fantasy movie that deviates enough from Disney that hardcore Princess fans will be upset while not deviating enough to make disney critics like it. Taken on it’s own without it’s studio’s baggage, it is absolutely stunning and a wonderful watch.

Final Score: 4 stars out of 5

Barbie in Princess Power – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2015 film Barbie in Princess Power.

Story

They tried really hard to mush together a superhero plot and a fantasy plot. Both are derivative with little of interest beyond a forced moral of cooperation. There were some pretty major plot holes that made the whole movie not make sense.

Score: 0

Character

A princess, her cousin, and her personal inventors? an evil adviser to the king, overbearing parents, and adorable kids. Every character in this movie is a cliché. I’d also say that the Rube-Goldberg physics of the world are practically a character.

Mostly it’s a bunch of really whiny privileged people whining.

Score: 0

Dialogue

The best part of the movie was dialogue borrowed from superhero movies. There were some nice nods to Christopher Reeves and other movies.

Other than that, it was pretty clipped and shallow.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

I’ve watched about six of the Barbie movies at this point and I understand they are supposed to be dolls and that the animation isn’t fantastic. I’m willing to forgive that mostly, but the physics in this are pretty bad, clothing doesn’t move, hair does odd things, and jewellery looks painted on. Worst was their faces, every female character looked like they’re faces were collapsing in on themselves. It was disconcertingly like the late stages of an eating disorder.

The music was a nice surprise; the pop track was catchy and not too bad. I also liked the score, it had a lot of influences from superhero movies and made the scenes significantly better than they should have.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie wasn’t a lot of fun. It was frustrating and made me want to scream at the characters.

That being said, the silly physics and pratfalls were entertaining. Especially to my youngest, who just loved Bruce the Frog.

Score: 0.5

Overall

One of the weaker Barbie movies. It tries too hard to be cute and not hard enough to fun. The character development is as hollow and vapid as the characters themselves. The music was good and there were some ridiculous moments that weren’t bad.

Final Score: 1.5 Stars out of 5

Fantasy and Taters

Hello fellow readers and writers,

I’d like to address an age old argument: Potatoes in Fantasy.

Image from Lord of the Rings.
Gollum asks, “What’s taters, precious? What’s taters, eh?”
Sam replies, “Po tay toes”

Potatoes in Fantasy?

There’s an argument that potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, pumpkins, and other non-European food don’t belong in medieval fantasy.

The argument goes that a fantasy should stick to it’s temporal cultural roots. Since potatoes are a South American food, they shouldn’t exist in a European inspired fantasy.

It continues to go along the lines of dragons being a fantasy element and potatoes being a real like element that having the first makes it fantasy and the second lazy writing.

Potatoes, apparently, hurt an audience’s suspension of disbelief.

What’s your opinion Éric?

I think that if you are writing a historical fantasy or any form of historical fiction, you should make sure to avoid anachronisms.

I can even see the argument for gritty, or realistic fantasy trying to be as close to it’s cultural inspiration as possible.

No, really, what do you think?

Okay fine. I think no potatoes in fantasy is overly didactic, ridiculous, and extremely condescending. I think it’s another way to gatekeep and I think it leads to people who don’t know shit complaining about false anachronisms.

If a damned potato throws you out of a fantasy story, then maybe you should consider only reading historical novels.

The 11th Doctor points at Strax the Sontaran and says, “I’m the clever one, you’re the potato one.” Which is honestly how I see the condescending pendants that make this argument.

In my opinion, if you want to write french fries into your fantasy, go right ahead. I’m a fan of kitchen sink style fantasy (throwing everything into it including the kitchen sink.)

We’ve been giving King Arthur full plate armour for the past hundred years, so why the hell shouldn’t we use potatoes?!

Do you disagree?

Éric

Books – The Holiday Shopping List

Éric Desmarais Author

Adventure, magic, fantasy, and friendship. Books for young adults and the young at heart.

Where to find them

https://renaissance-107765.square.site/s/search?q=Eric%20Desmarais  (HOLIDAY15 for 15% off)

https://www.EricDesmarais.ca

https://Coffee.Jeneric-designs.ca

Shipping Deadline

December 11th

Sales

Free Shipping in Canada over $75 with code CANFREESHIP


Mirror World Publishing

An Independent Canadian Press of Escapism Fiction for all ages! We publish paperbacks and ebooks in science fiction, fantasy, romance, and adventure as well as children’s books and some art books.

Where to find them

http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com

http://www.mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com

Shipping Deadline

Varies by location and product

Sales

Use discount code BUNDLE at checkout when you buy a paperback to get 50% off a second paperback! https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/discount/BUNDLE?redirect=%2Fcollections%2Fpaperback

Or for Ebooks, Use code: BOGO at check out to Buy one, Get one


Renaissance Press

We sell books by diverse Canadian Voices

Where to find them

pressesrenaissancepress.ca

Shipping Deadline

December 10th

Sales

HOLIDAY15 for 15% off between November 1st and December 10th


The Holiday Shopping List

Find all your holiday gifts from local Canadian Artists.