Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Battle-Off at Grimdark

In other news, I've entered an excerpt from Dragonfly in the Grimdark Magazine Battle-Off. I don't exactly consider myself a specialist in grim, martial literature, but I do enjoy terse yet vivid action scenes. Perhaps it's a bit impertinent of me to submit my piece alongside those of people who focus on such things, but, as they say, no publicity is bad publicity! I'll enjoy taking a look at the other entries, at any rate.

Really good out-and-out battle scenes are very hard to write. If I were to write a full account of the clash of two (human) armies, I think I'd feel safest hewing close battles I've studied, e.g., those of ancient Greece. I remember my dad, who went through the U. S. Army War College, spending hours upon hours and days upon days reading books and writing papers on the art of waging war. It gave me a lively appreciation for the intricacies of the subject. Of course, the goal is to convince the average reader, not an expert on maneuvers.

As an avid reader of classic fantasy, I find Tolkien's battles thrilling and uniquely satisfying, Robert E. Howard's battles sometimes quite good and sometimes very dull and unreal, and Edgar Rice Burroughs' battles a bit silly but delightful nonetheless. E. R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros, otherwise so meticulous in its description of martial feats (and accoutrements), is curiously reticent when it comes to battles, resorting to a number of subterfuges to avoid them. I wonder if he tried his hand at them but found the results wanting?

So anyway, I see that my battle (involving cyclopes) has garnered nine votes as of now. Alas, the links at Grimdark aren't being generated quite right at this point, and the URL refers to my novel as Firefly, a very different kind of insect, but have no fear, my Dragonfly excerpt is near, a mere two clicks away. You just might have to hunt around a bit.

Albrect Altdorfer, The Battle of Alexander at Issus, 1529.

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