The Cost of Magic

November 30, 2018 Bushi 21

I’ve been thinking lately about magic. In fiction, its treatment varies widely, but I feel like there are a few generalizations I can make. First, I don’t agree with Gita (or Orson Scott Card) that magic must have a price or else be rendered uninteresting. Of course magic should have limitations. […]


John Bellairs and the Face of Magic

November 28, 2018 Bushi 17

I’ve been thinking about magic lately, and I’ve got a post brewing…but it’s not quite ready yet. It did bring me back around to thinking about John Bellairs, however, and his The Face in the Frost. In case you’re unfamiliar with them, Bellairs was mainly a writer of young adult gothic […]


The Word-Hoard: Barbican

November 26, 2018 Bushi 0

Barbican n. The outer defense of a castle or walled city; especially a double tower above a gate or drawbridge.    This feels to me like another Jack Vance word – that dude was always throwing around obscure architecture words and vehicle words and such. “Barbican” fits snugly into that […]



November 23, 2018 Bushi 3

Another year, and life is pretty good. I’ve got neither wealth nor fame, but I’ve got food and drink, books and a few video games. I’ve got a roof over my head, a few good friends, and living family. It was my son’s first Thanksgiving, and though he isn’t old […]


The Maid and Butler and Swordsman of Mars

November 21, 2018 Bushi 5

Sometimes characters explain things to one another that they should already know.  “My lord, your brilliant plan – to poison the ambassador’s wine and then blame it on the Lord-Baron Thumin, with the help of a few bribes and drunken guardsman, is proceeding without hitch.” This kind of dialogue-embedded info […]


The Word-Hoard: Verdigris

November 19, 2018 Bushi 0

Verdigris n. A green or bluish patina formed on copper, brass, or bronze surfaces exposed to the atmosphere for long periods of time , consisting principally of basic copper sulfate.   Verdigris is the lesser-known cousin of rust. When iron oxidizes, you get a reddish-brown crust called rust, as I’m […]


Koshchei and the strange, black, turbaned lady

November 16, 2018 Bushi 0

I just finished reading James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice, and it’s absolutely overflowing with references to lore and myth and legend, and plenty of couched philosophical commentary. I’m not going to get too far into that right now, but something has got the squeaky gears in my brain […]


Exotic weapons: the pata

November 14, 2018 Bushi 1

The other day I discovered a show on the History Channel. It’s called Forged in Fire, and it’s basically Chopped but with blacksmiths making weapons. In the first episode I caught, the smiths’ final challenge was to each craft a pata. I wasn’t really familiar with this weapon, but I […]


Not-Quite-Solomon Kane: The Movie

November 12, 2018 Bushi 22

I’ve written before about Solomon Kane, the original Caped Crusader. Though Conan the Barbarian, with his own merits, is Robert E. Howard’s most famous creation, Kane is my personal favorite. There’s just something about his fanatical thirst for justice and uncompromising faith that I find wonderfully compelling. I recently watched Solomon […]

Andre Norton’s Gray Scifi

November 9, 2018 Bushi 5

“All Cats Are Gray,” by “Andrew North,” is another story I was turned onto by Audio SFF’s Reading, Short and Deep podcast. I’ve written about Andre Norton before, and though I haven’t loved absolutely everything of hers that I’ve laid my eyes on, I do admire her range and skill. […]