Another sad passing in the world of literature. Gene Wolfe, a massively influential figure who was praised by famed authors such as George R.R. Martin, Ursula K. Le Guin and Neil Gaiman, has passed away. According to The GuardianGene Wolfe died at the age of eighty-seven, leaving behind a famous body of work. His magnum opus is The Book of the New Sun , which ranked only third in a fantasy magazine of the best fantasy novels, behind only The Lord of the Ringsand The Hobbit.Taking placing in an apocalyptic earth where mankind has regressed to a medieval era, the novels blended science fiction and fantasy to become something wholly unique.
Image Via Amazon
Wolfe’s passing was mourned by his longtime publisher, Tor, and numerous other authors in the industry. Tor said he was a ‘beloved icon’ and will be ‘dearly missed’ while leaving behind a body of work that will live on forever in SF fame. Neil Gaiman praised Wolfe’s work, saying he was possibly the finest American writer who ever lived. George R.R. Martin considers him the best the science fiction genre has produced, while Le Guin said he was ‘our Melville’. For his efforts, Gene Wolfe received the title of grand master of science fiction in 2012. Wolfe himself had earlier noted his early work out of college was terrible and he was living from paycheck to paycheck before he became famous.
Gene Wolfe leaves behind a legacy of his great work, as well as being hugely influential on the writer’s community around him, inspiring others to create worlds. We salute you, Wolfe, and will remember your work forever.
It’s Thirsty Thursday, and Bookstr is bringing you Booze & Books, our newest weekly feature dedicated to drinking games and booze-book pairings. This week, we’ll be changing it up with a booze-book pairing. Our recommendation? Any booze and any book. Since that’s a little too general, we’re going to be paring classic books with soon-to-be-classic beer. So, friends, read up & drink up. By the end of this list, these pages won’t be the only thing turnt.
Lord of the Flies is about a classroom full of boys getting trapped together and resorting to savagery, which sounds to me like just about every frat party I’ve ever attended. The parallels don’t end there: we can assume they didn’t have a wide variety of beverage options. And that’s what Natty Light is: not your top pick, what happens to be there, preferable to cannibalism.
Let’s get real: Less Than Zero pairs well with just about any intoxicating substance, both because that’s what the book is all about and because you might need a buzz to handle some of this violence and apathy. A disturbing tale of debauchery and indifference, Less Than Zero warns that the only thing you might want to have in common with these characters is a drink (or more). By the time the book reaches its horrific conclusion, you’ll have reached the bottom of the bottle.
Unlike poor Anna, let’s hope that this Baby Daddy isn’t the reason for your untimely demise. Actually, let’s just say we hope a Baby Daddy is the only thing you and Anna have in common. Just remember that too much of a good thing is definitely, definitely a bad thing… especially if the ‘good’ thing is an extra-marital affair, in which case, it probably wasn’t that good of a thing to begin with.
The truth is that 1984 wasn’t that far off, and that would be a good punch line for a joke if it were a joke at all. Flying Dog’s concept behind this popular beer is unabashed capitalism: “Full Disclosure: This beer came to fruition because we saw a gap in our portfolio and we wanted to increase our market share. Sometimes the truth hurts. But most often, it’s damn refreshing.” Is this less a concept and more a statement of fact? Sure. But the idea of psychological manipulation and control is prevalent throughout 1984, making it an excellent pair. Also, this drink is as strong as you’ll want it to be.
“Sit down, son,” is possibly what The Road’s unnamed father said to his unnamed son as he explained that he would, potentially, one day shoot himself with one of the family’s two rounds of ammo to avoid being eaten by cannibals. Let’s hope that this experience (that of having a beer and knowing that you’ll never force anyone to strip naked at gunpoint) is much more enjoyable.
The Hobbit pairs perfectly with this fun, fruity ale, a comforting yet sweet taste to remind you of all your nostalgic feelings towards Tolkien’s beloved series. The beer also comes in an unusual color: a particularly vivid pink sure to remind you of summer days and the beautiful sweep of that New Zealand landscape. Hobbits pretty much live to chill with their friends, and why shouldn’t you? Crack one of these open and get (lit)erary. No one would stop you from adding some pipeweed.
Although Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas was released in the 1970s (so, before disco, you may note) it was actually written during the 1960s. The novel depicts an intense spiritual death, the end of the hippie zeitgeist and the senseless space between generations. While the novel contains little actual death, it’s filled with an annihilation of ideas, from hotel rooms to fast cars—American symbols broken open to reveal the ugliness inside. There was plenty of death after and during disco, too, but little of it has captured so vividly. I’ll drink to that.
Dragons! Just that name is insanely cool. The name dragon conjures images of huge beasts, filling the air with their mighty roars as they rain fire upon castles, do battle with knights, or kidnapping princesses. Dragons have filled our collective imaginations for a long time and their continued popularity means we’ll see many more iterations of these grand beasts continue to pop up. Below, we count down 5 of the best dragons to grace fantasy literature, from the big to the bigger.
Image Via The Verge.
1. Smaug: ‘The Hobbit’
One of the most famous dragons in literature and one who had a profound impact on dragon depictions going forward, Smaug from ‘The Hobbit‘ is a magnificent creation. A wicked creature, Smaug invaded the dwarven kingdom of Erebor, driving the native dwarves out and taking the mountain for himself. He resides in the stronghold for many years, until the events of the novel, where thirteen dwarves, Bilbo Baggins, and Gandalf venture to the mountain to plunder his treasure. Unfortunately, Bilbo’s stealing is noticed and enraged, Smaug emerges from his lair to attack the nearby village of Laketown. While laying siege to it, he is shot down by a man called Bard, who pierces his one weak point: a small patch in his jewel encrusted underbelly. Smaug is slain, allowing the dwarves to claim the treasure, but Smaug’s legacy lives on, both in the further novels of the Middle-Earth universe and in real life. As a fun fact, Smaug’s wealth is estimated to be 62 billion according to Forbes, making him the wealthiest fictional characters of all time.
Image Via Pottermore
2. Hungarian Horntail: ‘harry Potter’
Dragons play a minor but memorable role in the Harry Potteruniverse. For the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament in The Goblet of Firethe chosen students must steal a golden egg from a dragon’s nest. Harry goes up against the Hungarian Horntail, unfortunately for him as the Horntails are incredibly aggressive and ferocious. Harry, however, manages to outmaneuver the beast by calling in his trusty broomstick and snatches the egg from the creature’s nest. The dragon sequence was greatly expanded for the film adaptation, where the Horntail breaks loose and chases Harry across Hogwarts. In either case, the Horntail certainly made its mark as a memorable obstacle and beast.
Image Via Wikipedia
3. The Dragon: ‘Beowulf’
The final act of the epic Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf chronicles the titular character’s battle with a dragon. The dragon is awakened when a slave steals a jeweled cup from its lair and it begins terrorizing the countryside. Beowulf, now old, takes up arms nonetheless to fight the monster. Scaling to its lair, Beowulf’s men abandon him at the sight of the dragon, leaving only Beowulf’s companion Wiglaf with their master. Beowulf receives a mortal wound during the epic battle, but Wiglaf impales the dragon through the belly, weakening it, and Beowulf finishes it off by slicing off its head. The dragon receives no characterization but is a memorable role both killing Beowulf and being the earliest recorded instance of a dragons layer in English literature.
Image Via Game Thrones Wiki
4. Drogon, Viserion, Rhaegal: ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’
Dragons play a pivotal role in the Song of Ice and Fire universe, being almost akin to weapons of mass destruction. Raised by the Targaryens, dragons possess enough power to raise entire cities to the ground and House Targaryen used them to conquer the Seven Kingdoms. But when the House was overthrown, all the dragons were killed. However, Daenyrus Targaryen receives three petrified dragon eggs as a gift much later on, which she manages to hatch into three living dragons. Naming them Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegel, the dragons could grow into weapons Daenyrus could use to fulfill her destiny: to conquer the Seven Kingdoms as her ancestors once did. But it won’t be easy, as numerous people want the dragons for themselves and as they grow, the dragons are increasingly difficult to control.
Image Via Syfy.com
5. Falkor: ‘The Neverending story’
Falkor is a friendly luck dragon and friend to The Neverending Story’s protagonists, Atreyu and Bastian. He resembles a Chinese dragon crossed with a dog, being furry and elongated, a contrast to most other depictions of dragons throughout literature. True to his name, Falkor has incredible luck in everything he does, such as when he locates Atreyu in the midst of a raging storm against all odds. He provides assistance to the protagonists in the book, carrying them across the vast landscapes of Fantasia and offering them wisdom where he can. Falkor is lovable, much like a big dog, and becomes a beloved companion to readers and the fictional universe alike.
What dragons are some of your favorites? Tell us in the comments!