War of Kings is a blog dedicated to my favourite comic books, books, games and movies.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

War Correspondence: Retracing the Steps

Today's post is about me, and what I have been up to recently. Because, if I am starved of my comics, I must turn elsewhere for entertainment, right? And I couldn’t go to Yu-Gi-Oh, as I have stopped playing it since the contract for Europe and the USA (and cause we get our stuff from one of those two places, South Africa) was ripped away from Upper Deck Entertainment. That is not the only reason I stopped playing, but it is a big part of it. Sure, if one of my friends pops over with a deck, I'll play against them, but I'm not buying any more cards. But despite all my good intentions, the universe wasn't going to let me escape from card games. Oh no.

About halfway through last year I bought (on impulse) the Duel Decks:Elves vs Goblins set from Magic: the Gathering. Unfortunately, I discovered that it was not beginner-friendly. And I couldn't pop around to the nearest Friday Night Magic event, because we don't have that in South Africa. And besides, I help out with Junior Youth at the church on Fridays (that is relavent, as you will see later). So the elves and goblins sat in my cupboard for a couple of months.

On my last visit to the Stable's Market, former home of Kick Ass Komix, I found an old tattered copy of a book calle Saviours of Kamigawa. It had fox-people in it. At one stage, the main character in the book I am writing, was a were-fox. So I bought the book for R10, mainly for research purposes, as I knew little about Japanese mythical fox-people, or how they are portrayed in modern fantasy novels. I then discovered that it was a novel set in the world (or rather, multiverse) of Magic: the Gathering. Imagine my surprise. They wrote books set in the worlds the cards came from? The books were good?

I had looked at the cards that I had bought, of course, and couldn't help noticing that many of the elves had horns (pretty deer or antler horns, that is, rather than the other kind). I eventually discovered that many of the elf cards came from a world called Lorwyn, based on Welsh Mythology. I also discovered that there were books about Lorwyn. So I ordered them from the nearest bookshop. After all, if I was stealing so extensively from Welsh mythology for my book, surely I would find these books useful. After all, I'm already stealing ideas from many other books I've read. (Though, hopefully, I'm doing it in a way that won't have people suing me.)

And then one of the other guys who helps at Junior Youth rocked up wearing a Lorwyn T-Shirt. I discovered he was a judge, and suddenly I've found myself meeting at Westville Library every Saturday to play Magic with a group of other guys (including guys I knew from the comic shop). And I'm actually enjoying it, so much so that I'm waiting eagerly for the novel Alara Unbroken (by Doug Beyer) to be published.

Apparently, some people play Magic to win. Others play it for many different reasons. Me, I like the stories. I've always been addicted to stories with a sci-fi or fantasy bent. I now read and enjoy Doug Beyer's weekly column about the stories of Magic (and how fantasy stories are written in general) . I even wrote him an e-mail in which I disagreed with him on how one of the lesser game mechanics (called retrace) should be seen. I knew it was presumptuous of me, having only played the game for a short time, and expected either no reply, or one explaining how I was wrong. So, imagine may surprise again, when he published the entire (rather lengthy) email in its entirety at the end of his column this week, and said he enjoyed it. So I'm gonna do a shameless self-plug and provide the link to it here.

So where to from here? I'll try to do a Quartermaster with the rest of Marvel's solicits soon. If I have time, I'd like to post some reviews of a number of novels I've read recently (I haven't only been playing and reading Magic). And I shall reveal a bit of stuff about my book. In fact, I shall go write something about why elven knights ride cats. I do not know if anyone cares, but I shall do it anyway.

1 comment:

  1. I used to play Magic a lot when I was in high school. I never joined a tournament or anything, just between my friends.