Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Football Woes

It’s almost November. My Purdue Boilermakers have a dismal 2-6 record. My Indianapolis Colts are 3-4. What’s going on with these teams?

The standards have been set by each team in recent years: Purdue goes to bowl games (including the Rose Bowl once), and the Colts go to the post-season (winning the Super Bowl once). I don’t know what to think when I have little to cheer about. True, the Colts are still early in their season, so I have hopes for them to turn around, but I like it when both teams are powering through their seasons.

Rather than speculate and analyze all the intricacies of these two programs, I thought I’d share why I like football, even during the bad seasons. There are one hundred yards of ground (not including the end zones) that is essentially a battlefield. Each team is trying to move towards their own goal, and the only way to do so is to go through the opposing team. It takes strategy and skill, and there are usually captains and heroes that lead the way.

It’s a physical game; men are knocking other men to the earth. I especially love the plays where it takes three or four guys just to pull one man to his knees, but not until that man has charged several yards forward. I don’t care which team that man is on; I feel like saluting him.

Then there are the passing plays. Receivers cut through to the open and catch the ball in amazing ways. Quarterbacks target men even if they’re surrounded, drilling the ball forward like a weapon.

In a lot of ways, I feel like I’m watching an ancient war. It’s powerful. It’s invigorating. That’s football to me.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

I recently came across a new fantasy magazine named Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews. Paying pro rates, this online magazine that is free to the public seeks to publish great stories of “literary adventure fantasy.” Along with the stories and artwork available at the BCS site, there is a public forum for discussions and comments on the magazine, fantasy or other topics.

Fantasy readers should be thrilled with a magazine that’s publishing free content, especially when the stories are as strong as the ones I’ve read so far. Since this is adventure fantasy, my guess is that those who like stories in Black Gate will probably like stories in BCS.

Fantasy writers should be thrilled with this magazine because this is another pro-paying market (a nickel a word) where we can peddle our wares. I’ve subbed two stories to them so far, and they responded to each one within a few weeks. Not only are they quick on the draw, but the editors give personal feedback. This combination strikes me as some kind of paradox; perhaps Mr. Andrews has discovered a fold in the space-time continuum that gives him more than twenty-four hours in a day.

The first issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies debuted on October 9 with works by Chris Willrich and David D. Levine. Willrich’s story, “The Sword of Loving Kindness” (part 1), continues the saga of Guant and Bone, a pair of thieves whose tales have appeared in several magazines, including Fantasy & Science Fiction. The fantasy details in this tale were very rich, and the pacing was terrific.

“Sun Magic, Earth Magic,” by Levine is a tale about Shira, the Sun Sorceress, whose service to the Empire takes her into cold mountains populated by a rough group of people who still worship the Earth. I like the protagonist in this piece, especially as she discovers the limit of her powers.

This is a magazine that I recommend so highly that I will actually add a new link on my page for it. It is a trivial honor for BCS, I’m sure, but it’s the best I can do.