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Memory of Light Backpack Sweepstakes

Memory of Light Backpack Sweepstakes

Memory of Light Backpack Sweepstakes

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We are offering the chance to win one of five Memory of Light backpacks! Each backpack will include a copy of Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson, Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, Imager by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., Farlander by Col Buchanan, The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe, Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear, and Shadow and Betrayal by Daniel Abraham.

And you’ll get this A Memory of Light iPhone cover too:

WoT iPhone cover

Comment below to enter for a chance to win.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C. to enter. Promotion begins January 7, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. ET. and ends January 11, 2013, 12:00 p.m. ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules go here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

Memory of Light Backpack Sweepstakes

Memory of Light Backpack Sweepstakes

Memory of Light Backpack Sweepstakes

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We are offering the chance to win one of five Memory of Light backpacks! Each backpack will include a copy of Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson, Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, Farlander by Col Buchanan, Firebird by Mercedes Lackey, Spellwright by Blake Charlton, and The Legions of Fire by David Drake. Comment below to enter for a chance to win.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C. to enter. Promotion begins October 22, 2012 at 10 a.m. ET. and ends October 26, 2012, 12:00 p.m. ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules go here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

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The Wildness of My Head

The Wildness of My Head

Tor/Forge Blog

Stands a Shadow by Col Buchanan

Written by Col Buchanan

Like many lunatics, I enjoy time in the wilderness both physically and metaphorically. Without crowds of people around me I can relax and go at my own pace. By myself, I can appreciate what I’m doing and take things in fully, without that scratchy self-consciousness that follows the formerly shy for the rest of their lives. Alone, I can really be there and be me.

I guess the hard truth is that I enjoy my own company more than I do that of others. That may sound harsh to some, and in case as a fellow human being you’re somehow offended by that statement, or if you’re a friend who has just stumbled across it (though I’m sure you must be well aware of my condition by now) – I do love good company, I do love your good company, I just seem to need a whole lot less of it than most other people do. Enough to keep myself away from that great hairy madness sometimes glimpsed when pseudo-solitary living is taken too far – madman in the hills time – but that’s about all. A dose of sociality here and there. For the rest of the time I have my wife and my writing to keep me balanced, the great spirit-levels of my life.

Writers of course have always tended to be people who enjoy their own company. For these types, writing is nowhere near the lonely occupation that others might imagine it to be. The writer who sweats it out alone for hours and days and months on end – that person is committed to a solo adventure indeed, a very real one, with no help to be had and everything to be gained. In the worst of times they’re drowning in the struggle of it all, and in the best of times they’re flying and in love with every moment. Yet either way loneliness never comes into it.

Reverse the perspective. You are hardly lonely when you sit by yourself reading a book, at least not a good book. With a good book, particularly a good SF or fantasy book, you wholly lose yourself in that world and that story and the lives of the characters, and when you set it down you have a strong sense that you were transported somewhere else, somewhere other. You feel that you have left people behind whom you have grown to know, even though they are only the imaginings of the author, who has largely slipped from your mind. Maybe your blood has been stirred a little. Thoughts sparkle. Certainly you were not lonely.

This is the flipside, the one that I aim for when I write. The experience of the story, not just the black and white reflection of the words. A world of people that breathes when engaged with. It’s what I aimed for with Farlander and the sequel Stands A Shadow. If you happen to pick either one of those books to read, I hope you will find that I succeeded.

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From the Tor/Forge August newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.

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More from the August Tor/Forge newsletter:

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Why Escape?

Why Escape?

Poster Placeholder of - 15By Col Buchanan

Escapism is bad for you. It’s unhealthy and immature and leads to a lack of bathing.

I’m fairly certain you’ve come across this particular sentiment before, maybe not the bathing part, but the rest of it. Hell, maybe even the bathing part too. People who hold this viewpoint tend to look poorly upon the imagined realms of fantasy and SF—and even more so in regards to their fans. Yes—because we’d rather poke a stick at the human condition from the vantage of Mars or Westeros than from the kitchen sink, because we like to cast our imaginations as far as we can, because we like to go wow along the way, we’re all somehow squandering our precious time on this Earth.

My response to this is usually to acknowledge the most obvious point first—that it’s a lot of fun losing yourself for a while in a fantasy setting. Yet escapism, for me, means a great deal more than this. In truth, we don’t always find ourselves in circumstances of our own making. And trying to escape from bad circumstances, whether inwardly or outwardly, is a perfectly human reaction.

I’m speaking of course from personal experience here.

I grew up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Dyslexic. Fairly lonely. One of those quiet kids who looks out at the world with something bordering on disbelief. My school years were an incarceration that I couldn’t wait to be free from. Home life was the same. Circumstances I could either physically run away from or find some way to bear.

Thankfully I found fantasy and science fiction at an early age. Or they found me, as it sometimes seems with these things. And they were a serious gift back then—these stories that allowed me to escape into a different world than my own. While brothers took to drinking alcohol on the streets, I locked myself in my room and read of imagined places, and when that wasn’t enough, invented and wrote of them too. I was like Sebastian in The Neverending Story. Same hair too.

Since then, this passion for escapism has been a constant theme throughout my life. And it really has been a life-saver. No matter how bad life may have been at times, the load has always been lightened by these temporary escapes of the mind. The result has been Farlander—my grown-up take on the fantasy adventure stories that thrilled me so much as a youth. For several years now I’ve been living part-time in the Heart of the World, the setting for the book, and having great fun sending my protagonists head-long through this fantasy landscape.

The fun, however—it has to be said—has been tempered by my real-life experiences of growing up under those earlier conditions that I mentioned. The escapism of youth was a necessity for many reasons, and they’ve shaped Farlander as much as its fantasy nature has. My empathy is strong for those who live under conditions they want to, but cannot, escape from. So I write always with an eye cast towards those circumstances in this world, our common world—which is why the Heart of the World is in many ways an echo of our real world, our history and our future. This is also why I’m interested in the dynamics of power and liberty; of oppressive ideologies; of what it is to live a free life, what constraints always face us. And it’s why I write about the destitute, the exiled, the enslaved, and the soon-to-be enslaved, as much as I write about the Beggar Kings, the Caliphs, and the monstrously wealthy.

From my own standing, there’s no better way of exploring the issues of liberty than through the release of escapism—a medium that was, for me, a means of breaking out of a cage not of my own making. And in truth that has remained the underlying reason for my love for fantasy and SF to this day. The celebration of freedom they both entail.

In the much more elegant words of JRR Tolkien:

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape? … If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”

Col Buchanan’s debut novel, Farlander (ISBN: 978-0-7653-3105-2 / ISBN10: 0-7653-3105-5 / $24.99), will be available in January 2010 from Tor Books.

From the Tor January 2011 newsletter.

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