Weird and wonderful

Having had a hectic month joining in several bookish events (March Magics celebrating Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett, Dewithon and Begorrathon celebrating Wales and Ireland respectively in books) you’d think I would be putting my feet up. Well, so did I.

But that was before I saw this.

Wyrd & Wonder was first promoted last May by a “band of like-minded bloggers and book lovers devoted … to all things fantasy.” These three were Lisa, Jorie and Imyril who collectively headed out “in search of dragons, magic and Faerie” in a month-long celebration of the fantastic.

It’s happening again this year.

We want to hear about your love of epic fantasy, low fantasy, grimdark, urban fantasy, portal fantasy, magical realism, fairytales, mythology – you name it, if it’s fantasy, we’ll be talking about it.

Anyone can take part, at any time, with no strings attached to signing up, reading other blog posts, chatting, tackling photo prompts on Twitter or Instagram for example, or just writing blog posts.

They invite intending participants to sign up (no deadline set) to let them know who to expect, and to follow @wyrdandwonder on Twitter. In May the intention is to share links to everyone’s blog posts, to host Twitter chats and readalongs.

A master schedule allows you to start adding details of what you’ll be up to and, once May starts, to add links to posts in the schedule. For further details you can contact @wyrdandwonder on Twitter or email wyrdandwonder(at)

From all the above you’ll gather that I shall be joining in with this event reading and posting about suitable genre titles, though to what extent I don’t know — I rather overdid things in March with attempting three events! Does this appeal to you? There’s the rest of April to plan, but we’re already a week into the month…

Anyway, as an appetiser here is another view of a life size (?) dragon I spotted in a garden centre. And I’m off to research what, precisely, is grimdark.

I spotted this dragon at The Copper Kettle café and garden centre at the foot of the Skirrid (Ysgyryd Fawr) in Monmouthshire, Wales. When Rudolf Hess was a prisoner near here in the 1940s he was allowed to walk around the Skirrid for exercise.

24 thoughts on “Weird and wonderful

    1. Not my cup of tea either (nor hemlock!) but I may try to have a sniff at it! As I quite enjoy fantasy, and have a few titles in that genre clamouring for attention on my shelves, I suspect this will be no real imposition for me, in fact close to a normal month’s reading!


    2. April is not shaping up like I thought, because I am continuing with the Narnia series and Susan Cooper…no so-called classics are tempting me.

      Maybe because I need this? Wow. What timing. Probably won’t post, but I’ll sure explore. And will look forward to anything you share!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I sympathise, Laurie: I have stalled two-fifths of the way through Shirley (though still toddling through Harman’s bio of Charlotte Brontë) and can’t quite summon up the enthusiasm to continue at the moment. Maybe it’s Brexit, maybe it’s Trump too, but largely it’s because it’s bad news week every week that I’m seeking solace in fantasy, SF and contemporary fiction that’s not too grim. Perhaps it’s the same for you with Narnia and the Stantons and the Drews? 🙂


        1. I believe it is the same for me, Chris. I have had thoughts of this for a while and I believe, as Lory just posted, I may be taking my own “Spring Break.” There. I said it out loud!

          Three cheers for books and the multitude of genres that challenge, heal, are playful and restore us 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Weird and wonderful — Calmgrove – Earth Balm Creative

  2. Grimdark is in my experience only a very misleading label haphazardly put on things that do not resemble each other except in the most outward appearances 😂 Looking forward to reading about your research!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The more I read the more confused I get! Goodread’s interminable list of grimdark novels made me lose the will to live;’s list was a little more manageable but with few authors I recognised:

      I wonder if some graphic novels might suit the genre? I enjoyed Watchmen so have V for Vendetta and one of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen spin-offs. I also recently acquired the first eight issues of Gaiman’s Sandman. Any of these possibly count? I’d rather plunder from my own shelves than make a random choice. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To be consistent with the original spirit of the label, you’d probably need an epic fantasy setting; besides that, it’s an open season, so to speak 😛

        However, if I were to recommend you a book that is usually associated with grimdark (though I completely disagree with the label :P) I’d pick Glen Cook’s Black Company – both as a book and as a series. You might be pleasantly surprised, especially if you value war-related literature. Cook is a Vietnam vet, and a great writer. If you’re interested, the reviews for almost all the books of the series are at Re-Enchantment 😊

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m afraid grimdark generally entails a portrayal of human moral ambiguity within a broader frame of a brutal conflict – a war, a skirmish, a tribal conflict etc. Not sure if it helps, because each author has their own definition of grimdark, but Erikson’s take can be found here: and here:

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Busy busy busy.

    Which reminds me it’s time to reread Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. Very much a fantasy, but also perhaps borderline grimdark? I’ll check out the Wyrd & Wonder site, so thanks for the tip.

    Currently, however, I’m deep in the world of Gilbert & Sullivan. May move next to Bertie Wooster, Charles Pooter, et al. Ah, the comfort of Victorian and Edwardian comedy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll check out Cat’s Cradle, I’ve had it recommended a couple of times now and it may fit the category — if not, no harm done!

      I tend to go for fantasy rather than humour when current affairs get a bit grim (‘grimdark’?!) but right now we could do with some lightening of the mood. There have been some good sitcoms and comedy dramas on British TV recently that we’ve enjoyed (Fleabag and Derry Girls in particular) that have restored our faith in human nature a bit…

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’d also recommend the exquisite Fleabag if you like the breaking of the fourth wall: the near perfect Phoebe Waller-Bridge is both writer and star and, like John Cleese with Fawlty Towers, has chosen to do just two short series. It might be available on BBC America now or soon, and the second series will includes Andrew Scott (Moriarty in Sherlock) and a cameo by Kristen Scott-Thomas, that’s how classy it is.


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