Fantasy on the Ice

My dad doesn’t read fantasy fiction. Ever. The only fiction books he reads are crime novels, like those by John D. MacDonald. In fact, he only reads John D. MacDonald books. And only the ones with Travis McGee in them.

Because he loves me, he might make an exception for Valknut: The Binding. I’m not sure what he’ll make of it.

I can picture my dad and my brother sitting on frozen folding chairs, hunched over a hole in the ice, their fishing lines dangling in the barely liquid water. The conversation might go like this.

Brother:          So…what’s Marie’s book about?

Dad:                That magic stuff she likes.

Brother:          Fantasy?

Dad checks line. Peels off frozen, half-chewed, dead meal worm and puts on fresh bait.
Dad:                Eeeyup.

Brother:          Dwarves and Elves, then.

Dad:                Nope.

Brother:          Swords and sorcery?

Dad:                Nope. Trains.

Brother:          Oh. Steampunk?

Dad’s eyebrows go up. He gives brother hard look. 
Dad:                What did you call me?

Brother, patiently:     Steampunk—magic mixed with Victorian age technology.

Dad, relaxing:            Oh. Nope. Modern.

Brother:          Like Twilight?

Dad:                Nope. Mostly takes place in the middle of the night.

Brother blinks.
Brother:          Any vampires, werewolves, or maybe succubae?

Dad glares:     Watch your language.

Brother:          Sorry.

Dad (mollified):         No vampires. Norse gods.
Tip-up pops up. Dad’s got a fish on. Tugs on line.

Brother:          Right. Urban Fantasy. Gotchya.

Dad:                Whatever.
Dad reaches bare hand into only slightly liquid water and pulls up two-pound crappie stuck in the semi-frozen hole. De-hooks and throws fish back in water. Too small.

Actually, this conversation could never happen. Neither of my brothers could get much past “fantasy.” And my dad is not inclined to say, “whatever.” (But they really do talk like that while ice fishing. Don’t want to scare the fish with too many words.)


If you are interested, Wicked & Tricksy hosted my guest blog, “Conquering the Evil Was,” back on January 13.

About Marie Loughin

I love reading, writing, and editing speculative fiction of all sorts. My current focus is on writing contemporary fantasy, where I get to play god with characters from myth and legend. My Norse-based urban fantasy, Valknut: The Binding, is available at Kindle Books and other e-book retailers. You can find me at my blog ( and on Twitter (@mmloughin).
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17 Responses to Fantasy on the Ice

  1. LOL, I can’t even get my hubby to read my books, never mind my father. 🙂

    • Dad hasn’t read it , yet. I may have to load it on his iPad for him to eliminate excuses 😉 Mom’s a tougher sell. She’s waiting for the print version.

  2. Haha, love this exchange. Your dad sounds great. Of course, it also makes me thankful that my parents read my book, even if they didn’t fully get it.

  3. Jaye says:

    Families. Gotta love ’em.
    Thanks for the laugh, Marie. Good one.

  4. Paul D. Dail says:

    I consider myself fortunate that my mom was actually the one to hand off Stephen King to me when I was young. She was also an English major, so not only a beta reader but an editor 🙂 My dad is also a fan of the genre.

    But this is a funny conversation. Even being fans, it’s still a little weird to be talking about the demon in my book with my parents.

    Paul D. Dail A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

  5. Yes, it’s best to let them pretend that someone else wrote it while they’re reading.

  6. I kept trying to figure out which brother it was. Then I realized it would have to be the younger of the two since I can’t picture your oldest brother sitting still out in the cold for that long, fish or no fish. 🙂 unless he’s changed. 😉

  7. My Dad was one of the first readers for my book and has been very supportive throughout this entire writing/publishing venture. My Mom reads happy books, not horror. She has watched the book trailer my sister and I made, though, and says now she thinks she might give Stolen Climates a try. And, Paul, yes – it is a little bizarre to talk about things from the book with a parent!

  8. Miss Agnes says:

    Hi Marie,
    Your Dad might enjoy joining our Facebook group – Lovers of All Things Florida and Travis McGee. We’ll be watching for him.
    Miss Angnes.

  9. Thanks for the laugh. My mom at 93 wants to read all my manuscripts – printed out and mailed to her using a large font, an expensive propostion. For sf&f she says, “Your writing is wonderful, but I really didn’t get all that space and/or magic stuff.” For romance it’s “Your writing is wonderful, but do people really do those things?” Oh, well, the first 4 words are the important ones…


    • Yeah, my mom said, “I think your book would be really great if you left out all that supernatural stuff.” But at least she does think I write well 🙂

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