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Some Favorites: Part 2

Posted: June 5, 2023

Today, I'd like to share more books, games, movies and music that helped shape my writing one way or another over the years. The first post in this series was surprisingly popular and I want to thank all those who took a moment to connect. I am always on the lookout for new favorites, so this second entry should not come as a surprise. It took me a while to put this list together, but it's a lot of fun and you can expect more in the future.

Once again, feel free to send me your thoughts and own recommendations! You can reach me by entering a comment below this post or by replying to the email you received (if you are subscribed to the Red Dragon Insider; if not, you can subscribe here to get notified of posts like this one directly in your inbox).

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission if you decide to purchase by following one of those links. It doesn't affect the price in any way and earnings collected all go toward my upcoming books.)

Some Books

So many books are special to me, either because they are an inspiration or because they played a role in my ever growing love for fantasy and science fiction.

If you want to follow what I'm reading day-by-day, don't hesitate to follow me on Goodreads. I keep track of every book I read on there.

A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay

Guy Gavriel Kay often sets his fantasy settings with a real historical period and many of his stories unfold seamlessly and poetically. My friend Gaetan (who is also my alpha reader) introduced me to Kay many, many years ago, and of all his books, A Song for Arbonne remains my favorite.

[ Get it on Amazon ]

Contact by Carl Sagan Contact by Carl Sagan

When asked the question "If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?", my answer is always Carl Sagan. His passion for science is infectious and his ability to explain complex matters in simple terms, and keep you interested, is unequalled. Contact is his only work of fiction, and it is as good, intelligent and grounded, as you would expect from someone like Carl Sagan.

[ Get it on Amazon ]

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is not only a magical and intriguing story, but also a work of art. The blend of text and illustrations makes for a very unique experience. Also, the movie directed by Martin Scorsese, is just as good.

[ Get it on Amazon ]

Old Man's War by John Scalzi Old Man's War by John Scalzi

John Scalzi said that Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers was a huge influence when writing Old Man's War and it is easy to see why. If you liked one, you'll most likely like the other. Still, this is such a great read that it's worth checking, no matter if you are a fan of Starship Troopers or not.

[ Get it on Amazon ]

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

If you like long epic fantasy tales, you need to read The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. It is the first of the Stormlight Archive (there are currently four books published in the series).

[ Get it on Amazon ]

The Winter Warriors by David Gemmell The Winter Warriors by David Gemmell

I discovered David Gemmell more than 20 years ago and Winter Warriors was the first of his books that I read. A standalone, it is a masterfully told story about three ageing heroes and their quest to protect an unborn king. I re-read it not long ago, and I can say that it remains my favorite Gemmell's book.

[ Get it on Amazon ]

Some Movies

Over the past few years, we have been bombarded with many new fantasy and science fiction movies and shows. It is so amazing to see the genre expand to the screen this way (finally, right!?). Even though I haven't been able to keep up with the movement, it is exciting nonetheless and I hope it continues.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014) Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow is simply a good science fiction movie. It's smart, well done, a lot of fun, and has some pretty wicked aliens.

[ Get it on Amazon ]

The Return of the King (The Lord of the Ring) (2003) The Return of the King (The Lord of the Ring Trilogy) (2003)

Although the first movie in the series is my favorite, I have to mention The Return of the King here. It is the third and last instalment in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and one of most powerful conclusions that I have ever seen, in any medium. The movie is a masterpiece on its own and the characters will haunt you for days.

[ Get it on Amazon ]

The Wheel of Time (Season 1) (2021) The Wheel of Time (Season 1) (2021)

I recently got the chance to watch The Wheel of Time' (Season 1) and I was blown away. I couldn't stop watching it. I enjoyed/enjoy the books (I'm currently on book #5) and the TV series builds on the books beautifully. Some fans may not like some of the changes, but for me, the show helped me appreciate the world and story. Rosamund Pike and Daniel Henney are both amazing in their respective roles and I can't wait for the next season to come out!

[ Get it on Amazon ]

Some Games

If only they didn't make video games so long nowadays! Some are basically endless, allowing you to play hundreds of hours and never run out of things to do. With my current lifestyle, that puts many games out of my reach, which is too bad, because games remains an amazing source of inspiration and one of my favorite hobbies.

Call of Cthulhu Call of Cthulhu

I decided to try this game to stir some ideas for my stories taking place in The Annihilatio Zodiac (see my story Fog if interested), which is loosely inspired by H. P. Lovecraft's stories, as well as a few other sources. It was surprisingly good and had by far the scariest monster I've ever come across in any game... I was literally shaking in my chair...

Final Fantasy Tactics Final Fantasy Tactics

As far as games with complex and compelling stories go, there is nothing like Final Fantasy Tactics. Although the system and gameplay are terribly addictive, it is the story that really makes this game the gem that it is.

Icewind Dale Icewind Dale

Icewind Dale was recommended to me earlier this year by Sara, one of my readers, after she read the first post in this series. I just recently completed it and it was absolutely great. Where Baldur's Gate concentrates on story, Icewind Dale focuses on the dungeons. Thanks Sara!

Some Music

Music has followed me through everything over the years. I always made a point to listen to music when drawing, planning role-playing game sessions, developing my imaginary worlds like Arvelas, and now while writing. Here are some of my favorite albums for your consideration:

The Fountain Soundtrack (Music by Clint Mansell) The Fountain Soundtrack (Music by Clint Mansell)

The Fountain is a unique and beautiful movie, more art than entertainment, with a mesmerizing soundtrack. Honestly, if you get a chance to watch it, turn off the lights and crank up the volume. The soundtrack alone is worth the watch.

Finding the right music when writing can be a long endeavour in itself. For The Stranger of Ul Darak, which I started back in 2003, I wasn't able to find the right music until 2017. The sound and ambiance created by The Fountain soundtrack match to perfection the strangeness and uniqueness of the world of Tyronia, where Stranger takes place. I also listened to this soundtrack while writing Erasing, my short story for the anthology Spring Paths, which also takes place in Tyronia. Chances are that I'll listen to it much more as I progress through The Lost Tyronian Archives series.

[ Get it on Amazon ]

The Extremist by Joe Satriani The Extremist by Joe Satriani

If you like good guitar, this is the album for you. It is an amazing instrumental collection by one of the best guitarists out there. Every year, with the coming of Summer, I find myself putting down the car windows and blasting Summer Song. War, Motorcycle Driver, The Extremist, and Rubina's Blue Sky Happiness are also amazing pieces.

[ Get it on Amazon ]

Winterheart's Guild by Sonata Arctica Winterheart's Guild by Sonata Arctica

Sonata Arctica is the band I have seen perform the most often, mostly in Montreal. They give a hell of a good show and have a unique sound that stands out in the realm of metal (one could say it's not as heavy as other bands of the genre). This album brings some fantasy vibes, and I often find myself listening to Broken and Gravenimage when looking for inspiration.

[ Get it on Amazon ]


That's all folks! It's a long list, but it could have been much longer, believe me. I hope you've found something to your liking.

Have a great day!

Keywords:  Favorites , Inspiration , Life , Reading


Also in the Series: Some Favorites

  1. Some Favorites: Part 1 (April 15, 2023)
  2. Some Favorites: Part 2 (June 5, 2023)

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