Wednesday, January 10, 2018

My father and I just started Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

My father and I just started Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, book #1 of her Howl Series.

We have never watched the movie, but are ready for another Jones roller-coaster ride of total surprises. After Tolkien, she is the best the Mistress of the Multiverse and Lady of Endless Surprises.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

My father and I just finished Wizard's Hall by Jane Yolen

My father and I just finished Wizard's Hall by Jane Yolen.

OK, so the book is short...yet not a page is not packed with plot and it appears that we owe the Harry Potter series to it; indeed, it is almost like an outline to Rowling's grand work. Still, a charming little read and full of heart to say nothing of a surprisingly unique and intense climax, it was most enjoyable. A speck of gold is no less chemically pure as a bar, after all.

Try hard and fare well to Henry/Thornmallow, Will, Tansy, Gorse, and Magisters Hickory, Briar Rose, & Dr. Morning Glory. Wizard's Hall is safe again not due to Punctuality, Practicality, and Personality, but rather perseverance.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Artist vs. the Art

Normally I do not post articles written by others, but this speaks to a broader and critical issue and so an exception will be made.
The issue/question: What do you do when an artist you love turns out not to be the person you thought they were?

The this case the artist is Marion Zimmer Bradley, author of the widely viewed Fantasy classic The Mists of Avalon. To start, I have never read the book, but goodness knows I have heard it – indeed, from middle to high school it was a constant part of the conversation; a by all accounts stellar work that retold the Arthurian legends from the point of view of the women. Now I love King Arthur and most of my Fantasies have female protagonists, so it must be understood that the only reason I did not pick it up was because it erred a little far on the romantic side for my taste.

I digress, though. The relevant (and linked) article The Book That Made Me a Feminist Was Written by an Abuser – details a struggle we all go through at least some point: What do you do when an artist you love turns out not to be the person you thought they were?
In this case, in 2014, Moira Greyland, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s daughter, told the world that her mother had sexually abused her and many other children for more than a decade. The author of a judged masterwork that empowered women guilty of one of humanity's most heinous crimes. 

The article tells how one fan dealt with it. But, for myself, I can only use this as an opportunity to state what I have done in similar circumstances. In short, I strongly believe in separating the artist from the art. For if the measure of greatness is creating something with a life of its own, so a truly great book should be able stand on its own and apart from the author. A conclusion which the writer of the above article eventually came to as well: "So I can keep Morgaine [the main protagonist] — what she has meant to me, what she has become in my personal mythology — while I reject Bradley."

Sadly and at the day's end, if we go through history and disown the art and literature it has gifted us with because the artists were flawed or dishonorable, we will be left with very little. So it comes to the choice of which is more important to us, the artist or the art. I chose the thing which will endure long after the artist's bones have turned to dust: the art.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

My father and I just finished Kingfisher by Patricia A. McKillip

My father and I just finished Kingfisher by Patricia A. McKillip.

Once again McKillip proves that she ranks alongside J.K. Rowling and Diana Wynne Jones and even Tolkien himself. She has written Gilgameshian, Shakespearean, and Fairy Tale epics. This was Arthurian. 
A crazy and unprecedented blend of medieval and modernity very seldom do questing knights ride limos and text each other with a powerful splash of Celtic myth. Camelot is nice, but I'll take Severluna, capital of Wyvernhold and realm of King Arden Wyvernbourne, any day. Acknowledging that you never know when depraved chefs out of demented fairy tales might steal sacred artifacts and ruin your taste-buds.

Peace and tasteful dinners to Pierce Oliver & Val & Leith & Heloise, Carrie and that old wolf Merle, Prince Daimon and Dame Scotia Malory, Hal and Tye of Kingfisher, Princess Perdita, and the fay ones of Ravenhold.

New Year's Eve

As 2017 rolls away I think it is only fitting to look back on this year's accomplishments:

  • Dragonworld by Byron Preiss and Michael Reaves
  • The Opening of the World series by Harry Turtledove
  • Sherwood Smith's The Crown & Court Duet
  • The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  • The Tower at Stony Wood by Patricia A. McKillip
  • Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer
  • The Battle of Hackham Heath by John Flanagan, book #2 of his Ranger's Apprentice: The Early Years series
  • The Colors of Madeleine series by Jaclyn Moriarty
  • Goldenhand by Garth Nix, sequel and final book of the classic Abhorsen Series
  • The Taste of Lightning by Kate Constable, sequel-companion novel of her Chanters of Tremaris trilogy
  • The Elenium series by David Eddings
  • The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell
  • Tales of the Bard series by that master of myth named Michael Scott
  • Kingfisher by Patricia A. McKillip (I add this assuming that Dad and I will finish it tonight)
(Also and on a side note, I can finally say that I have been a Magic: The Gathering player for a full year)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017

Just started The Book of Dust

This is a Life Event. One I have been waiting for for approximately 10 years 😍

The Book of Dust was like a myth, like a fabled mist-shrouded castle one endless walks towards yet never reaches nor even sees clearly. For over a decade nearly all we heard was that Philip Pullman was "working on it," this message updated/rephrased every few years or so.

Only now it will be a series (Yay!!!), companion to His Dark Materials, and I can at long last say that I have started La Belle Sauvage, Volume #1 of The Book of Dust trilogy by Philip Pullman.

Lyra may be only a baby, but I am looking forward to seeing her and making a new friend in Malcolm with all my heart.