This week, Supergirl again.
Supergirl: I've been a journey through human philosophy lately, mostly to get back into Superman's good books after the Halloween thing (though I'm still not sure how I was supposed to know there's one day set aside where I'm not supposed to punch General Zod when I spot him in the act of strolling down Main Street). First I read Zeno. He said that people should keep control over their emotions, so I settled the disputes in North Dakota. Like, all of them, and I didn't punch anybody. And Superman was really pleased and said I was learning restraint. Next I read Confucius, and he said that it's not enough to be nice, you have to do nice things too. So I mended 100 miles of fence, delivered 482 birthday presents that wouldn't have gotten there on time, and rescued 83 cats from trees. Superman got me cake.
Then I tried to read Ayn Rand ... Read More
This week, Supergirl again.
This week, Corum Jhaelen Irsei gives us an account of a most troubling nature (honestly, Mr. Moorcock... this plot was just silly).
Corum: It has been a most eventful fortnight. I learnt, to my grief, that my entire race has been slain. I alone stand between the ancient kindred called Vadhagh and extinction, and I... what exemplar am I? There is naught left to see of my departed people but a maimed and forlorn wanderer, bereft of home and succour, adrift on the vagaries of Fate. Yesterday, those vagaries bore me to a fortress of men, Moidel's Castle. Its ruler is Margravine Rhalina, a kindly woman of the younger race and now my sole friend in all the world. It gives me hope to think that disinterested compassion may spring from the hearts of these humans. Perhaps I am not so alone.
Later -- I was drugged at dinner and passed out. I awoke in my hostess'... Read More
This week, a big thanks goes out to Marion, for finding this truly spine-chilling tale from Mina Murray...
Mina: From the Journal of Mina Murray:
I grow worried about my dear friend Lucy. Late the other night I heard a door slam. I went to my window and beheld Lucy in the moonlight, clutching a paper-wrapped package to her bosom. In the light of the nearly full moon I could clearly see that the package held three books. For my friend to read one book would be a marvel; to read three would be a seven-days’ wonder. When I went to her room the next morning, I could find no sign of the tomes. At breakfast, Lucy munched on a kipper and asked, in a dreamy way, if Count Dracula “sparkled in the sunlight.” I reminded her that sunlight was anathema to that fiend. Later, she wondered aloud if Dracula could be persuaded to vegetarianism, a word I had never heard before. But this is not the most s... Read More
This week, Drizzt again, because it's just too easy to make fun of the poor fellow.
Drizzt: This week I attended the theater, taking my dear Catti-Brie along to witness the glories of a fine drama well-performed. I was obliged to inform her, however, that this particular production of The Dwarves of Dwarrowdulf (which is not Dwarrowdelf However Much it Sounds Like It) was missing its finest cast member, a fine dwarf named Reborin who was slain in a goblin assault two years beforehand. It was a great shame, and while the play continued to entertain, its brilliance was stifled without its leading man.
Then Catti-Brie pointed out Reborin's name on the program. Apparently he survived the goblin assault by a mixture of divine intervention, excellent table manners, and his lucky deck of playing cards. And after I had spent all night lamenting his demise! Mortifying. Why do ... Read More
This week, Frodo.
Frodo: This week, for lack of anything else to read, I've been perusing a guidebook Boromir's been trying to push off on me since Moria, Trails to Take When Hiking Alone, All Alone. It's absolutely appalling, with no real research or evidence and full to brimming with dubious advice like "when in doubt or in an area the guidebook doesn't cover, just keep taking the right-hand fork." Also, the scribing is very poorly done. On the whole, it's obviously a rush job, haphazard and ill-conceived, but Boromir seemed so keen that I should read it, so I'm stuck with it now. I have a gloomy suspicion that he wrote it himself -- apparently he's big into hiking, as he keeps offering to go together -- and I'll probably have to pretend I enjoyed it when I give it back.
Alix Read More
Starless Night by R.A. Salvatore
While reading THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT series, I’ve developed the grim suspicion that every time R.A. Salvatore looks at his characters and thinks “time for some development, lads and lasses,” he immediately starts trying to shoehorn in an adventure to go along with it. Apparently one simply cannot have development through conversation or work or leisure or for that matter anything else that does not involve leaping off the hunched shoulders of your barbarian friend to stab an ogre in the face. Granted, maybe it’s just that I’ve read a lot of these novels in quick succession by now and my patience is starting to fizzle a bit, but I do feel on occasion that whenever Salvatore decides to do some character work, there ends up being this substandard, breezy little quest that doesn’t really go anywhere or do anything except give the characters the opportunity to think about Important Issues. This is of cours... Read More
This week, big thank you to Marion for digging through the archives and uncovering this journal entry from "Jane" Wells, the second wife of that one fellow who wrote that thing about time travel or something.
Jane Wells: FROM THE JOURNAL OF AMY CATHERINE “JANE” WELLS: My husband George, known as “H.G.” took me in his time machine. We found ourselves about a century hence, in a quaint location called a “shopping mall.” I found a cart selling jellied bean-shaped candies in various colors and there we met two pleasant young women, Daphne and Velma, who, it emerged, were also time travelers, although inadvertently, having been swept through some kind of iris or portal. Velma in particular was a learned young woman and we engaged in a lively conversation. Daphne mentioned the peculiar cold mist that swept in about us, but by the time George and I noticed it, we were surrounded by five ... Read More
This week, Tarzan.
Tarzan: This week I perused Milton's Paradise Lost, as well as several books of English criticism. I have learnt that my life may be a Robinsonade, but also may not be. Very confusing. Nonetheless, fascinating. My reading has become ever more eclectic since I succeeded in teaching myself to read several months ago. I often write now, when the mood takes me. Still, I yearn for speech such as is written of in my books. Yet I can find no way of moving from written to verbal communication or vice versa.
Except writing out my name phonetically. That's different. For some reason.
Alix: Well, last week I gave up on The Magician King until I’m in a more tolerant mood. I switched to Read More
Bill was fooling around with timecapsules and found this update from Hari Seldon:
Hari Seldon: I am Hari Seldon. No, no need to rise. I am, after all, not really here. By now, you have passed through several of the crises I predicted via psychohistory. According to my calculations, you have survived the barren wasteland of literacy, when the youth of your society did not read for pleasure, a wasteland they were led out of, I’m pleased to note (with 86% certainty), by a namesake of mine, although it is 98% likely he spells his version of “Hari” differently. You weathered the popularization of bad vampire fan fiction, avoided the possibility of a sequel to Battlefield Earth, saw fantasy fiction rise to be the dominant force of entertainment in the world. More recently according to the inevitable math of psychohistory, you celebrated the conclusion of the Game of Thrones Read More
Marion was playing around with The Wayback Machine and managed to unearth this historic Facebook posting from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, during her University of California at Sunnydale years:
Buffy: So I’m all, “Well, it’ll probably be attracted to food, so we need to check the cafeteria and the student union” and Giles is cleaning his glasses and he’s all, “I believe the campus is in no danger from the, er, giant cockroach.” And Willow is like, “It’s a Cuffka. It’s a book,” and I’m all, “Well, does the book say how to kill it?” And she’s all, “It’s a book, for Comparative Lit. Kafka’s Metamorphosis.” Honestly, I’m sooooo academically challenged!
Bill: Amongst the 80 or so college essays, this week I managed to sneak in The Last Dark by Read More
The Legacy by R.A. Salvatore
As I’ve been doing these reviews, I’ve tried to point out a few things about THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT series. First, these books are fun, diverting, and lively. Second, they’re… uh… not very good. Now when I say “good,” I am of course referring to the Literary definition of good (that’s Literature with the capital L, Literature the genre, that I’m discussing now). It’s problematic in a number of ways that one genre has set the standard for what constitutes “good” writing, but that’s just where things are right now, and like it or not it’s about the closest thing to an objective measuring stick that we have. There are things Literature likes: deep characterization, subtle nuance, lush prose. THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT has none of those things. The series’ virtues are swift-moving action, camaraderie, breathless fun, and occasionally some decent plotting. Unfortunately, Literature would prefer its... Read More
This week, Conan the Cimmerian gives us his instructive outlook on the subject of Literature.
Conan: Book? Why would I read a book?
John: I finished reading Crossed Blades by Kelly McCullough. Not sure what I will read next....depends on what gets here first!
Kat: I read several short books from my Audible library this week: Flight from Rebirth by J.T. McIntosh (fairly entertaining), The White Isle by Darrell Schweitzer (a disappointment), Five Children and It by ... Read More
This week, Cinderella needs some relationship advice.
Cinderella: So I went partying last night. It was nice, I met the prince and he was gorgeous. We danced for hours, but then -- you know, curfew. They're worst when they're magical. So I woke up this morning (with a headache, which didn't help anything. Should've gone easier on the punch, I guess) to hear the big news that the prince is looking all over for the girl with the glass slipper. It was kind of flattering until I realized he was doing it by having his grand vizier roll around in a carriage from house to house to try the slipper on every girl in the city. What the hell? Does he think there couldn't possibly be more than one woman who takes a size five? Given he was staring into my face half the night, you'd think it would be a little easier to just make a few house calls and find me for himself. What, can't he find the strength to haul h... Read More
The Halfling’s Gem: In Which Salvatore Takes a Machete to his Own Plot, and Everything Still Works Out Somehow
The Halfling’s Gem by R.A. Salvatore
The Halfling’s Gem is the finale to the ICEWIND DALE trilogy, and as such is tasked with tying up the dangling plot threads from parts one and two, by this point no easy feat. The dwarven homeland of Mithral Hall (can’t you just hear Tolkien spluttering indignantly from the hereafter?) has been found but it remains in the hands of the grey dwarves, different from regular dwarves in that they are grey. And evil. Apparently the two coincide. Bruenor has gone toppling to his demise locked in combat with the dragon that’s standing in for the Balrog in this particular spin-off, and unlike Gandalf before him, there’s no conceivable way he’s actually alive after that fall and might decide to pop back up again.
Yep. No way. Definitely dead. Tooootally deceased.
Anyway, though they would love to hold a proper funeral for the dwarven king (seeing as he’... Read More
This week, Ron's back.
Ron: This week I tried to read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander. I'd just settled down in the common room. The chocolate frogs were contained and a comfortable distance from my hand, I was right near the fire, I'd even got the good sofa. I was ready for some real studying. Then, of course, because the universe just hates me this way, Harry comes hurtling in with a bee in his bonnet and everyone has to stop whatever they're doing to listen to whatever dire event he just improbably happened to witness while taking a stroll or creeping around under the invisibility cloak or flying above the school or dream-stalking You-Know-Who or however he managed it this time.
I don't grudge him, really I don't. But just once I'd like to sit down, read my book, and eat my damn frogs. Is that t... Read More