“Hamlet Revisited” and Bubonicon

It’s been an exciting week and not just because I went to Bubonicon.  I also had a short story published, met my new editor from Tor, got to hold a reviewer’s copy of Artemis Awakening in my hot little hands, and finally had a chance to get the answer to a long-held question about Tim Power’s novel, The Anubis Gates.

Let me start with the short story…  It’s called “Hamlet Revisited” and you can find it at http://www.snackreads.com/products-page/product-category/hamlet-revisited/.

"Hamlet Revisited"

“Hamlet Revisited”

Many years ago, when I taught Shakespeare’s play Hamlet a couple times a year, I must have gotten a bit punchy.  I realized that if the events of the play were looked at from the ghost’s point of view, the story became a comedy.  I promptly sat down, wrote the story, liked it very much, and started sending it out.

I collected the most amazing sheaf of rejections.  I wish I still had them.  Basically, time and again I heard 1) the story was very funny 2) everyone in the office read it and laughed their heads off  3) but they weren’t taking the story because (some variation of the following) a) it didn’t suit their magazine’s needs b) the editors were concerned their readership wouldn’t remember enough of the original Hamlet to follow the plot c) it was neither fantasy or SF (despite having a ghost).

So, when I was contacted by Josh Gentry, the editor of a new venture called Snack Reads, I immediately thought of this story.  I was honest with Josh about its history of rejection, but he decided that it suited his needs perfectly.  His wife Jennifer Gentry supplied the amazing cover art.

Not only am I delighted to have the story coming out for itself, I can’t help but think that, side by side with Shakespeare’s original play, “Hamlet Revisited” is a great illustration of the concept that the difference between comedy and tragedy is in how you tell the tale.  Needless to say, it belongs in every classroom!  <grin>

Just a few words about the publisher.  Snack Reads’ focus is offering new and reprinted short stories in inexpensive ebook format.  For now, they are drawing from the local New Mexico pool (which is vast and varied indeed), but I have no doubt they will expand.  They also do interviews with their authors, which appear on the web both on YouTube and as podcasts.  Josh Gentry and I had a conference at Bubonicon to lay the groundwork for my forthcoming interview.  I think it’s going to be fun.  I’ll let you know when it’s available!

Bubonicon this year was really busy for me.  Josh Gentry wasn’t the only editor I met with.  I also met my new editor at Tor, Claire Eddy.  We’d met once before, about 19 years ago, at a World Fantasy in New Orleans.  However, that had been at a crowded and moderately insane dinner party.  This time we went out for a very genteel tea at the St. James Tea Room.

Me and Claire Eddy at Bubonicon's Afternoon Tea

Claire Eddy and me at Bubonicon’s Afternoon Tea

Claire had arranged to have a copy of the advance bound manuscript of Artemis Awakening sent to me.  No cover art yet – that’s still being finished up – but just seeing the story in something like book format made the entire project more real.  It also made giving my reading at Bubonicon a whole lot easier.  I had a good audience and they seemed to enjoy themselves.

One of the things that made Bubonicon insanely busy for me this year was that one of the two writer Guests of Honor was Tim Powers. (The other was Brent Weeks.)  If you’ve been following the Wednesday Wanderings and Thursday Tangents, you already know I’m a huge fan of Tim Powers’ work.  Except for one interview at a World Fantasy years and years ago,  I hadn’t had an opportunity to hear him speak.  Therefore, I resolved to try to make as many of his program items as I could, often bouncing from the panel I was on to one of Tim’s.

It was worth the effort…  Although I enjoyed the rambling discussion on what happened to dark fantasy between Tim Powers and George R.R. Martin, I enjoyed even more Tim’s solo presentation.  He can vary between serious and side-splittingly funny in a breath, and is a talented physical comedian as well.  Later, when both Guests of Honor were interviewed by the Toastmaster, Diana Rowland, she raised the question of having one’s work adapted by Hollywood…  Well, Tim’s account of his attitude toward the process is impossible to redo in print, but it involved hamsters and high walls.

Also, in a fan girl’s best dream, I managed to have a few chats with Tim in small groups.  During one of these, I got to ask a question that had been lurking in my mind for years.  In the novel The Anubis Gates, there is a passing reference to a husband and wife who have written a “massive, multi-volume History of Mankind.”  For years I had wondered if these were meant to be Will and Ariel Durant, whose massive, multi-volume Story of Civilization is one of the most amazing works in any genre ever written.  Tim confirmed my guess.  Australian author, Joel Shepherd, had been chatting with us.  When Joel admitted he wasn’t familiar with the Durants’ work, Tim and I both started raving about the series with the enthusiasm of religious fanatics talking about their holy book.

It was a lot of fun.

As usual, I came away from the weekend with a list of books to read.  After hearing all the labor Brent Weeks put into becoming an “overnight success,” I certainly will try one of his works.  I also will be reading Ian Tregillis’s latest “Milkweed” book and the next in James S.A. Corey’s wonderful space opera series and…

But now, off to do the grocery shopping that didn’t get done this weekend!


8 Responses to ““Hamlet Revisited” and Bubonicon”

  1. paulgenesse Says:

    Thanks for the update. I must go to Bubicon sometime.

  2. Heteromeles Says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun. Congratulations on getting to chat with Tim and bringing the new short story out.

  3. Jane Lindskold blogs about “Hamlet Revisited” | SnackReadsFun, fast and digital. Says:

    […] Lindskold talks about “Hamlet Revisited” over on her blog. Perhaps the most interesting […]

  4. Alan Robson Says:

    I’ve just bought and read Hamlet Revisited. Very nice story — clever and lots of fun.


  5. Chad Merkley Says:

    Hah! The ghost in the original never seemed to have any kind of personality or character to me. No real motivation, other than a vague and insipid desire for revenge. I like the way you portrayed the ghost as being essentially unchanged by his death–same desires, goals, and motivations as when he was alive, with the addition of boredom and desire to get out of purgatory. The ghost’s attitude toward the death others is a great little brain-twister. If he’s dead, why should he care if everyone else dies? Therefore, no more tragedy.

    Of course, the story of Hamlet has enough absurdity built into it that almost asks to be parodied. Rosencranz and Guildenstern are Dead is probably the classic treatment. But I think it comes down to the fact that Hamlet, Gertrude, and Claudius are fundamentally unsympathetic characters. I really don’t like any of them. It’s the minor characters–especially Ophelia and Polonius–that I identify with the most. They’re the real tragedy. Everyone else just about deserved what they got.

    That makes me wonder–did Shakespeare intend some kind of commentary about how the plots of the great and powerful end up destroying ordinary people? Do you guys think that’s a valid reading? I think the last time I actually looked at the text would have been about 2003.

    This story would make a great companion piece to present along with the original play in a classroom setting. I enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to more of your work.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Certainly, given the time period at which Shakespeare was writing, I think you may be right about him providing subtle commentary on the great and powerful and ordinary people.

      It’s interesting that he set this is a Foreign court, as if to distance himself from criticism.

      One of the best fictional treatments of the Elizabethan age and its chaos is Harry Turtledove’s _Ruled Britannia_. I highly recommend.

      And thanks for the thoughtful commentary on “Hamlet Revisited”!

      • Louis Robinson Says:

        There are similar commentaries scattered throughout Willy’s plays – all of them, as you point out, set elsewhere, with the possible exception of Falstaff.

        The Histories, and the Scottish Play, OTOH, very much toe the royal party line.

  6. Paul Says:

    How cool that we who visit here get an early heads-up on “Hamlet Revisited.” Fun read!

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