FF: Hot Weather, Cool Reads

The weather keeps topping a hundred, but I can escape into a good book.

Hot Weather, Long Fur

Hot Weather, Long Fur

For those of you just discovering this feature, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazine articles.

The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

Negima! Magister Magi by Ken Akamatsu.  Manga, volumes 24-30.  (I’d read the first 23 of these, then a gap in library holdings caused me to stop.)  Complicated story proves that additional information sometimes complicates matters, rather than simplifying!

In Progress:

Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia A. McKillip.  Short story collection.  Reading before bed.  Gives interesting dreams.

Onion Girl by Charles De Lint. Audiobook.  A gritty, even bitter, tale.  Excellent audiobook reader.

The Forgotten Sisters  (Princess Academy Book 3) by Shannon Hale.  Once again, Ms. Hale builds a believable political backdrop for her novel.  More than anything, Miri wants to go home.  But if she doesn’t do what the king demands, she may not have a home to go back to.


Archeology magazine.  An article on a recently discovered Scythian treasure hoard both delighted and annoyed me – and showed once again how often people don’t see what’s right in front of them because they superimpose their own preconceptions.

6 Responses to “FF: Hot Weather, Cool Reads”

  1. Louis Robinson Says:

    Is that Archaeology article “Rites of the Scythians”?

    Perhaps you would care to elaborate some Wednesday, since I’m not seeing just what raised your ire. [In fact, at one point I was wondering if I was actually getting access to the same article you read.] The point you raise is an important one both for real life and for writing. It would be fun to explore it, and here you have a ready-made example.

    • Jane Lindskold Says:

      I’m too lazy to go look, but I suspect it might be the same piece. It was the assumption that the art had to have been made by someone other than the Scythians themselves — Greeks on the Black Sea, maybe. There’s no reason for assuming nomadic peoples couldn’t have done this sort of work. I have a simple kit that shows the technique. And the style is completely different from Greek art of the same time period. And, even artists on commission and copying end up imposing their artistic values. AND the range in which the Scythians lived makes the idea of everyone commuting to get their art done somewhere just ludicrous. I could go on…

      • Louis Robinson Says:

        Do go on. Please. As I said, it would be a worth wandering on several levels.

        As it happens, I did notice that, but don’t have the background to be able to judge the accuracy of the underlying assumptions. For one thing, I know far more about Greek Bronze Age metal work than Classical – and very little about that to begin with. I can tell by looking that these pieces are crafts[wo]manship of the highest order, but that’s about it on the provenance. And that assumes that the pieces were nearly new, as opposed to very well cared-for, when they were deposited. If they were actually a couple of centuries old, that puts us into a whole different period, and if somebody tells me it’s Greek work, I just take their word for it. [The Greek Iron Age is pretty close to Dark for me]

        The part that had me dragging my eyebrows back into position was the bit about the excavator happening to decide to have a local crime lab sample the deposits before cleaning the artefacts. Eh, what?!?

      • Jane Lindskold Says:

        I’m no expert, so I won’t go on on here — especially without reading the original source material. Popularizing magazines have a tendency to oversimplify that can distort.

        Sampling of that sort is becoming more common, as is checking any deposits left behind. Jim’s office does this when appropriate. Archeology and forensics have a great deal in common these days.

      • Louis Robinson Says:

        Sorry, I wasn’t clear about the source of my surprise: it was the suggestion that they would even consider cleaning off original organic material without preserving and identifying it. And that they’d have to get the work done as a favour.

      • Jane Lindskold Says:

        Some such analysis has been done for a while, but techniques to analyse trace elements keep improving. In fact, the constant improvement of technology is one reason that it is now routine procedure to leave part of a site unexcavated. In this way, there will be pristine materials to work with in the future.

        Pretty thoughtful for a science that most people thing of as literally buried in the past.

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