Archive for December, 2016

FF: Scattered!

December 30, 2016

I received all sorts of cool books for Christmas, including one on cowboy star Audie Murphy, a history of Wonder Woman, one on the gardens of New Spain (that’s where I live), as well as a couple gaming manuals.  (Warning, oh thou Hostages in the Court of the Faceless Tyrant, one’s all on the undead!  Blame Jim.)

Holiday Distractions in Action!

Holiday Distractions in Action!

In my spare time I’ve been dipping into these new books and a scary heap of accumulated magazines.  However, systematic reading has been preempted by visiting and other holiday fun.

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).

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:

Sorry…  Nothing!  Don’t mark me down…

In Progress:

The Commodore by Patrick O’Brian.  (Audiobook.)  Jack’s back on shore.  I always worry when he’s on land.  I think that’s why I’ve been scared to keep listening.

Also:

Continuing Naruto re-read and am up to issue 49.

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TT: Powers of the Mind

December 29, 2016

JANE: Now that you’ve finished the roast goose and plum pudding – or whatever New Zealanders eat for Christmas – we can get back to discussing posthumanity.

ALAN: Roast kiwi. Onna stick! Inna bun!

JANE: Terry Pratchett (or at least Dibbler) would be proud of you…

Ogapoge Explores Powers of the Mind

Ogapoge Explores Powers of the Mind

As you noted last time with your Van Vogt examples, SF dealing with attempts to create posthumanity can include breeding for traits that don’t actually exist.  Among the most popular of these are “psi” powers like telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation, clairvoyance (ESP), levitation, pyrokinesis (setting fires mentally), and psychic healing (which is often combined with the ability to use the same powers to wound or kill).

Often psi ability is presented as the next step in human evolution.  Other times, it’s the result of an accidental mutation.  Either way, introducing psionic powers can make for a great way to investigate what it is to be human – and where the line is crossed to becoming “other.”

ALAN: I vividly remember sitting in exams in my teens and wishing I was telepathic so that I could lift the answers to the questions out of other people’s minds…

Of course, that kind of adolescent wish-fulfilment can’t stand up to any rigorous examination. What if everyone was telepathic? Surely that would make everyday life impossible. After all, speaking personally, I’m quite happy to monitor your thoughts, but I definitely don’t want you monitoring mine. Now imagine that problem writ large.

JANE: I’m imagining… And trembling!

ALAN: Alfred Bester addressed it directly in his 1953 novel The Demolished Man which imagines a society in which everyone is telepathic. The viewpoint character commits a murder and is then faced with the problem of how to avoid conviction. How can you get away with murder when your mind is an open book? Bester’s solution is ingenious and the novel is a tour-de-force.

JANE: I remember really loving that novel.  Now I have a hankering to re-read it.

Before we go any further with discussing titles, I think it’s  important to remember that at the time mental superpowers – I’m going to use the term “psionics” because it’s faster to type – became a major force in SF literature, there was a great deal of research being done in an attempt to prove these powers existed.

Perhaps the best known researcher into parapsychology was J.B. Rhine, whose Rhine cards and related tests attempted to test phenomena such as clairvoyance in a controlled situation.

Editor John W. Campbell was fascinated by these experiments and, consequently, encouraged fiction that looked at these abilities more seriously, including investigating the implications of how society would be shaped if psionic abilities were more fully understood and became part of society.

ALAN: That’s true – and Campbell’s whole-hearted adoption of Rhine’s theories was directly responsible for the upsurge in psionic stories in the 1950s and 1960s.

JANE: Sadly (or maybe not, when I think of your telepathy example) in the case of psionics, scientific examination did not support the idea that psionic powers were “real.”  If it had, SF would have laid a groundwork for social attitudes as it has done with things like cloning and organ transplants.

ALAN: Even without that, psionics still remains an area of fascinating literary speculation.

JANE: I agree…  Before we get into the details, I’d like to tangent off at a very slight angle.

Since we began this discussion weeks ago by exploring literary tropes within SF/F, I’d like to note that psionics provide a fascinating way to take a closer look at how a trope can evolve.

As you noted last week, there were stories about psi powers before Campbell’s time, but his interest created a trend of looking at these abilities more seriously.  That trend, in turn, created various conventions, such as, for example, the idea that a group with psi powers is likely to be feared by those without those powers.

Conventions, in turn, can spare wasted motion, so that, for example, when I wrote my novel Smoke and Mirrors, I could reference past purges of psionics without needing to provide a detailed history.  This in turn permitted me to focus on the material of my novel.

ALAN: Sadly, all too often, conventions can also lead to clichéd and repetitious stories.  However, even with the vast amount of SF I’ve read, I can still sometimes be surprised by the twists and turns that old ideas can take when new minds consider them carefully.  In The Long Earth Terry Pratchett and Steven Baxter created “stepping,” a new variation on teleportation.  In the tradition of the best “what if” SF, they then spent four long novels exploring the implications of this development.

JANE: I’ve only read the first volume, but I was impressed how Pratchett and Baxter were willing to examine consequences on so many different levels – including how family structures would be changed.  So many authors would have used this as the foundation for yet another tedious war story.

ALAN: Stories about psionics (the serious ones anyway) require us to look right inside ourselves and directly ask what it means to be human.  After all, if I can read thoughts or move things with my mind, something that ordinary people cannot do, am I still human?

JANE: Absolutely!   How about next week, we take a closer look at some of the more interesting stories, both old and new, featuring psionic powers and how they’d reshape the not only the perception of what it is to be human, but human society at large?

Quiet Hiatus

December 28, 2016

Since I was a kid, the quiet week between Christmas and New Year’s Day has been one of my favorites.  I’m following the tradition of quiet this week.

Kel's Christmas Greeting

Kel’s Christmas Greeting

Feels great…

Talk to you again in 2017!

FF: Do Recipes Count?

December 23, 2016

Holiday preparations have definitely cut into my reading time – even my audiobook time has been preempted by Christmas music.  But I am still squeezing in a little.

Kel Dreaming of a White Christmas

Kel Dreaming of a White Christmas

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).

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:

Do recipes count?  If so, I’ve completed a lot of reading here.  And in craft books.

In Progress:

The Commodore by Patrick O’Brian.  (Audiobook.)  Jack’s back on shore.  I always worry when he’s on land.

Also:

Continuing Naruto re-read and am up to issue 47.

TT: Extremely Posthuman

December 22, 2016

 

JANE: So, Alan, last week I suggested that in our discussion of classic science fiction tropes, the logical successor to the immortal was the “superman” or, as we decided to dub it, the “posthuman.”  We laid our foundations as follows, that SF posthumans are the product of some kind of genetic manipulation that can involve any or all of selective breeding, genetic engineering and natural mutation.

Cool Takes on Humanity's Future

Cool Takes on Humanity’s Future

However, we didn’t get into many examples.   As I recall, you had one you were eager to bring up.

ALAN: Absolutely! A. E. Van Vogt used the idea of posthuman beings with super powers all the time.  In his novel Slan, the eponymous slans (named after their creator Samuel Lann) can read minds and are super-intelligent. They have limitless stamina and superior strength.  Gilbert Gosseyn, the hero of Van Vogt’s Null-A novels, has an extra brain that gives him the telekinetic power to manipulate matter with his mind. He also has a lot of spare bodies stashed away and every time he dies, a new body reactivates…

These are perhaps extreme examples of the idea, but pretty much every Van Vogt novel has a hero has been bred in some way for some kind of super power.

Van Vogt’s novels really don’t stand up well to serious scrutiny and analysis. They are very spectacular, but (in the Shakespearian sense) they are just full of sound and fury, signifying nothing whatsoever. Nevertheless, I love them to bits. They are my not so secret weakness. Sorry about that.

JANE: No need to apologize.  Actually, starting with over-the-top examples is good.  I haven’t read either Slan or Null-A, and, as a writer, I’m curious.  How were the slans received in larger society?

ALAN: There are two types of slan – one has golden tendrils, which makes them very easy to identify, of course. They have been hunted almost to extinction because society perceives them to be a direct threat. The second kind of slan has no tendrils and therefore they can merge more easily with humanity at large. These slans remain largely unknown to human kind. They flourish in secret, conspiring to take over the world from within.

The symbolism is crude but effective.

JANE:  Indeed.  I really like the two types element.  I shall restrain myself from asking why Samuel Lann thought tentacles were a good idea, and maybe go and read the book.  But I do have another question.

Was Gilbert Gosseyn deliberately created or was that extra brain a mutation?  Again, I’m curious how someone that powerful was received by society in general.

ALAN: That’s hard to pin down – the novel is very confusing. But on balance I’d say that he was created, though it’s not clear how or by whom. He might be an agent of the Games Machine, which is the ruler of the Earth and the preserver of Null-A logic, or he might be an agent of the Galactic Empire which is attempting to subvert Null-A. Take your pick.

What is clear is that Gosseyn seems to have very little ability to act freely. He reacts to situations that he is presented with but he never manages to influence them directly or overcome them. He’s a pawn in somebody else’s chess game. It isn’t a coincidence that the sequel to the novel was called The Pawns of Null-A

JANE: What fun!  Conspiracy or some sort of puzzle is always a good “hook” for a novel.

ALAN: Larry Niven flirted with the idea manipulating breeding for a given purpose in Ringworld where Teela Brown has been genetically enhanced to be very lucky indeed. And Frank Herbert’s Bene Gesserit (in the Dune novels) are attempting to create a messiah – a frightening can of worms whose implications Herbert doesn’t really get around to exploring.

JANE: I’m not sure I’d say Niven merely “flirted” with the idea.  He continues with the implications of the luck of Teela Brown in Ringworld Engineers and The Ringworld Throne with very dark implications.

ALAN: I’ll take your word for it – I gave up on both those novels quite early in the story.

JANE: Same goes for the Bene Gesserit in Herbert’s “Dune” books.  They get their messiah.  The problem is, the greater perspective they were breeding for causes their messiah to behave in a fashion completely contrary to their wishes.

ALAN: Biologists have a saying: under conditions of constant temperature and pressure, the organism will do what it damn well pleases! Perhaps the Bene Gesserit shouldn’t have been too surprised by what happened…

JANE: Absolutely…  This is where the author’s art comes in.  If the Bene Gesserit got exactly what they wanted, Dune Messiah would have been a completely different book.  However, everyone scrabbling around trying to deal with the implications of what Paul has become makes for a much different – and to me – much more interesting book.

ALAN: But there’s no reason to believe that this kind of tinkering will always lead to posthumans who have some genetic advantage over us. What if we ended up with homo inferior instead of homo superior?  The Morlocks (from Wells’ The Time Machine) were a perfect example of devolution as opposed to evolution.

And there’s a very famous story by Cyril Kornbluth (“The Marching Morons”) where a tiny minority of bright people look after a world that is full of dullards who can barely tie their own shoelaces. The ancestors of the dullards were too dim to use contraception and so quickly outbred the brighter, more thoughtful people… Kornbluth used the idea again in a novel he wrote in collaboration with Frederik Pohl (Search the Sky), so he was clearly rather taken with it.

JANE: I have more thoughts about the posthumans trope but, if you don’t mind, I’d like to wait until after Christmas before we chat about them.

ALAN: Righto!  Have a great Christmas, and I’ll talk to you again when the champagne I’ll be drinking has worn off.

JANE: Actually, given some of what I have in mind, champagne might be an advantage…

Traditionally Non-Traditional

December 21, 2016

This weekend as I rolled and cut Christmas cookies, it occurred to me that my approach to writing and my approach to Christmas have a lot in common.  Both are infused with an awareness of traditions, but both are definitely infused with my own twist as well.

Cookies!!

Cookies!!

Take Christmas cookies.  I’ve always loved making them.  One of my earliest memories of Christmastime is of our family friend “Aunt” Meredith coming over and (along with my mom) showing us how to make a delicate cookie she called a “sugar cracker.”  These were rolled very thin, with an unforgiving dough that could only be rerolled a limited number of times.  Therefore, it was crucial to fit as many cookies as possible onto each sheet of dough.

I continued to make these for many years.  However, almost from the start, I began adding differently shaped cookie cutters.  It’s been a long time but, if I remember correctly, my family’s collection included a tree, a star, a bell, a Santa, a candle, and a reindeer (my personal favorite).  I started by duplicating those, but soon added a teddy bear, a dog, and a duck.  Someone gave me a set of “bridge” cutters, so I had a heart, a diamond, a club, and spade.  Then there was the circus set that added an assortment of animals…  And on and on, until my current collection fills a large plastic “underbed” clothing storage box and smaller box as well.

The sugar crackers were too delicate to frost, but were instead painted with a mixture of egg yolk and food coloring.  We’d have three colors: yellow, red, and green.  After a few disastrous experiments, we learned to follow Mom and Aunt Meredith’s example, dabbing on tiny bits of “paint” – light brush strokes of green to suggest needles on the tree, minute dots of red and yellow for ornaments. When the cookies were baked just right, the egg yolk “paint” would puff and become shiny.  These were definitely the most elegant Christmas sugar cookies around.

I continued to make them for many years but, when I got together with Jim, he really preferred frosted sugar cookies.  Since he was the one who would be eating the majority of them, I found a more robust cookie recipe and he asked for his mother’s frosting recipe.  We also started collecting sprinkles and various shapes of little sugar doohickeys.

However, my old traditions didn’t vanish entirely.  I still roll the cookie dough very thin and I still try to get as many cookies as possible out of each rolling.  I suspect this contributes to the flavor.  I’ve been told by people who consider themselves connoisseurs of frosted sugar cookies, ours are very, very tasty.

I also added a very spicy gingerbread cookie to the mix, mostly because this gave me an excuse to use even more cutters.  We decorate these with a thin border of piped icing, although I noticed that this year the process was evolving and a few colored doohickeys were being added as accents.

Meantime, our neighbors have gotten used to receiving not only Christmas trees (I have five different shapes of these) and bells and stars – as well as a host of other, more usual Christmas shapes – but the odd unicorn, pickup truck, hedgehog, or bat.  The variety of shapes makes decorating far from rote, which in turn stimulates amazing creativity.  (We often invite friends to join us, because it’s so much fun to see what they come up with.)

And, as I was thinking as I spent several hours rolling and cutting, my writing has evolved much as my cookies have.  True, every writer brings his or her “take” to stories but, unlike some writers, I’m not really interested in doing variations on the same thing over and over again.  One reason SF/F appeals to me is that there’s room for “different.”  And readers seem to enjoy that, too.

In this day and age when digital bookselling sites like nothing more than being able to compare one work to another – the “if you like this, you’ll like that” approach – maybe my twisting isn’t the best thing.  Nonetheless, I find being traditionally untraditional keeps me fresh and my writing from going stale.

Now, off for a cookie and some coffee…  There’s a gingerbread rhino that’s calling my name.

FF: More Ships

December 16, 2016

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).

Silver Admires Olga da Polga

Silver Admires Olga da Polga

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:

The Wild Wood by Charles deLint.  Very centered on “idea” rather than plot, setting, or character, which makes for a very unusual novel.

The Tales of Olga da Polga by Michael Bond.  Tales told by and about a very creative guinea pig, who was based on Bond’s family’s own beloved pet.

The Truelove and The Wine-Dark Sea by Patrick O’Brian.  (Audiobooks).  Ends a four book story cycle with the crew of the Surprise hoping to reach home at last.

In Progress:

The Commodore by Patrick O’Brian.  (Audiobook.)

Also:

Continuing Naruto re-read and am up to issue 43.

TT: Stronger? Better? Faster?

December 15, 2016

JANE: So, Alan, after we finished our discussion of immortals – especially regarding the edge they could have over shorter-lived humanity – I started recalling that a long life is not the only advantage SF has speculated about humans gaining through the advancement of science. Indeed, the “superman” – although that term is probably out of favor these days, being rather sexist – was, at one time, a very popular trope in SF.

Is the Invisible Man Under There?

Is the Invisible Man Under There?

ALAN: Unlike the other topics that we’ve been chatting about, that of the superman is an SF idea that hasn’t really migrated into the mainstream. I think it is exclusively an SF theme.

And I actually think that SF has the best of it here.

JANE: Eh… I wish this were an exclusively SF concept, but the idea of the “superman” has been widely used in another context: that of eugenics.  Eugenics widely fell out of fashion after the Nazi adoption of eugenics as a justification for mass murder, but the idea of “good birth” or good breeding being advantageous is very much a part of the lore of the superman.

ALAN: Eugenics itself is an ugly subject because of its political connotations, but it has a close modern cousin in the science of genetics. Our deeper understanding of how genetics work has given us real-world tools for direct genetic manipulation – and these, of course, provide us with a legitimate science-fictional mechanism for exploring superhuman ideas.

JANE: I’d prefer not to discuss Nazi (or other eugenic) atrocities here, but I do think we need to acknowledge that they are a ghost that haunts any writer who wants to write about the “superman” even in a fictional context.

Is there a newer term?  One that doesn’t automatically leave out females or evoke muscular men who wear their underwear outside their tights or Nazi experiments?

ALAN: Given the current fashion of sticking the word “post” in front of common nouns (post-truth, for example – the current word of the year!) we might perhaps use the term posthuman?

JANE: I like it!  It indicates a form of humanity “post” or “after” the current human model and lacks the automatic assumption that the new form of human will automatically be better, as is implied by “superman,” “ubermensch” or “homo superior.”  Let’s go with it!

ALAN: If I can get a bit pompous for a moment, one of the purposes of literature is to look for answers to the question of what it means to be human. By using the idea of a posthuman as a contrast to the “merely” human, SF is very well placed to try and find answers to the question that the mainstream simply cannot approach at all.

JANE: That’s a provocative idea.  Do you have a specific example in mind?

ALAN: Yes, I think I do. H. G. Wells gave the protagonist of one of his novels the ability to become invisible. The invisible man was certainly posthuman, but was he still human? Did invisibility give him any advantage over his fellow men? Actually, no it didn’t. Towards the end, the invisible man is more to be pitied than envied.

JANE: I agree… In fact, the plight of the invisible man is a good example of how posthuman developments might not, in fact, create “super” humans, only humans with different problems.  This is a theme that SF has used repeatedly and to good effect.

ALAN: Wells was really rather fond of poking at that question. His most famous use of the technique is probably in the short story “The Country of the Blind”.  His sighted hero finds himself in a settlement where everyone is blind. He feels that being sighted must give him an advantage over everyone else – he keeps telling himself that in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. But, of course it turns out that, generally speaking, the blind people can run rings around him because they are completely comfortable in their environment. Only at the very end of the story does an exceptional circumstance put him in a position to save his life at the expense of theirs…

Strictly speaking, this short story isn’t SF – but it does use the human/superhuman trope to great effect. It’s probably the closest that the mainstream can get to the idea.

JANE: What you’ve just demonstrated very nicely is that there are many ways that “supermen” could be defined – and they wouldn’t even need to be biologically “posthuman.”  For example, time travelers from the future would be potential superhumans because they have technological advantages, as well as a knowledge of events that would permit them to take advantage of the past.

So we don’t start repeating ourselves, I was thinking that we should try to focus on the truly science fictional “supermen.”  For purposes of limiting our discussion, I’d also like to leave out the rich and varied field of superhero comics.

ALAN: That sounds like a good idea. And let’s also take it as read that SF posthumans are the product of some kind of genetic manipulation that can involve any or all of selective breeding, genetic engineering and natural mutation.

JANE: I’m game!  I can see you’re bouncing up and down, so you go first.

ALAN: OK – but can I go and do my Christmas shopping first?

JANE: Absolutely…  I wouldn’t want Robin or Jake or Harpo or Bess to be without presents under the tree.

Taking on a Challenge

December 14, 2016

This past weekend, I received the good news that the anthology Guns, edited by Gerald Hausman, is now available both as an e-book and as a trade paperback from Speaking Volumes press.

Guns features my short story “Choice of Weapons,” which, in turn, features Prudence Bledsloe.  More about that in a bit…

Find Prudence's First Appearance

Find Prudence’s First Appearance

When Gerry first approached me about writing a piece for Guns, I’ll admit, I wasn’t at all certain I wanted to write a story for the collection – even though Gerry has been a good friend for over twenty years and I hate turning down a friend.

However, I feared a collection of stories about guns would cater to a certain romance that lingers around weapons – including firearms.  Only a few weeks before, there had been yet another massacre that couldn’t have happened if one person didn’t have access to far too much firepower.  Years ago, my friend Mike Bishop lost his son Jamie in one such senseless massacre.  These aren’t passing news events.  They’re horrible, painful, and scar the survivors forever.

I shared my concerns with Gerry and received his assurance that his planned anthology wasn’t meant to romanticize guns.  What he was hoping for was a collection of stories (and poems and essays) in which guns would be a central element.   He wasn’t going to provide any guidelines beyond asking that the stories include guns in some significant fashion.  He was looking to see what would happen when he did.

Time travel moment…  I’ve just read Gerry’s introduction to the completed collection.  It’s great! It also articulates his goals far better than I could.  The intro’s worth the price of the collection all by itself.

So, I didn’t want to add to the romance, but I knew the issue of gun ownership and use was more complicated than that.   My husband is a gun owner and has been a serious target shooter, up to and including loading his own ammunition.  All gun owners aren’t wild-eyed, attention seeking, hate-filled people.

Moreover, my refusal to look at the issue wasn’t going to magically make it go away.  All it would mean was that I wouldn’t need to think about how to best approach a complex issue.  I found myself thinking how a friend once accused me of encouraging dangerous behavior by writing about wolves – because I was encouraging people to think of them as something they weren’t.  (Aside: She’d never read any of my Firekeeper books.)

So, after careful consideration, I decided to write a story.

When I started mulling over possible approaches, Prudence Bledsloe immediately occurred to me as a perfect central character.  Prudence rode into my life in in my short story, “The Drifter,” which first appeared in the anthology A Girl’s Guide to Guns and Monsters, edited by John Helfers.  “The Drifter” was later reprinted in my short story collection, Curiosities.

“The Drifter” is set in the American West after the Civil War, a time and a place when carrying guns was relatively common.  Because of this, I wouldn’t need to manufacture reasons for my characters to be carrying guns or being willing to use them.

However, for reasons that those of you who have read “The Drifter” already know, Prudence doesn’t exactly need to use a gun, which makes her situation more interesting to write about – especially as related to guns.

Jim and I brainstormed several possible story ideas but, although I plan to write at least one of those stories, I rejected them for Gerry’s anthology.  Although guns would have been featured, I didn’t feel that guns or the issues surrounding their use were central enough to the story.  If I was going to write a story for Guns, I didn’t want the weapons to be mere window-dressing.  I was going to…  (brace yourselves)…  bite the bullet and deal with the complex issue.

I’m not sure when the position the Japanese took regarding gun use and ownership first came into my mind but, once it was there, I couldn’t get rid of it.  I did some research and…  Well, if you want to know what I did with what I learned, you can read the story.

“Choice of Weapons”  debuted when I read it at Bubonicon this past August.  One thing that really pleased me was finding that the story generated discussion, not only about guns, but about the expectations readers bring to a story and how they feel when those expectations are not met.

“Choice of Weapons” is not your usual Western.  Guns is not your usual anthology.  In it you’ll find reprints and original work, poetry and prose, and a lot of thoughtful looks at a complicated subject.  In his introduction, Gerry expresses a desire to find a vocabulary through which the complex issue of guns and what they mean to people can be discussed.  I think he’s well on the way to his goal.

I hope you’ll give the collection a try.

FF: Wooded Lands and Wooden Ships

December 9, 2016

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).

Starlight Wonders if Wild Woods Are Yummy

Starlight Wonders if Wild Woods Are Yummy

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:

Wildwood by Colin Meloy.  Younger YA or middle grade adventure.  Strong on setting but characters were a bit flat.

The Nutmeg of Consolation by Patrick O’Brien.  Audiobook.  Held up to fond memories, but definitely not where to start the series.

In Progress:

The Wild Wood by Charles deLint.  By weird coincidence, I came across this book – which somehow I’d missed – just when I started Wildwood, so of course it had to be my next read!

The Truelove by Patrick O’Brien.  Audiobook.  The Surprise is off to the rescue.

Also:

Continuing Naruto re-read and am up to issue 40.  Also, as Christmas draws closer, looking through a lot of crafts books.