Archive for December, 2017

FF: Reading on the Road

December 29, 2017

As we were on the road this past week, driving to and from Arizona, we let audiobooks fill the long hours.

Ogapoge Tries to Open the Box

For those of you just discovering this part of my blog, 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 magazines.

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:

Top Secret Twenty-one by Janet Evanovich.  Audiobook.  This one was pretty good.

The Long Sunset by Jack McDevitt.  Advanced review copy of the April 2018 release.  Should we let fear rule us?  Will aliens be truly alien?

In Progress:

The Crown Jewels by Walter Jon Williams.  P.G. Wodehouse meets Jane Austen meets crime caper.  Very amusing.

The Hammer of Thor: Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard.  Audiobook.  Just started.  New reader.  Not very good quality.  Let’s see if it improves.

Tricky Twenty-two by Janet Evanovich.  Audiobook.  Didn’t quite finish while on the road.

Also:

Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s Heart by Jane Lindskold.  One hour a day, proofing for new e-book release.  Didn’t get much done over the holiday on this.

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TT: Fact or Fiction? The SF Fan

December 28, 2017

JANE: What’s interesting to me is how the SF/F fan is perceived by those outside of the culture.  Many years ago, a friend who was not a fan came to get me after a World Fantasy convention.  As I climbed into her car, she said: “I knew I was in the right place because there were so many people wearing black.”

A Random Bubonicon Moment

Well, the odd thing was, the reason so many people were wearing black had nothing to do with the fact that this was an SF/F event.  World Fantasy is one of the rare conventions that holds its awards ceremony on the last day of the convention.  The reason so many people were wearing black was because they were dressed up.  Much formal wear, including suits for men and the classic “little black dress” for women, is black!

ALAN: Ah! Clash of the Stereotypes!  SF and Fantasy fans. Now there’s a group of people who get stereotyped if ever there was one – especially since many SF/F fans are both nerds and/or geeks. Pelion piled upon Ossa! But I think that SF/F fandom also exhibits what I suspect is a unique social phenomenon – the fan who is obsessed with being a fan and who has little or no interest in SF/F itself. I like to think of these people as meta-fans.

JANE: I agree the meta-fan is unique.  When I attended my very first convention, Lunacon had a “Fan Guest of Honor” – Dave Kyle, if I remember correctly.  I had to have the concept of a Fan explained to me then.

However, I’m not sure I’d say these meta-fans have little or no interest in SF/F itself.  I’d say that their initial interest in some aspect of the genre has evolved to being an interest in participating in a special sub-culture.

ALAN: I suspect that’s probably true. After all, something has to bring you in to that world in the first place. But once you were there, in the pre-internet days at least, being a fan could take up the whole of your day. Fanzines circulated widely, and dedicated fans spent their time writing letters of comment (LOCs) to fanzine editors and publishing letters from their friends in their own fanzines. All this fannish activity left little time for reading new books or for watching new movies. I have a friend who is widely regarded as a Big Name Fan (BNF) from that era, but these days he seldom if ever reads an SF/F book. He actually spends his non-fandom time listening to jazz instead…

JANE: But did he start as a reader or movie viewer?  If he didn’t, what drew him into fandom?

ALAN: He started as a reader. His proudest possession is a first edition Gnome Press hardback set of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy which must be worth a small fortune now. I kept bumping into him at British conventions, though we only had a nodding acquaintance with each other then. I did notice that he seemed to be on first name terms with Brian Aldiss and Harry Harrison, and he was constantly taking photographs.

When I moved to New Zealand, I found that he was living just down the road from me and that was when we got to know each other a bit better. He showed me his slides from British cons and, sure enough, he had photographs of me!

JANE: Something that fascinated me about fandom as I learned more about it was that it had an elaborate vocabulary of its own.  Let’s see what I can remember.  Fanac was short for “Fan Activity,” such as publishing a fanzine.  “Zine” was short for fanzine, which in turn was short for “fan magazine.”

ALAN: That’s right – and don’t forget LOC and BNF which I used (and interpreted) before.  Related to BNF is SMOF, or secret master of fandom.  These are the people who run big conventions, like Worldcon.

JANE: I know several SMOF.  Nice, hardworking people, overall.

Another interesting piece of fannish vocabulary is “egoboo.”  When I first heard, it I was completely baffled.  Was it a sort of ghost?  A side effect of catching con crud?

I then learned that “egoboo” was short for “ego boost.”  This, as one hard-working fan explained to me, is the only currency that the largely volunteer organizers receive for their hard labor.  She went on to say that egoboo (or the lack thereof, or someone stealing someone else’s) was the main reason for nasty feuds among fans.

ALAN: Smofs get lots of egoboo. I suspect that’s generally why they do it.

JANE: There was even a term for those who left fandom – gafiate – which was a semi-acronym for “getting away from it all.”  It’s still in use, at least among older fans.  When I was Guest of Honor at MileHiCon in October, I asked after a Colorado fan who always used to come to Bubonicon.  The response was, “Oh, I still see him every week, but he’s more or less gafiated.”

ALAN: And don’t forget fiawol (fandom is a way of life), a lovely word used to describe the meta-fans whose original interest in SF/F now takes second place to their fanac. The sneering response, of course, is usually fijagh – fandom is just a god-damned hobby.

JANE: Wow!  I’d never heard “fijagh.”  Arguments in acronyms.

We’ve been talking about Fandom as if it’s a monolith but, while it started that way, it’s fragmented.  Maybe next time we can talk about some of the sub-fandoms and the way they have transformed conventions.

It’s Never Too Late

December 27, 2017

A belated Merry Christmas to you all…  We’re back from spending the holiday in Arizona with my mom, aunt, and a plethora of cousins.

Cookie-Press Butter Cookies

Before Christmas – when I mentioned that I was trying a new (to me) butter cookie recipe – some folks asked whether, if it worked out, would I share the recipe.  It did and I will.

Sure, it’s after Christmas, but is there ever a wrong time of year for butter cookies?  These cookies are shaped using a cookie press.  Mine (a Wilton Preferred Press cookie press) includes disks for hearts, flowers, a pumpkin, and what I’m pretty sure is a Thanksgiving turkey.  If that isn’t a hint that it’s never too late to make butter cookies, then I don’t know what is.

One of the difficulties of cookie press cookies is that if the dough is too soft, the cookies will not hold their shape, and the dough will come out of the press in lumps and gobs.  For this reason, many cookie press recipes are heavy on flour and, consequently, taste like solidified library paste.  Therefore, the dough is often colored with food coloring, maybe so you’ll ignore the lack of flavor.

This recipe works best if you allow time for it to firm up for the fifteen to twenty minutes that puts it in the Goldilocks Zone of neither too warm (soft and sticky) or too cold (hard as a rock and certain to break your press).

The following recipe is adapted from an article published in The Washington Post, December 4, 2002.  Yes.  That’s the right date.  It took me over a decade to get around to trying these.  The author is Elinor Klivan, whose book Fearless Baking was a new release at that time.

Now, without further chatter…  Cookie-Press Butter Cookies:

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature.

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt (Note from Jane: If you use salted butter, just skip this salt)

2 large egg yolks

2 tsp vanilla extract

Colored sugar for decorating (optional)  (Note from Jane: Go light on this to accent the cookies, not cover the details.)

Beat together butter, sugar, and salt until blended and smooth.  (I use an electric mixer, but this should be doable by hand as well.)

Blend in egg yolks and vanilla.  Gradually add the flour until dough is evenly mixed.   Don’t worry!  The completed dough should be slightly sticky.  Chill dough as noted above.

Preheat oven to 350. (If you’re going to chill the dough, then shape the cookies, time your oven heating accordingly!  Why waste energy?)

Get out cookie sheets.  Note: DO NOT grease, or cookies will not adhere to the surface when extruded from the cookie press.  Select your disk of choice.  Pack dough into cookie press, following instructions for your press.   Follow cookie press directions to shape cookies.

Sprinkle colored sugar on before baking.  (Note from Jane: My experience is that with shapes that have a holes in them, like the wreath, you end up with as much sugar on the cookie sheet as on the cookie, so I didn’t add ornamental sugar to those.)

Let cool, then enjoy!

FF: Visions of Sugarplums

December 22, 2017

Guess what?  Reading recipes is fun.  I took a book of cookie recipes to bed with me and dreamed of baking.  Does that qualify as “visions of sugarplums?”  In this case, visions of hermits.  I may have found a new favorite non-chocolate cookie.

Ziggy Reads The Long Sunset

For those of you just discovering this part of my blog, 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 magazines.

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 Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie.  Audiobooks.  Also two of her rediscovered short stories.

In Progress:

The Long Sunset by Jack McDevitt.  Advanced review copy of the April 2018 release.

The Hammer of Thor: Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard.  Audiobook.  Just started.

Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s Heart by Jane Lindskold.  One hour a day, proofing for new e-book release.  And, almost embarrassed to admit this, really enjoying!

Also:

I had to stop listening to the audiobook of All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater because some of the choices made either by the reader or the director drove me nuts.  I will be reading the book, but the audio…  I know I’m not the only one to be turned off by it!

TT: A Nerd Is A Nerd Is A…

December 21, 2017

JANE: Last time, when we were discussing stereotypes associated with people who are good with computers, I found myself reflecting how what people mean by “nerd” and “geek” has changed.

Geeking Out

When I was a kid, there was absolutely nothing complimentary about the term “nerd.”  It conjured an abstract image of someone who wore thick glasses; who dressed not just unfashionably, but with no sense of what would look remotely good; and who was completely socially inept.

Did the word have the same meaning in England?

ALAN: I don’t think so – but I’m not really sure. When I was at school we certainly knew people of that type, but I can’t remember if we had a word to describe them. Or maybe we called them “drips”. That rings faint bells…

The internet, that infallible source of all knowledge, tells me that nerd first appeared in American teenage slang in the 1950s. So it probably didn’t migrate to English slang until quite some time later, after I left school.

JANE: Then there’s “geek.”  I’m not really sure when that word started showing up.  Its meaning was slightly more complimentary than nerd, since “geek” usually implied some intellectual capacity.  Nerds could be stupid, as well as all the rest, but geeks were nerds with brains.

ALAN: Geek is a very interesting word. I first came across it in a short story (I think it was a Fredric Brown story, but I won’t swear to that) where it was used to describe a carnival sideshow where someone bit the head off a live chicken. Wikipedia tells me that the word derives from the Middle Low German work geck meaning a fool or a freak and that geek shows where performers used their teeth to decapitate chickens, rats, lizards and goodness knows what else were quite common in nineteenth-century North American circuses and travelling carnivals.

JANE: Urrgh…

ALAN: Quite how the word moved on from that rather disgusting origin to acquire its current meaning seems to be something of a mystery. Again, Wikipedia informs me that the only definition of geek in the 1975 American Heritage Dictionary was the carnival performer. So its current meaning must be a relatively recent formation. Perhaps from the early 1980s? Obviously I’m just guessing here.

JANE: Maybe some of our readers can fill us in on when and how the transition happened.

Going back to nerds for a moment, a few years ago, when I was comparing high school experiences with some friends who are a good bit younger than I am, one of them said, when explaining how their group had not fit in with the other students, “Basically, we were nerds.”

I was distinctly startled.  I’d known these people, at least in passing, at that point in their lives.  They certainly hadn’t fit my idea of what a “nerd” was.  Eventually, I realized that the word “nerd” had become conflated with “geek,” and that even “geek” was considered more complimentary than it had been.  The words remained the same, but the meaning, and therefore the stereotype, had shifted.

I’m not sure what words are currently used for the former nerds and geeks.  Maybe in this politically correct modern world, the stereotype has vanished.

ALAN: I don’t think the stereotype has vanished, it’s just gained a bit of respectability.

JANE: That does seem to be the case.  Even mainstream catalogs now have shirts with slogans that proclaim geek culture.

 A popular SF/F blogsite I follow is called Black Girl Nerds.  “Geeking out” about something simply means becoming very interested in it – rather as the word “fanatic” (which had very negative connotations) morphed into the more acceptable “fan.”

ALAN: The obvious area where this applies would be sports. When I was a child, my mother and father were fanatical watchers of the Wimbledon tennis tournaments. When the season started they drew the curtains to shut the world away, and huddled themselves around the television. We ate sandwiches for every meal because sandwiches were quick to prepare and therefore didn’t interfere with the tennis too much. Nobody thought my parents were strange for behaving like this…

Here in New Zealand both rugby and cricket are followed so fanatically that sometimes people joke that they amount to a religion – and the joke only works because there’s more than a degree of truth in it. Shortly after I first moved here, there was a crisis in the Middle East (just like always), and the Israeli air force bombed an Iraqi nuclear facility. The headline on the front page of the newspaper here was: “Young Man Dies of Rugby Injury”.

JANE: Fans, of course, are found in many areas of interest, although off the cuff I can’t think of any other area than sports that uses the term “fan” to identify its membership.  Knitters, for example, can be fanatical, but they don’t call themselves “fans.”

ALAN: People often have very strong feelings about the kind of music they enjoy. Personally, I have quite eclectic tastes, but nevertheless I would certainly describe myself as a folk music fan, particularly when it overlaps with pretentious progressive rock! I have a friend who is so fanatical about heavy metal music that he has been known to travel to the far end of the country just to attend a live concert.

JANE: Yes!  Fan definitely applies to music as well.  I’m certain our readers will have some suggestions as to other areas.

We’re into the dangerous TL/DR zone, so let’s save the engrossing subject of the SF/F fan for next time!

Have Yourselves a Merry…

December 20, 2017

Right now I have a bunch of projects going.  If you’re a regular reader of these Wanderings, you can skip the next three paragraphs.

Wolf Cookie In Its Native Habitat

The most time-sensitive project is finishing off production for my novel, Asphodel, which I’m hoping to release in January.  I chose to self-publish Asphodel because it’s a bit odd and finding the right publisher might have taken years.  Sooner rather than later or maybe never seemed the right way to go.

I’m also working on putting together new e-books for “The Firekeeper Saga.”  Last April, Tor Books courteously reverted to me the rights to most of my works with them.  Since readers had complained that the Tor-produced e-books suffered from a lack of proofing, I’m putting out new editions.  The cover art will still be by Julie Bell, but with different design elements.  As a bonus, each book will include an original afterward about some aspect of the series.

Side by side with the above, I’m also writing a new Firekeeper novel: Wolf’s Search.  I’ve been handwriting a bit every day.  Pretty soon I’ll have the first story arc done.  Then I’ll type that up, which will give me a chance to review, while meditating on details of the second part.

So how do I keep from crumpling up and becoming overwhelmed, especially now that I have holiday preparations taking over all my remaining available time?

What I’ve realized recently is that I need to remember the fun part.  I really love writing.  Not just “having written,” but seeing a story evolve, getting surprised by a twist in the plot.  When I started doing self-publishing, I’ll admit, I wasn’t crazy about it.  Now I’m growing to enjoy having some influence on both internal and cover design.  I’m very excited by Asphodel and can’t wait to share it with you all.

As for the holidays…  I really like the frills and flourishes of this time of year.  Jim and I don’t have any kids.  This year we won’t have any holiday visitors.  But nonetheless we’ve been decorating.  We’ve even added a couple of new wreaths, one of which hangs on my office door where I can see it as I work, the other of which is on our bedroom door.

Although it’s a lot of extra work, I honestly enjoy sending out Christmas cards.  It’s a way of touching base with people I care about, as well as reminding myself how lucky I am to have so many interesting people in my life – some of whom have remained part of it for decades.

I really enjoy baking holiday cookies.  This year I’ve had to trim back on the more time-consuming cookies, but I’m going to do those as New Year’s cookies.  Meantime, last Sunday, Jim and I settled in and did the most complicated cookies of the lot: the frosted sugar cookies.  Ours never quite look like the usual…  I’m contemplating doing more sometime in the new year because I didn’t make nearly enough cats.  Or guinea pigs.  Or the fox…

As I’ve mused over this, I’ve realized that there’s an aspect of American culture that validates complaining.  A person who is happy is somehow lesser.  To get respect, you need to complain about how overworked you are, how tense, miserable, underappreciated, and all the rest.

Sure, not everything went as I might have hoped this past year, but disappointments aren’t what define me unless I choose to let them do so.  Meantime, I have wolves roaming in Christmas cookies forest!

Merry, merry, merry to you all!

FF: Holiday Competition

December 15, 2017

I haven’t been able to read – especially print – as much as I like.  When I’m not writing Wolf’s Search or proofing the final stages of Asphodel, I’m writing Christmas cards, wrapping presents, and fantasizing about baking cookies.  (Maybe this weekend…)

The Desert Willow Outside My Office

For those of you just discovering this part of my blog, 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 magazines.

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:

Quillifer by Walter Jon Williams.

The Sword of Summer: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book One by Rick Riordan.  Audiobook.  A re-listen.

In Progress:

The Long Sunset by Jack McDevitt.  Advanced review copy of the April 2018 release.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater.  Audiobook.

Also:

Not much!

TT: Tekno Geeks

December 14, 2017

JANE: So, what are the stereotypes about those who work with computers?

Loving the Tech

ALAN: The typical computer nerd is popularly supposed to have no social skills and a very narrow range of interests. They are totally absorbed by the technology and they tend to rather despise people who lack their own levels of expertise. It’s such a widely recognised and accepted stereotype that TV shows such as The IT Crowd and Silicon Valley and perhaps even The Big Bang Theory which poke the finger of fun at the stereotype are hugely popular.

JANE: Uh, did you mean to say “the technology”?  Is that a  Britishism?

ALAN: Yes, to both questions!

JANE: I think it’s interesting that you yourself used the term “computer nerd,” rather than “programmer” or “technician” or something.  That sounds as if you’ve bought into the stereotype.

ALAN: While I have certainly met people who are living embodiments of the stereotype, I think they are the exceptions rather than the rule. For example, my friend Laurie is a truly exceptional computer programmer, but he is much more obsessed with music than he is with computers – he sings with the Wellington Orpheus Choir, a very prestigious choir indeed, and he has practised for, and passed, music exams to a very high level. He’s a bit of a gourmet and a wine bluff (yes, I did say bluff) with a very wide range of friends and acquaintances from all walks of life. Someone less like the stereotype would be hard to find…

Nevertheless, when we get together we do tend to try and out-geek each other because it amuses us.

JANE: Uh…  I must tangent off.  Why “wine bluff,” not “wine buff”?

ALAN: Again it’s a joke about stereotypes. A wine buff is full of esoteric oenological facts and will discuss them at inordinate length whenever the opportunity presents itself. A wine bluff, on the other hand, just gives the impression of knowledge.

But having said that, I strongly suspect that Laurie leans far more towards the buff than he does towards the bluff. Whenever he visits me he always makes a point of going to the local vineyards where he holds long esoteric conversations with the vintners and generally ends up buying a case or three of something special.

JANE: Got it!  My brother is a definite wine buff who takes a real pleasure is sharing a new discovery.

On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I know a couple of wine bluffs as well.  This is a trait that seems to appear when people start making lots of money (or associating with those who do) and who then mistake price for quality.

I think it’s funny that being knowledgeable about wines is stereotypically considered to be a mark of sophistication, outranking detailed knowledge of any other type of food or drink except possibly tea, although coffee fanciers are definitely trying to join the ranks of social snobbery.

ALAN: The Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu has a climate ideally suited for growing coffee beans and, being an ex-French colony, takes its coffee very seriously indeed. And it’s the best coffee I’ve ever drunk… Can I claim the prize for esoteric coffee sophistication?

JANE: You may, since I’ve never even heard of that coffee.  On the other hand, my high school best friend once hand-carried me a gift of pound of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.  I so treasured it that I kept the beans in my locker and ate them.  This long pre-dated both an awareness by most people of exotic coffee and the trend for eating coffee beans.  Admittedly, those are usually robed in chocolate.  I didn’t bother.

Hopefully, that at least gives me runner up status!

ALAN: I’ll grant you that.

JANE: Going back to you and your computer programmer friend…  What do you mean by “out-geek” each other?  Do you chew with your mouths open or wear mismatching outfits?  Or is having poor social skills part of being a nerd, and have nothing to do with being a geek?

ALAN: No, no. We tell each other computer jokes that nobody else in the room understands. (Often they roll their eyes and give us one of those looks – we enjoy that). We boast about the clever things we’ve done with our own computers, and once we had a competition to see which of us could write the smallest possible program that would implement the Sieve of Eratosthenes (a mechanism for generating prime numbers).

JANE: Who won the competition?

ALAN: Both of us, of course.

JANE: You came up with identical programs?

ALAN: No – even though programming is highly technical, it is much more of an art than it is a science so the chances of us coming up with identical programs are very small.

JANE: I’ve watched Jim write programs, so I understand.  It’s like writing poetry.

ALAN: Yes it is.  Writing a sonnet is just an application of rigidly defined rules and so is writing a program. But by applying those rules rigorously people can write good sonnets, and bad sonnets and, just occasionally (if the writer’s name happens to be William Shakespeare) sonnets of genius. Think of programming as being rather like writing sonnets for computers. There’s plenty of room for artistic inspiration within the rules.

JANE: And because not all programmers are William Shakespeare, you end up with glitch-filled programs.  So, basically, Laurie is a better “poet” than you.

ALAN: In a certain sense, yes, though sometimes it’s a close run thing. Strictly speaking Laurie won our little competition, but by stretching a technical detail almost to breaking point, I think I can at least claim a draw. To be fair, I think Laurie deserved to win. He’s a very clever, and elegant, programmer.

JANE: So, what you’re saying is that the stereotype that people who work intensely with computers are automatically nerds isn’t true.   They aren’t always nerds (poorly socialized, obsessed, etc.) but they are geeks.

Or has the term nerd come to mean something else?

ALAN: I think that’s a fair comment. You can argue by analogy with SF fans (there’s a huge overlap between the two worlds) and you know from your own experience that while the stereotypical SF fan is a real phenomenon, the mere fact that you are an SF fan does not mean that you automatically conform to the stereotype.

JANE: Oh, I have a story about SF fan stereotypes, but maybe we should save it for next time!

Shining Legacy

December 13, 2017

On Saturday, Jim and I drove up to Santa Fe to have dinner at the invitation of Warren Lapine who, along with Trent Zelazny, co-edited the tribute anthology to Roger Zelazny, Shadows and Reflections.  Jim and I arrived early enough to walk around the plaza and enjoy the glittering lights.  As we were turning to head toward the restaurant, we encountered our dear friends, Steve (S.M.) and Jan Stirling, and learned they were going our way.

The Santa Fe Plaza

Several other contributors to the anthology were part of Warren’s dinner party.  These included  Trent Zelazny, Gerry Hausman (and his wife, Lorry), and Shannon Zelazny.  Rounding out the festive board were Warren’s wife (and frequent partner in things editorial), Angela Kessler, and the aforementioned bonus guests: Steve and Jan Stirling.

We met at the San Francisco Street Bar and Grill, which, in an earlier incarnation, was a place that Roger very much enjoyed, so this seemed like a nicely appropriate setting.

Chat was lively and general, one of those lovely occasions where everyone – even people who hadn’t met before – quickly arrived at the conclusion that we were all friends.

A few words about the Shadows and Reflections anthology, for those of you who are curious.  It includes both fiction and non-fiction.  The introduction by George R.R. Martin is a reprint of a piece he wrote in 2009.  The final piece, by Shannon Zelazny, who was in high school when her father died, is probably my favorite bit in the entire book.  Of all the many biographical remembrances of Roger that I have read, Shannon’s comes closest to capturing the man I knew, loved, and lived with.

There’s also a little known short story by Roger, “There Shall Be No Moon!”

The other fiction draws on a wide variety of Roger’s universes, from the science fiction Isle of the Dead (Steve Brust’s “Playing God”) to the sword and sorcery Jack of Shadows (Lawrence Watt-Evans’ “The Lady of Shadow Guard”).  Gerry Hausman (who co-wrote the novel Wilderness with Roger) contributed “Nights in the Garden of Blue Harbor,” based on a story idea Roger gave him.  One thing that’s nice about the collection is that both Roger’s short and long fiction are represented as sources of inspiration.

My own piece, “The Headless Flute Player” is set in the same universe as Lord Demon, one of the two novels that, at Roger’s request, I completed for him after his death.  It’s a prequel to the novel, and incorporates a few ideas Roger casually mentioned that someday he’d like to use in a story.

Full disclosure.  I haven’t read the entire anthology yet, so I can’t tell you much about the stories.  What I hope is that this anthology inspires readers to go back and read the original works that have inspired such devotion and enthusiasm over twenty years after their author’s death – and in many cases, several decades after they were originally written.

One wonderful thing about Roger’s writing is how well it has held up to the test of time and how it can still stir the heart and imagination.  Not a bad legacy at all…

FF: Mystery into Myth

December 8, 2017

I’ve shifted my audiobooks from classic mysteries to less-than-classic mythology courtesy of Rick Riordan.  One of the great things about visiting a bookstore is being reminded of series you’ve enjoyed and forgotten to check for new installments.  I saw these when I was at Page One Books over Thanksgiving weekend, and immediately put them on my list.

Persephone Reads Through Wolf’s Eyes

For those of you just discovering this part of my blog, 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 magazines.

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:

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffry Archer.  Audiobook.  Scammers scam.  If you wonder at the author’s sympathy with trickster types, a look at his biography is insightful.

The Hidden Oracle: The Trials of Apollo, Book One by Rick Riordan.  Audiobook.  I’ll definitely be listening to the next one.

In Progress:

Quillifer by Walter Jon Williams.  Intrigue upon intrigue uncoils.

The Sword of Summer: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book One by Rick Riordan.  Audiobook.  A re-listen, since it’s been a while and I finally realized that the second one has been out and available for quite a while.

Also:

I’ve finished my re-read of Through Wolf’s Eyes, and am currently proofing my forthcoming novel, Asphodel.