Archive for category Literary

Medieval Manuscripts

MS20BXX-78vWe're kickin' it old-school on SGS today, with a lovely post on the British Library's Medieval Manuscripts Blog. The image to the right is from Royal MS 20 B XX. Click the image to see a larger version, or -- far better -- use the British Library MS Viewer to browse wonderful, high-res zoomable scans of the original.

Warning: All links above are more perilous Internet time-wasting rabbit-holes than Wikipedia and TVTropes combined.

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Dragonriders of College Station

AggieCon 43 took place this past weekend (March 23-25, 2012). Now, at any convention, there will almost certainly be some things that happen which are in poor taste. But there is no point in talking about any of them, because they absolutely pale in comparison to the outcome of Saturday's "Draw-Off" panel. In said panel, Marty Whitmore (evil illustrator and proprietor of the webcomic Tasty Flesh) squared off against the creative team of Mel Hynes and James L. Grant (writer and artist, respectively, of Two Lumps) to draw the deranged ideas of the audience under extremely tight time constraints.

Gentle reader, if you are of a delicate disposition... if you have any affection for the Dragonriders of Pern and don't want it Ruined Forever, then I entreat you in the sternest possible way to not read beyond the jump. (While the following content is only NSFW in the mildest possible sense, it is poison to the brain.)

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Happy Year of the Dragon

Neil is the one on the left.

Happy Year of the Dragon to all. Neil Gaiman drew you a picture (click thumbnail to the right for a better view, or read about it on his blog).

If you hatch this year, you're a Black Water Dragon -- very auspicious indeed.

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Dawn Treader

Some brief musings on the latest vaguely Narnia-themed theatrical treacle:

If you happen to like any linear combination of dragons and/or Art Nouveau, you should probably go see it. Treat it as a slide-show of visual wonders, occasionally interrupted by boring people talking.

I regard it as pretty absurd to talk about "spoilers" in the context of a work (ostensibly) based on a book that's over fifty years old, and I don't think I commit any. Nevertheless, here's a cut:

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Dragon Populations Holding Steady

Comparing 2008 to 2009, we've seen catastrophic declines in castles, glowy magic and swords. Unicorns have seemingly disappeared, and even formerly sizable populations of elves, wolves and horses are in sharp decline.

Dragons, obviously made from sterner stuff, remain unscathed.

Context? Fantasy novel covers. This news courtesy of Orbit Books (via Making Light). Their handy comparison chart is reproduced to the right, but really: go read the original article. Sample quote: "The number of dragons on covers held steady this year. The dragon population seems to be in perfect balance – but we can’t tell if that’s because new dragons are being born to replace old ones, or if last year’s dragons are just really healthy."

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Why No Amazon Links?

Over on the philosophy page, I said I wouldn't do political stuff here. And this is political -- after a fashion -- for which I apologize. I don't intend to make it a habit. But on sober reflection, I've been doing something wrong, and it's my responsibility to correct it, and to explain the reason for the change.

In brief, I'm removing all links to amazon.com from posts I've written here. Please read on after the jump if you'd care to know why.

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Duncan and Mallory

As you know, Bob, Duncan & Mallory is a collaborative comic created by Mel White and Robert Lynn Asprin. Set in a not-quite-Earth fantasy setting of ambiguous place and time, it concerns the adventures of one Duncan (disgraced human warrior) and J. P. Mallory (small silver dragon temporarily between jobs). Released in 1986 by Starblaze, it never achieved the notoriety widespread recognition it (IMHO) deserves.

What you may not know (comma Bob comma) is that it is now being re-released, on the web, a bit at a time, for free. More details after the jump.

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Found in Space

Over on Boing Boing they're having a drabble (100-word fiction) contest on the theme "Found in Space". Apparently one can win a computer. But more to the point, everyone who enters wins a useful writing exercise.

I don't expect to win; there are a lot of strong entries, some of which I'd choose over mine, were I judging. (I deliberately didn't read any of them before I composed my submission. Good thing, or I'd probably never have started.)

Read the full text of my story after the jump.

Update: The winner and runner-up have been announced. Congratulations to them, and to the surprisingly large number of other worthy submissions. Thanks to Rob Beschizza and to BoingBoing for running the contest. (Older updates moved to the end of the article.)

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There are moon-letters here.

Return of the King, 1st US Edition Cover

Return of the King, 1st US Edition Cover

Did you hear the one about the Aggie who had a truly first-class library of science fiction and fantasy?

The denizens of Texas A&M University take a lot of stick, some fraction of which they may perhaps deserve. As I'm a Rice alumnus, you may believe me when I say I've heard (and repeated) my share of the dreadful jokes.

But this post is about one of the places where not only have the Aggies excelled, but have done so within the realm of unqualified, unabashed flat-out geekishness -- one of my personal favorite sorts of excellence, and one I deeply admire.

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Book: Heavy Words, Lightly Thrown

This is a thing I have recently read. You might read it, too, if you like:

Heavy Words, Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme by Chris Roberts.

Each chapter starts with a bit of nursery rhyme, then describes -- in a very conversational way -- possible meanings, origins and interpretations. Though the subject matter may seem of interest only to those who believe literature to have user-serviceable parts inside, this book strives to entertain, even when it means stepping away from academic rigor.

The subject matter leaps from political intrigue to sexual innuendo to the dense web of literary reference, but the narrative remains interesting and informative throughout. It taught this jaded bibliophile a few new things, and dispelled as myths a few things I'd previously assumed to be true.

I found the English-to-American glossary in the back to be unnecessary and perhaps a little condescending, though I have my suspicions this was the idea of the publisher rather than the author.

[Edited 2010-02-10 by dhenke to remove Amazon links. See explanatory post.]

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