eldritchhobbit: (Hunger Games)
Psst! Did you know [livejournal.com profile] darchildre was reading Icelandic sagas and sharing the recorded narrations? Run, don't walk, to partake of the goodness.


And now, on the subject of YA dystopias...

* From The New York Times: "Our Young-Adult Dystopia" by Michelle Dean. There are some interesting assertions here, especially in the context of Divergent and The Bone Season:
"I often wonder if the people in charge of these decisions noticed that Rowling was 30 when she sold Harry Potter, or that Collins was 46 when The Hunger Games appeared.... Forgive the presumption, but our present circumstances lead me to suggest another item for C.S. Lewis’s list: We like these stories because they have a special relationship with time. Children’s literature toys with our chronological expectations because the best of it has always been written, actually, by the comparatively elderly. Lewis himself was 51 when the Narnia books came out; Lois Lowry was 56 when The Giver was published; Madeleine L’Engle wrote A Wrinkle in Time in her 40s, and L. Frank Baum his Oz books in the same decade of his life. Age is what the greats have in common. The long years between adolescence and middle age seem to be necessary soil for this craft."

* On a related note, from Charles Stross: "Generation Z." (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] whswhs.)
Stross articulates some of the questions I've been asking in my work:
"There has been a boom market in dystopian young adult fiction over the past decade. There is a reason for this. Play and recreation is an important training mechanism in young mammals by which they practice or rehearse activities that will fit them for later adult life experiences. (It's also fun, but bear with me while I discuss the more ploddingly puritan angle for a moment.) Could it be that the popularity of YA dystopias reflects the fact that our youngest generation of readers expect to live out their lives in dystopia? (The alternative explanations hold that (a) high school in the age of helicopter parenting, fingerprint readers in the library, and CCTV in the corridors is an authoritarian dystopia anyway, and YA dys-fic helps kids understand their environment; and (b) that worse, their parents (who influence their reading) think this.)"

Catching Fire


On a less dystopian note, happy early birthday wishes to [livejournal.com profile] angelinehawkes, [livejournal.com profile] idwoman, [livejournal.com profile] pseudoanorexic, [livejournal.com profile] vyrdolak, [livejournal.com profile] lyria_theringer, [livejournal.com profile] bistokidsfan77, [livejournal.com profile] catw, [livejournal.com profile] dragonrose1125, [livejournal.com profile] dduane, [livejournal.com profile] lexie_marie, [livejournal.com profile] jalara, [livejournal.com profile] theladyrose, [livejournal.com profile] elvenjoy, [livejournal.com profile] jan_u_wine, [livejournal.com profile] gondoriangirl, [livejournal.com profile] vivien529, and [livejournal.com profile] senket. May each of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!
eldritchhobbit: (Firefly/Losing Side)
Attention Browncoats! Firefly's 10th anniversary special, Firefly: Browncoats Unite, airs tonight on the Science Channel. Here's a sneak peek...



Here's some fascinating goodness for your Sunday...

* From NPR's "On Point," a terrific interview with Nancy Marie Brown, author of the new book Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths, about the Icelandic sagas. Find it here. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jan_u_wine.)

* An alternate route of Trail of Tears has been discovered in Rutherford County, Tennessee.

* A research article inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu" was published two weeks ago on Cornell University's Arxiv website. The author, Benjamin K. Tippett, is also part of the Titanium Physicsists podcast. Here's the article: "Possible Bubbles of Spacetime Curvature in the South Pacific." (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] memphismaniac.)

* Speaking of Lovecraft, from The Lovecraft eZine: "Free and/or Very Cheap Lovecraftian Kindle Books."

* Tickets for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey are now on sale! It feels real now, doesn't it? Woohoo!


River: [over Serenity's intercom] You're wrong, Early.
Early: I'm not wrong, dumpling, I will shoot your brother dead if you don't—
River: Wrong about River. River's not on the ship. They didn't want her here. But she couldn't make herself leave. So she melted. Melted away. They didn't know she could do that. But she did.
Early: Not sure I take your meaning there.
River: I'm not on the ship. I'm in the ship. I am the ship.
Simon: River—
River: River's gone.
Early: Then who exactly are we talking to?
River: Talking to Serenity. And Early? Serenity is very unhappy.
- "Objects in Space," Firefly
eldritchhobbit: (illuminated manuscript)
* The Libertarian Futurist Society, the organization behind The Prometheus Awards, has a new LiveJournal here.


* Later this week I will be heading out to Tucson to serve as the discussion leader at a colloquium on "Liberty and Responsibility in the Literature of Frontiers: Sagas and Westerns." The common texts that we will be discussing include the following:
Books:
1. Njal's Saga (13th century)
2. The Saga of the People of Laxardal (13th century)
3. A Texas Cowboy: or, Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony by Charlie Siringo (1885)
4. The Virginian by Owen Wister (1902)
Films:
5. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
6. Lone Star (1996)


* Which reminds me, I have some Icelandic links to share:
- Professor Jesse Byock's Viking Site, including information on The Mosfell Archaeological Project
- Icelandic Sagas Page, including links to online texts
- Icelandic Sagas Archive
- Icelandic Lore from the Internet Sacred Text Archive
- "Private Creation and Enforcement of Law: A Historical Case" by David Friedman
- "Privatization, Viking Style: Model or Misfortune?" by Roderick T. Long

And, more generally...

- The Online Medieval and Classical Library (OMACL)
- Luminarium, a general online library filled with online texts divided into Medieval, Renaissance, and 17th Century categories


Iceland is known to men as a land of volcanoes, geysers and glaciers. But it ought to be no less interesting to the student of history as the birthplace of a brilliant literature in poetry and prose, and as the home of a people who have maintained for many centuries a high level of intellectual cultivation. It is an almost unique instance of a community whose culture and creative power flourished independently of any favouring material conditions. and indeed under conditions in the highest degree unfavourable. Nor ought it to be less interesting to the student of politics and laws as having produced a Constitution unlike any other whereof records remain and a body of law so elaborate and complex, that it is hard to believe that it existed among men whose chief occupation was to kill one another.
-James Bryce, Studies in History and Jurisprudence 263 (1901)
eldritchhobbit: (Default)
I am back from a fantastic week in breathtaking Iceland. The "Liberty and Property in the 21st Century" conference was extremely thought-provoking and productive for me, and my trips in Reykjavik (on the day of the Reykjavik Marathon!) and Thingvellir were enchanting. The beauty of the country's land and history was simply stunning: no wonder great minds from Sturluson and Tolkien to Verne and Laxness have been inspired by the "Pearl of the North."

If anyone is interested in seeing the photos I took during my stay, you can access them all HERE.

Or, if you would like just a sample, my favorites are the following:
* Hallgrimskirkja (church) and the statue of Leifur Eiriksson in Reykjavik,
* the cemetery in "Old Town" Reykjavik,
* the falls and cliffs of Thingvellir, and
* Thingvallabaer (farmhouse at the site of 1,000 anniversary of the Althing) and Thingvallakirkja (church built on the site of one of Iceland's first churches) at Thingvellir.

And happy late birthday to [livejournal.com profile] euclase, who celebrated the occasion while I was gone. I hope you had a fantastic day, and will enjoy many, many more to come!

I am dreadfully jetlagged and facing the first meetings of my classes in two days, so I may be a bit slow to catch up with everyone, but I will do my best. I look forward to learning all I missed and being back in touch with all of you in LJ-land!

And a quote for the day:

"When reindeers run with wolves, they have to howl."
from Halldor Laxness (Iceland's Nobel Laureate in Literature), from a personal letter

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