eldritchhobbit: (Elsewhere)
* If 1) while reading C.S. Lewis you've ever been troubled by the problem of Susan Pevensie, and/or 2) you love Doctor Who, by all means read "The Solution of Susan." In less than half a page, it packs more of a punch than some novels I've read. Thank you, The Hero of Three Faces.

* In other news, my most recent "Looking Back into Genre History" segment is up on the latest episode of StarShipSofa, and in it I discuss the great Ada Lovelace. If you listen, I hope you enjoy!

* My inspiration for this episode is a new book for middle readers that I highly recommend to young and old alike.


In The Case of the Missing Moonstone (Wollstonecraft Detective Agency #1), Jordan Stratford brings together the mother of modern science fiction, Mary Shelley, and the world's first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, as girls (14 and 11, respectively). In honor of the feminist writings of Mary's late mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, the two create the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency. They use science to solve the mystery of the missing moonstone. There is so much to love here: clever dialogue, evocative description, action, and intelligent young women using their reason.

For young readers, the novel serves as an introduction of sorts to the intellectual history of the Victorian era; for those who are already in the know, the inside jokes and loving homages are a treat. The mystery is a retelling of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, the first great detective novel in English. Percy B. Shelley and Charles Dickens play key roles in the tale, as do mesmerism and Newgate Prison.

The book ends with a discussion of the real history behind Ada, Mary, Wollstonecraft, The Moonstone, and the other ingredients of the story, and Stratford makes it clear when and why he's taken liberties with the past (for example, in narrowing the real gap between the ages of his protagonists so they have the chance to be young heroines together).

This is a perfect storm of inspiration, entertainment, and education. I'm already making plans to put a copy of this book into the hands of the young readers I know.
eldritchhobbit: (HP/RonHermione/Freshmen)
Looking ahead to a class discussion of wizard rock (or "wrock"), I was pleased to see that the We Are Wizards documentary is now available on YouTube. There are also trailers and clips from The Wizard Rockumentary: A Movie About Rocking and Rowling on the official website.

FYI, if you're in the mood for some "retail therapy"...

* My awesome sister (you know, the tornado chaser) has opened "Thunder and Lightning," a KitsyLane jewelry and accessories boutique, so I invite you to check it out. In addition, her Etsy shop is Stormy Sky Designs. Yay!

* Peadar Ó Guilín's brilliant Bone World Trilogy is now complete with the new release of The Volunteer. Don't miss the dystopian goodness.

* Speaking of science fiction series, Jeff Carlson now has a sequel to his thriller The Frozen Sky. Betrayed is "Vonnie vs. the sunfish"; who can say no to that?

* I was sad to hear that Strange Chemistry is closing its doors. If you're interested in any Strange Chemistry book titles, this would be a good time to get them! I recommend the YA steampunk Emilie duology (Emilie and the Hollow World and Emilie and the Sky World) by Martha Wells.

Last but not least, I finally chose new glasses. Dark blue in front and bronzey-gold on the sides, they're bookverse Ravenclaw house colors, so they had to be mine! Nerdhood rocks!

Pics or it didn't happen. )
eldritchhobbit: (HP/Absent friends)
I had a wonderful time at ConCarolinas. I caught up with some old friends, made some new ones, traded book recommendations, and talked Arthur Conan Doyle, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Suzanne Collins to my heart's content. At Jonah Knight's fantastic concert, I also got to hear a new track ("The First") from his next steampunk album, and it was brilliant. I'm a huge fan of his first steampunk album, The Age of Steam: Strange Machines, and now I'm most excited for the sequel.

And now, links to share:

* On the latest from StarShipSofa -- which marks my sixth-year anniversary working with the podcast -- I begin a three-part "History of the Genre" special about reading Harry Potter in a Native American context. It's here in Episode #340. If you listen, I hope you enjoy!

* Speaking of Harry Potter, Professor Sara Martin Alegre taught the first university course on Harry Potter in Spain, and as a result she and her English Studies students have put together a new English-language book they are sharing for free: Addictive and Wonderful: The Experience of Reading the Harry Potter Series.

* Last year I attended the "Joss in June" academic conference on Joss Whedon studies and thoroughly enjoyed the presentations. I'm happy to say that now the "Joss in June" special double issue of Slayage: The Journal of the Joss Whedon Studies Association is online for general access. Check out these great essays! In particular, don't miss this treat: "Exploring Cabins in the Whedonverse Woods" by my former graduate student, Curtis A. Weyant.

* Read Kurt Vonnegut's 1973 letter to the man burning his books.

* It's that time again. Here are my work-in-progress lists of English-language young adult dystopian novels and secondary sources about them. If you have any recommendations or suggestions for me of works I should include, I'd be most grateful if you'd let me know! Thanks so much.
List 1: English-Language Young Adult Dystopian Novels, 1960-1999 (with links)
List 2: English-Language Young Adult Dystopian Novels, 2000-Present (with links)
List 3: A Select Bibliography of Secondary Sources on YA Dystopian Fiction (with links)

My Autographed Copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
eldritchhobbit: (Hobbit/Bilbo)
My latest unabridged narration for StarShipSofa, which is of Nicole Kornher Stace's story "To Seek Her Fortune" (from Clockwork Phoenix 3), is now available to stream or download on the latest episode of the podcast. If you listen, I hope you enjoy! (A full list of links to my unabridged dramatic readings is here.)

The latest behind-the-scenes blog from The Hobbit shows some instantly identifiable moments from the novel, including a wonderful (and moving) glimpse of Bilbo when he's climbed to the top of the oak in Mirkwood. .

"Sorry! I don't want any adventures, thank you. Not today. Good morning! But please come to tea - any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Come tomorrow! Good-bye!"
- Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit
eldritchhobbit: (Colour Out of Space)

It's September! It's September! Fringe and Chuck return, and The Event premieres. Only three weeks until the joint birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. Only thirty days until my favorite month of the year. Starbucks is serving pumpkin lattes again, and Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is selling a limited edition pumpkin latte fragrance that is out of this world, and so it smells like the best season of the year, even if the thermometer doesn't quite yet reflect the feeling of fall.

Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] marthawells and [livejournal.com profile] aragornlover! May you enjoy many happy returns of the day.

I have some links to share:

I'll leave you with the "Particle Physics Song" interpreted by the CERN Choir, performing in the CERN Control Centre:

"By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer."
- Helen Hunt Jackson, September

Modest May

May. 3rd, 2010 09:55 am
eldritchhobbit: (Dr. Who - Eccleston)
Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] idwoman, and happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] vyrdolak and [livejournal.com profile] lyria_theringer. May you all enjoy many happy returns of the day!

* I have just confirmed that I will be a guest at two forthcoming science fiction conventions: ReConStruction: The 10th North American Science Fiction Convention in 2010 and MarsCon in 2011.

* Steampunk Scholar has updated the Steampunk Primary Reading List, Steampunk Secondary Sources Reading List, and Steampunk Audiobook List.

* My heart goes out to my friends, colleagues, and students in Nashville. Please take care and stay dry and safe.

* Thanks to everyone who took part in my poll about your favorite Doctor(s) in Doctor Who. As of this posting, the results are as follows:

Favorite Doctors in Doctor Who
Tom Baker (the winner)
Christopher Eccleston
David Tennant
Matt Smith
Jon Pertwee and Peter Davison (tie)
Sylvester McCoy

We're having a grey and stormy day here today, which makes Virginia yawn:

Virginia yawning

"What potent blood hath modest May."
- Ralph W. Emerson
eldritchhobbit: (Cherokee Nation)

* My unabridged narration of one of this year's Nebula Award nominees, Will McIntosh's chilling short story "Bridesicle," is now available to stream or download on the latest episode of StarShipSofa. The episode also includes great segments from Mur Lafferty and Cheryl Morgan, as well as an interview with legendary author Gene Wolfe. If you listen, I hope you enjoy!

* Just a reminder for those of you in/near North Carolina this Friday: at the invitation of the Friends of the Rudisill Library, I will be giving my presentation "'I Take My Life in My Hand': A Tale of Two Cherokees and the Trail of Tears" at Lenoir-Rhyne University on Friday, March 12. I also will be signing books after my talk. The evening is free and open to the public. More information is here.

* I am so pleased that K.W. Jeter's pioneering steampunk novel Morlock Night will soon be back in print!

* Speaking of steampunk, The Book Smugglers are celebrating "Steampunk Week" this week, beginning with "Steampunk Week: An Introduction and a Primer."

* Parajunkee's View is hosting a giveaway for Rachel Ward's novel Num8ers.

* Karin's Book Nook is celebrating three years with a blogoversary giveaway of the Mortal Instruments trilogy by Cassandra Clare.

"I know I take my life into my hand... We can die, but the great Cherokee Nation will be saved. They will not be annihilated; they can live. Oh, what is a man worth who will not dare to die for his people? Who is there here that would not perish, if this great nation may be saved?" - Elias Boudinot, 1835
eldritchhobbit: (Tori/January)
Several of my friends celebrate birthdays in the next few days. Many happy returns of the day to [livejournal.com profile] scribblerworks, [livejournal.com profile] mjolnir1964, [livejournal.com profile] altariel, [livejournal.com profile] pwilkinson, [livejournal.com profile] lukeski, [livejournal.com profile] thrihyrne, [livejournal.com profile] eyesdelight, [livejournal.com profile] seemag, and [livejournal.com profile] pinkfinity. May each of you enjoy a wonderful year to come.

I'll be appearing at MarsCon 2010 at the end of this week. Here's my con schedule:

* Panel at 10pm: Podcasting: What's Hot, What's Next!

* Presentation at 11am: You Say Shoggoth, I Say Hobbit: The H.P. Lovecraft-J.R.R. Tolkien Connection
* Book Signing/Autograph Session at 3pm

* Panel at 12 noon: Young Adult Science Fiction: Classic Traditions and Current Trends

In other news...

* The blog for Walking Tree Publishers, which specializes in Tollkien-related books, has been syndicated for LiveJournal as [livejournal.com profile] walking_treepub.

* The bimonthly St. Austin Review, which calls itself “the premier international journal of Catholic culture, literature, and ideas”, has just released its January/February 2010 issue, with a special emphasis on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Matthew P. Akers' essay "Distributism in the Shire" is available as a free download.

* Lavie Tidhar asks "What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Steampunk?"

"What are you looking at so hard, Dad?"
"I was looking for Earthian logic, common sense, good government, peace and responsibility."
"All that up there?"
"No. I didn't find it. It's not there any more. Maybe it'll never be there again. Maybe we fooled ourselves that it was ever there."
- Ray Bradbury, "The Million Year Picnic"
eldritchhobbit: (WWW/Steampunk Artie Animated)
Happy Wednesday, everyone! My latest "History of the Genre" segment is up at StarShipSofa: The Audio Science Fiction Magazine, and it's about the first work of modern steampunk: the fantastic television series The Wild Wild West. The episode is available for download or streaming here. If you listen, I hope you enjoy.

With thanks to [livejournal.com profile] agentxpndble, here's a lovely visual to accompany my segment. Ah, the sweet smell of steampunk!

The Wild Wild West: Steampunk!

In other news...

* From Publishers Weekly: "In Defense of Dystopia."

* From Jeff Vandermeer: "The Next Big Punking," which builds on "Make Way for Plaguepunk, Bronzepunk, and Stonepunk" from Wired.

* Speaking of steampunk, here's a list of steampunk audiobooks.

* Last, AMC's new miniseries of The Prisoner is finally over; there goes six hours of my life I will never have again. I was both hopeful and nervous about it. As it turns out, only the anxiety was justified. What a terrible disappointment in execution, in tone, and especially in message. I'll let io9 take it from here. Although my list would be far longer, I appreciate the symbolism: "Six Things the New Prisoner Changed for the Worse." Patrick McGoohan, how I miss you.

"As my Great-Aunt Maude always used to say: 'Artemus, if you can't win the game, the next best thing is to upset the chessboard!'"
- Artemus Gordon, "The Night of the Bogus Bandits," The Wild Wild West
eldritchhobbit: (Halloween)

Recently my friend, comic book writer Dwight L. MacPherson, and his artist colleague Igor Noronha, won the comics competition at Zuda Comics for their steampunk comic Sidewise, which meant that Sidewise would become an ongoing series. Well, this month the new Sidewise comic has debuted, and it's perfect Halloween reading! Here's the premise: When Adam Graham traveled back in time to Victorian London, he never dreamed he’d be fighting for his life against robots, science-sorcerers, a ruthless state assassin, and a dead Queen’s brain!

And here's the trailer:

Read Sidewise here.

Spooky Text of the Day: Today's story is a chilling one, "Ombra" by Mrs. Richard S. Greenough (1827-1885).

"Feign sleep, whatever happens," she muttered below her breath as she passed near me, bearing away the fragments left from my supper.

I closed my eyes and lay in no enviable frame of mind. All the strange and sinister tales that I had heard in my childhood returned upon my mind, blending with the wailing of the wind, and slow, continuous falling of the rain without, - for, although the fury of the storm had passed, the elements had not yet sunk to rest, - and with the light step of the girl within as she moved backwards and forwards.

Read the complete story here.
eldritchhobbit: (SF/Travel to Distant Worlds)
Happy Father's Day to everyone who is a father (biological, step, or otherwise, to two-footed or four-footed children)! Also, happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] belleferret and [livejournal.com profile] valancourtbooks, with best wishes for many happy returns of the day!

I have a few links to share:

* Eldritch Dark has a number of downloadable audio versions of the stories, poems, and non-fiction writings of Weird Tales author Clark Ashton Smith here.

* At Omivoracious, guest blogger China Miéville dicusses literary movements in "Neither a Contract Nor a Promise: Five Movements To Watch Out For."

* The editor of the forthcoming Shine anthology of "optimistic science fiction" discusses reasons some authors turned down the invitation to contribute: "Why I Can’t Write a Near Future, Optimistic SF story: the Excuses."

* From io9: Samuel Delany Answers Your Science Fiction Questions."

* And, last but not least, Star Trek goes steampunk in Steam Punk: The Moving Picture (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jagash):

"One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters."
- George Herbert
eldritchhobbit: (MST3K/Plot device)
Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] gypsyjr! May you have an excellent day and a most wonderful year to come.

* Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily has a useful Steampunk Roundup links post.

* I have made significant updates to my working lists of dystopian fiction. Recommendations and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

--My Working List of Dystopian Fiction )

--My Working List of Young Adult Dystopian Fiction, With Links )

And a quote for the day...

"He misses Sirius Black,
And Michael Gambon's acting's crap.
Yeah, this is definitely the year for wizard angst..."

- from "The Year Harry Went Emo" by Peeved


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