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Happy Birthday, Ralph Waldo Emerson!

Happy birthday to Ralph Waldo Emerson (25 May, 1803 – 27 April, 1882)!

"Explore, and explore, and explore. Be neither chided nor flattered out of your position of perpetual inquiry. Neither dogmatise yourself, nor accept another's dogmatism. Why should you renounce your right to traverse the star-lit deserts of truth, for the premature comforts of an acre, house, and barn? Truth also has its roof, and bed, and board. Make yourself necessary to the world, and mankind will give you bread, and if not store of it, yet such as shall not take away your property in all men's possessions, in all men's affections, in art, in nature, and in hope."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Literary Ethics" (1838)


Happy Towel Day!

Happy Towel Day!

towelday


"A towel, [The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

"More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost." What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with."

— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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Happy Birthday, Arthur Conan Doyle!

Happy birthday to Arthur Conan Doyle (22 May, 1859 – 7 July, 1930)!

Portrait of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


"I had no idea that such individuals exist outside of stories."
- Dr. Watson in Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet (1887)

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Today the second part of my two-part "Looking Back on Genre History" discussion of the intersection between Star Trek and Arthurian literature is up on StarShipSofa.
- Here is Part 1 (on Episode 431).
- Here is Part 2 (on Episode 436).

If you listen, I hope you enjoy!


Image from Book of Prophecy by Gloria Fry (referenced in my "Looking Back on Genre History" segment), MJ Press, 1995, artwork by Maggie Symon

Happy Birthday, Daphne du Maurier!

Happy Friday the 13th, everyone!

And happy birthday to Daphne du Maurier (13 May, 1907 – 19 April, 1989)!

Daphne du Maurier books


“I suppose sooner or later in the life of everyone comes a moment of trial. We all of us have our particular devil who rides us and torments us, and we must give battle in the end.”
― Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (1938)

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Gratuitous Niece Picspam

Because couldn't you use another smile in your day?

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May The Fourth Be With You!

Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth be with you!

It is a brilliant time to be a Star Wars fan, my friends.

And thanks to my fantastic mother, the handmade gang is all here with me:



While I'm giving grateful shout outs, my wonderful sister created this pattern for BB-8. (The pattern and the finished droid are available at her Etsy shop here.)



I hope your day is a great one!

My RavenCon Schedule

I'm very excited about heading off shortly to a truly fantastic convention, RavenCon. This year's schedule looks terrific! I'm looking forward to seeing some of you there.

I plan to post updates from the con on my Twitter feed.




Here is the schedule of my events at the con:

Friday
5pm: "Sherlock Holmes and Science Fiction" (This is my solo presentation.)
7pm: Opening Ceremonies

Saturday
11am: "Star Wars Literature: New Canon and Legends" (I'm moderating this panel.)
2pm: "Going Where No Man Has Gone Before: Roddenberry's Star Trek vs. Abrams' Star Trek" (I'm moderating this panel.)
5pm: "Podcasting"

Miscellaneous Genre News

Hello, everyone! Happy Friday!

* I'm delighted to be part of the ensemble cast who narrated the amazing "The Four Generations of Chang E" by Zen Cho for the latest episode of The Drabblecast. If you listen, I hope you enjoy!



* Here's a new Call for Papers that may be useful: "Monster Media in their Historical Contexts."

* If you're interested in the updates J.K. Rowling has been making at Pottermore and/or the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films, I recommend checking out Chris Calderon's recent "The Allegory of Fantastic Beasts" guest posts on the Hogwarts Professor blog.

* Last, I'm happy to say that my essay "His Fordship in the Capitol and Big Brother in the Districts: The Hunger Games and the Modern Dystopian Tradition" is now out in the collection Critical Insights: The Hunger Games Trilogy edited by Lana Whited.

Happy 200th birthday, Charlotte Brontë!

Happy birthday to Charlotte Brontë (21 April, 1816 – 31 March, 1855)!

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

Jane and I

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