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"a world apart"

I'm sorry for being so quiet of late. I've been dealing with some health issues that affect my vision, doing the whole hospital test thing, and that's slowed me down considerably. I'll do my best not to be absent long, but I'm not yet on the mend, so I apologize in advance if I'm slow at catching up with everyone.

That said, I had a wonderful time giving my keynote address ("Pushing the Boundaries of English Studies: From Middle-earth to Hogwarts") at the English Studies Symposium this past Saturday, and I'd like to thank everyone at Tennessee Tech University for their terrific hospitality!

In addition, I'd like to wish a happy early birthday to bellatook and thepirateship. I hope you both have fantastic days and fabulous years to come!

I also have some links to share:

Re: Audio

* Librivox.org has added a new unabridged reading of the remarkable The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson, a classic work of weird fiction and a significant influence on H.P. Lovecraft.

* I am a great fan of the music put out by the Prikosnovenie label. Now Prikosnovenie has a sampler called "The Four Winds of Prikosnovenie" for free download here featuring artists such as Artesia and Aythis, among others. Give it a listen!


Re: Reading

* The list of finalists for this year's Hugo Awards includes links to many of the works available online.

* Among the finalists for this year's Bram Stoker Awards is the short story "Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment" by M. Rickert, which I narrated for StarShipSofa here.

* The finalists for this year's Prometheus Awards from the Libertarian Futurist Society have been announced.

* And, in non-awards news, Abebooks has a nifty list of post-apocalyptic fiction here.


"You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain;
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care.
As the peach-blossom flows down stream and is gone into the unknown,
I have a world apart that is not among men."
- Li Bai

Comments

( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
vulpine137
Mar. 25th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
feel better *sends good eye thoughts your way*
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 11:38 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Good thoughts are most appreciated.
beledibabe
Mar. 25th, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)
Yikes! I'm so sorry to hear you've been having problems, but am heartened by the fact that you say you're on the mend. Quick healing! Rapid mending!

Hope you're back on form soon.
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 11:38 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Good thoughts are most appreciated.
estellye
Mar. 25th, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC)
I do hope your health issues are resolved well and quickly! I know how draining it can be just to deal with all the testing, much less not feeling well (and vision difficulties, gah!). I'll send some extra healing thoughts your way!

I'm glad you were able to enjoy the symposium! I look forward to hearing your presentation in Richmond.

*hugs!*
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 11:39 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Draining is right. Your good thoughts are most appreciated.

I'm really excited about Richmond, especially about seeing you. It won't be long now! *hugs*
estellye
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
I hope you're feeling better!

And thanks for the reminder! I hadn't made my hotel reservations yet for Ravencon or ConCarolinas. Now I have a bed for both, so that's a bonus, lol. So far it looks like I'm coming on my own to both. That will be different! I'll have to be prepared to be a little extroverted and meet people.

I'm really looking forward to seeing you!
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

We will have so much fun. I need to remember to send you my new cell number before we go, though I'm sure we'll find each other easily enough, since we're drawn to a lot of the same kinds of panels/talks/etc. I can't wait to se you!

As for ConCarolinas, it looks like several of my Tolkienian friends from Nashville will be coming: witchcat07 and arymetore, who are a wonderful married couple, and possibly sailingwest, as well, who is a fantastic and fun lady. They all are part of the same Tolkien Society smial I was a part of, and they're also great costumers, too. I think you would get on together extremely well - I'd love to introduce you, either then or before then, if you'd like to get to know them online. I think sittingduck, brother/brother-in-law to the witchcat07/arymetore duo, will also be attending; I know him only from LJ, so it will be nice to get to meet in person.
estellye
Apr. 1st, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
I'll look forward to meeting your friends and flisters! I hope they come in garb if they are costumers! That will be fun to see. :D
elmwood
Mar. 25th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear about your eye troubles - and hoping that the mending continues.

The ABE list was interesting. Since there were only three there that I hadn't read I think you can say that I am a mite obsessed with post-apocalyptic fiction. Being a child during the cold war, and with a father who was a bomb disposal officer and given to gloomy lectures (one of his better lines when I was about ten and asking questions was, "Just pray you're close to the epicentre of the blast!), I think I can say that I come by it honestly.

I've been steadily working my way through the list you posted a while back of YA post-apocalyptic books and it's been interesting, clarifying a few things for me. I hadn't realised that my preference is for the end of the world as we know it. If it's too far in the future after such an event, my interest wanes. The nature of the world ending doesn't matter particularly, but it has to have been thought through and the internal logic has to be consistent. My favourite, at the moment, is Marcus Sedgewick's Floodland. I am probably biased as I am originally from East Anglia, living for years in Norwich.
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your good wishes!

(one of his better lines when I was about ten and asking questions was, "Just pray you're close to the epicentre of the blast!)

Yikes! I can see how that would translate into a love of post-apocalyptic literature; you were primed and ready for the genre! (By the way, have you read S.A. Bodeen's The Compound? I'd love to know your thoughts on it. Most of it takes place in an elaborate bomb shelter underground. I found it to be fascinating, but your background might give you an even better view on it.)

I really appreciate how these stories probe what makes us human, or what human nature truly is, by stripping characters and their conflicts down to the most basic and important questions. I would've added Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald and Mary's Country by Harold Mead to this list. I'm not familiar with The Devil's Children, Lucifer's Hammer, or The Rift, though, and I've only read about The Slynx. It looks like I have a lot more reading to do!

I also clearly need to get my hands on Sedgewick's Floodland. The premise sounded terrific, and your description of what you like best in these stories, coupled with your recommendation, convinces me that I'll absolutely love it.

I've been working through the list, as well. Most recently I've read The Sky Inside (very interesting ideas, but it loses focus at points), The Declaration (I may have to read the sequel to decide what I think about it - it's very much a revisitation of The Handmaid's Tale, but I'm not sure it completely meets your "thought through" and "internal logic" requirements as well as it should), and Uglies (fantastic premise, but the writing is quite disappointing - I wish I'd read a detailed summary and skipped the novel). So far, of the very recent ones, my favorites are Bad Faith (very near future with contemporary cultural references, built around a compelling murder mystery and with a wonderful "voice" for the POV character), The Hunger Games (farther in the future, in a redesigned and brutal North America), and Neptune's Children (set in the present day, with a biological attack that wipes out all adults - the ending is a bit too neat, but I thoroughly enjoyed the politics of the world the children try to create in the abandoned amusement park).

Off to get Floodland, before I forget...


Edited at 2009-03-27 01:34 pm (UTC)
elmwood
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
This is good - we are mostly reading different ones. I am trying to cut back on my book buying unless it's a book I know I will reread so I have been restricted by what my local library has.

I thought The Compound looked interesting but it's still on order so I haven't read it yet. I had the same reaction to Uglies as you did, but persevered through to Pretties after which I gave up. I liked the premise of The Hunger Games but couldn't get over a huge lack of tension generated by the choice of a first person narrative - since she was telling the story she had to survive, the only question on the table was how. I was talking about this with some other writer friends and one suggested that mine was too much of an adult sensibility, that teenagers they talked to about the book didn't think like that. Shusterman's Unwind is my least favourite so far. I just didn't buy into his basic premise. Michael Grant's Gone was a slick fast paced read, and that was probably what turned me off a little - the slickness which translated for me into a self conscious attempt to hit topical buttons and right a best seller. Perhaps I am being unfair here.
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 28th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC)
I've had really good luck with BookMooch and Bookins in finding used copies of some of the YA dystopias, which has made it very nice.

I'm so relieved to know you thought the same thing about Westerfeld's writing. I'm surprised at how successful the Uglies series seems to be - especially compared to, say, John Marsden's series, which I gather is still all but unknown outside of Australia, and (to my mind at least) ought to have a gigantic following. I also thought a lot of what Westerfeld accomplished in his world-building was done better in Feed, and that only required one book to convey its message.

I didn't get the same lack of tension in The Hunger Games, oddly enough, although now that you mention it, I see how that could happen. I think I was so fascinated by the world (especially how the games were "playing" to the audience at any given point), and so drawn into the secondary characters - Peeta, Rue, even Haymitch - that the story wasn't really about Katniss for me. She was a very useful and poignant POV character, but perhaps overall less interesting to me than many of the others, whose fates were in doubt for a long time.

I've been anxious to read Gone, since I've liked other works in which the adults are out of the picture, but it's good to be warned that it suffers from the "slickness" problem. I won't fall over myself to put that on the top of the list, then. I know what you mean about the self-conscious pushing of all of the topical buttons; it's not compelling in film, and it's not compelling in fiction, either. I was curious about Unwind just because it seemed so radically different in premise, and so dark, but I wasn't sure how credible the world would be. Hmmm. If the basic premise doesn't allow you to suspend disbelief, that's a problem, for certain!

I'm so glad to hear your thoughts on these - thank you! I agree; it's lovely that we've been reading different titles, so we can compare them.
theladyrose
Mar. 25th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
Glad to hear that you had a great time at the symposium, but I do hope your eye heals up soon!
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
agentxpndble
Mar. 25th, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
:::HUGS::: I wondered why you've been so quiet... I hope you will be ok! Sending healing vibes your way.
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks a million, my friend! *massively huge hugs*
(Deleted comment)
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:43 pm (UTC)
*big hugs back* Thank you so much!

By the way, that Apex Book of World SF looks like it will be excellent. I've got to get a copy. What a great idea!
ex_lbilover
Mar. 25th, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear about your health problems. I hope you *will* be on the mend soon. *hugs*
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. I really appreciate it! *hugs*
kalquessa
Mar. 25th, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear about the health problems, I hope you're doing much better soon! *hugs*
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. I really appreciate it! *hugs*
thepirateship
Mar. 25th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear about your health troubles. I hope everything will turn out okay. Get well soon.

Thank you for the birthday wishes!
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. I really appreciate it! And I hope your birthday is brilliant.
Abbie [wordpress.com]
Mar. 25th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
I'm glad your address at TN Tech went well!

Oh my...this doesn't sound fun. I hope your health improves! I know you're a super intense lady, but take it easy. We need you.
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your kind words and good wishes. They are most appreciated, and you've put a big smile on my face.
vyrdolak
Mar. 26th, 2009 02:32 am (UTC)
Please get well soon.
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. I'll do my best!
thehornedgod
Mar. 26th, 2009 04:11 am (UTC)
Hopefully you're just developing destructive eyebeams. :) Seriously, best wishes for early mendage.
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:45 pm (UTC)
LOL! Now that would be worth it. :) Thanks so much for your good thoughts!
gilda_elise
Mar. 26th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry for being so quiet of late. I've been dealing with some health issues that affect my vision, doing the whole hospital test thing, and that's slowed me down considerably. I'll do my best not to be absent long, but I'm not yet on the mend, so I apologize in advance if I'm slow at catching up with everyone.

Oh, I do hope you feel better soon.

I also have some links to share:

Re: Audio
* Librivox.org has added a new unabridged reading of the remarkable The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson, a classic work of weird fiction and a significant influence on H.P. Lovecraft.


It took me forever to get hold of a copy of this novel but it was certainly worth the trouble. A truly eerie story.
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 27th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the good wishes. They are most appreciated!

Eerie is definitely the right word. I found it as a tatty old used paperback (which gave it the perfect "feel") and I remember reading it the first time on a plane, creeping myself out thoroughly. I don't think I've ever looked at the faces of pigs quite the same way again!

vonjunzt
Mar. 28th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
I hope you get better soon!
eldritchhobbit
Mar. 28th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
thrihyrne
Apr. 2nd, 2009 05:08 am (UTC)
ACK! I don't know how I missed this post! I swear LJ sometimes filters out the posts of people I care about the most. :seethes: I do very much hope that you find out what's going on and that you're back to full health and proper vision very, very soon. I sent you a wee note this morning, so I'd been thinking about you. Thank you as always for your many offerings of downloads and writing/reading updates!

((((massive hugs))))
eldritchhobbit
Apr. 2nd, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
(((massive hugs right back at you))) Thank you so much, by friend. It's been... an adventure. Your good wishes are most appreciated. :) And I'm so sorry to hear you're not feeling well. I hope you're better soon, so you feel well and can enjoy some lovely singing next week! I apologize for being so quiet. I'm thinking of you, as always. (((more hugs)))
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

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