Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : XIV. Of Beleriand and its Realms

I'm keeping this one short and sweet, in part because this is the type of chapter that is very hard for me to read.  In short, Of Beleriand and it's Realms is a narrative description of a map and the prominent names attached.  It would make a rather lovely graphic, the map with tags for the different areas and the data sectioned accordingly.  Actually, I'm pretty sure I've seen it as such, but life has me a bit swamped, so I'm cheating on this one, and moving on.

November Read: Grass

I'm taking time to re-read some of my favorites, like I need an excuse to re-read Tepper.  I haven't read Grass since high school, so it should prove interesting what I remember and what I missed.  I know there are layers and connections I didn't see on my first read, including the connection between Grass and Raising the Stones and Sideshow.  It goes without saying that there are likely nuances I'll pickup on as an adult that I missed as a teen.

I'm a few chapters in already, and may need to go on and finish the trilogy once I'm finished up.

[Book Review] Viscera

Viscera / Gabriel Squailia

No one writes quite like Squailia.  I met her when we were both on a panel about body horror, and shortly afterwards looked up her book, Dead Boys.  It was strange, creepy, creative, and wonderful.

So that brought me to eagerly looking forward to reading Viscera, and it seemed like a good choice for an October read, so here we are.  Viscera is dark, funny, weird, creepy, unexpected, and human.  I also see a lot of what Squailia talked about in the panel, particularly at looking at gender dysmorphia in the framing of body horror. Excellent novel that I could not put down.

Discussion Fodder:
What are the different approaches to morality in the book?  How do the characters construct and frame their lives and behaviors?  Think of Ashlan, Hollis, followers of Fortune, and the Puppeteer.How do the Gods fit into the story and the shape of the characters lives?How does the author write gender and identity?What genre would you say this book should be classified as?  H…

Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : XIII. Of the Return of the Noldor

The Return of the Noldor, perhaps a bit less successful than The Return of the King, but that's due to how early it is in our story still.

The focus of the recounting hides Morgoth's motivations and intents, beyond "crush my enemies."  So when the Noldor set a great beacon of their activities by burning the ships at Losgar, plus failed to remain particularly inconspicuous along their journey... the host of Morgoth decides to pay a visit.  Though in exile (voluntary or involuntary) from Valinor, the Norgoth still bear the grace of the light of Aman, and make quick work of the sudden foes.

I'm not quite sure if "Evil indeed were the tidings that came at last to Angband, and Morgoth was dismayed," is really the best way that Tolkien could have worded it.    Something about "evil tidings" to the closest incarnation to evil this world has and all that.  But it gets a point across.  The Noldor, even without fortification or preparation, make for a f…

What was I thinking?

Somehow I got myself involved in writing for four LARP events going off this month, including the MES North East Regional Showcase and Legend of the Stars, Run 2.  It's made things a bit interesting around here.

I also wrote another Escape Room and ran it at my library, and am running a rework of the one I ran this summer at another library.

And the 14th sees Elizabeth Bear and Scott Lynch visiting my library for an author event I organized.


Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : XII. Of Men

And at the start of the new Age, the Valar rested.  We've got a bit of a pattern here, but on the other hand, we have the equivalent of children or teenagers running the planet.  Immortality, powers of creation, and honestly little to do but entertain themselves besides the occasional scurry to pick up all the dirty socks off the floor does not do a whole lot for developing a work ethic or a sense of responsibility.

So with little notice or fanfare, the Younger Children of Iluvatar awake in Middle Earth.  The Elves greeted Men like an unwanted sibling, and the Valar are the absent parent.  The metaphor isn't perfect, but it's close enough.

With the Sun in the sky checking Morgoth's power, Men and Elves become great allies.  Together they  strive against the hosts of Morgoth, though Men were more fragile than the Elves, vulnerable to sickness and more easily slain.  But in time, division grows between the races, Morgoth triumphs, and the Elves wane while Men flourish.  …

[Book Review] Dhalgren

Dhalgren / Samuel R. Delany

This was the September book club pick.  The first thing that struck me was that the writing was far more lyrical than I expected.  The narrative twines through the city and an examination of writing itself, while experiencing almost a dissociation from time and the main character itself.  It's definitely a book I think my enjoyment of depends a lot on my state of mind, as does what I take away from it.  I'm truly not sure what I think of it.

Discussion Fodder:
What is happening in this story?How does author talk about race, gender, and sexuality?Do the decades since publication change the impact and context of the book?How does Delany make use of (or subvert) literary traditions and narrative cycles?