Showing posts from October, 2017

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?

Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : XI. Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor

The trees have fallen and the Silmarils lost.  Teleperion bears one last flower of silver, and Laurelin a single fruit of gold, which were taken and put into vessels to hang in the sky as great lamps.  With these lamps they resolve to illuminate Middle Earth, bringing light to the people's there and hindering Melkor's (literally) dark deeds. Good news: the Valar have a solid idea that they need to actually pay attention to Melkor and the danger he poses. Bad news: with the arrival of humans imminent (plus the waking of the dwarves), waging war on Melkor might take out the life they're charged with preparing the world for. Isil the Sheen the Vanyar of old named the Moon, flower of Telperion in Valinor; and Anar the Fire-golden, fruit of Laurelin, they named the Sun.  But the Noldor named them also Rana, the Wayward, and Vasa, the Heart of Fire, that awakens and consumes; for the Sun was set as a sign for the awakening of Men and the waning of the Elves, but the Moon ch

Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : X. Of the Sindar

We change gears for a bit, looking at the Sindar, those that started the "Great Journey," but who stayed in Beleriand instead of crossing the ocean.  After all, there's more than just Valinor. I have to assume if you're reading The Silmarillion   you're at least vaguely familiar with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit .  But if you aren't, I hope that the fact that Tolkien makes specific mention of the birth of L ú thien stands out.  Spoiler, she's kind of a big deal, and not just because she's the daughter of the Maiar Melian and the Elven King Thingol. The focus here is of the meeting of the Dwarves and the Elves, and what came of that meeting.  The Elves experienced a bit of a shock on learning they were not the only creatures who spoke and crafted (Valar and Maiar excluded, of course).  The dirty secret being, of course, that the Dwarves predate the Elves, and were just in forced hibernation for awhile.  The Dwarves keep their secrets thou

[Book Review] A Scandal in Battersea

A Scandal in Battersea (Elemental Masters) / Mercedes Lackey The Christmas season has come to London, along with a new moon, and there are things that take advantage of the dark of night (reviewer aside - why Christmas Eve and not Solstice?) .  Among all the gifts and cheer, a Book finds its way into the hands of a resentful young man who desires power.  What starts as a sacrifice and invocation, soon proves dark and alien, to a dangerous end. So.  Mercedes Lackey has written a story with Lovecraftian flavor.  This has resulted in probably the coziest "C'thulhu Mythos" story I have ever encountered.  Note: there is no direct reference in name or language to the Mythos, but the traits are heavily present throughout.  It also gives us more of her vision of Sherlock Holmes & Co, as introduced in  A Study in Sable , and stars the ever steady Nan, Sarah, and their birds.  If you want more Nan and Sarah, or just want cozy Mythos story, give it a try.  If the idea of

Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : IX. Of the Flight of the Noldor

The Trees are dead, their light existing now only in the Silmarils wrought by Fëanor.  So, of course, they ask Fëanor to release the light within his Masterwork so that Yavanna might heal the Trees.  Of all the Valar, only Aulë the Maker understood exactly how much they asked of Fëanor, the destruction of his life's work and a piece of himself, and being asked by beings of greater power and authority so that a request weighs as heavy as an obligation.  During this debate of action, Melkor slips into the home of Fëanor, killing his father and Silmarils.  In his anger and grief Fëanor curses Melkor, naming him Morgoth, and holding Manwë in part responsible for keeping him away from his father and his home in a time of need.  In this grief he claims the kingship of the Noldor and calls on his people to leave "the kin of my father's slayer and of the thief of my treasure."  And in this he calls for freedom from the Valar, speaks of what the Noldor lost by coming to this p

October Read: Viscera

Sometimes I put a book on my book club list because I desperately want to read it but other books keep getting in the way.  Yes, this is a problem in my life. I discovered Gabriel Squallia when we were co-panelists for Lovecraftian Intimacy: Body Horror & Mind Melds at Arisia 2016 .  Long story short, I found Squallia inventive and fascinating, descriptions which I would both apply to their first novel, Dead Boys .  Viscera promises fantasy, horror, comedy, wit, and wonders.  Sounds like a good October read to me.