Showing posts from November, 2017

Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : XVI. Of Maeglin

I suppose it's semi-redundant to say any particular chapter exists to introduce characters and set the stage, as we're reading a "history" text... but this chapter introduces us to characters and sets the stage. The really short summary is the daughter of Fingolfin goes on walkabout, gets ensnared in a marriage, has a kid, then goes back home, sacrifices herself to keep her kid alive, and her kid brings glory to the Noldor while slowly becoming consumed with envy and anger. Aredhel Ar-Feiniel, the White Lady of the Noldor, daughter of Fingolfin, once roamed far and wide in the realm of Valinor.  Now she lives within the bounds of Gondolin, under the rule of her brother Turgon... and after 200 years she's had enough of living in one spot.  When asked for permission to explore again, brother dear wanted her to do so his way.  If you haven't noticed by now, Tolkien rarely writes women who simply concede to what the men around them want.  So Turgon sends his g

Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : XV. Of the Noldor in Beleriand

A summary of this chapter could be "the sins of the fathers come to haunt the sons."  The elves as a whole prosper, but the Noldor suffer from their alienation of he Valar and their infringement on the established elven societies.  The Doom of Mandos hangs over them, the threat of treason from within, rather like the Sword of Damocles.  Adding to comparisons, Melian is Thingol's Cassandra, who seems to get the "don't worry your pretty head" treatment quite a bit for some reason. Regardless of Galadriel's careful omissions, and her speaking true when she says she is not under the shadow of evil, the truth (and rumors) come out.  And so, the language of the Noldor is banned, Sindar shall not speak or answer to the language.  The most profound moment comes for me at the end, when King Finrod Felagund says "An oath I too shall swear, and must be free to fulfil it, and go into darkness.  Nor shall anything of my realm endure that a son should inherit.&

Legend of the Stars 2

This weekend, we lived a Gothic Horror/Romance.  With space wizards and light sabers.  On a real life heavy cruiser.  I did horrible things to amazing people, causing characters emotional trauma and player tears.  I lost track of the number of times friends told me they hated me or that I was the worst as they gleefully went deeper into the dark places of the plot. Not only that, I portrayed a space wizard ghost trapped in a ship and who thinks its the AI. Sometimes, life is pretty sweet. I also admit that I'm a strange person. When I was invited to contribute to Legends of the Stars 2 ( website , Facebook ), I think I had a bit of a brain glitch.  Really?  They wanted me to contribute?  Holy crap .  We'll hand wave the ensuing anxiety of whether or not it was a true invite that lasted through my first story development meeting up until I was officially on the writing team. This made for one of my top LARP experiences so far.  I'm still buzzing from it. I'

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

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

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. :dies: