Little Boy Lost

The Librarian: Little Boy Lost by Eric Hobbs is a neat framing pastiche which sets up a premise where the Astoria Public Library (in nearby-ish to me Astoria, Oregon!) is magically connected to famous public domain fantasy worlds from other books, like Neverland, Wonderland, Oz. I couldn’t help but be interested in a story with a magical library. Definitely targeted at a younger audience, but it was still interesting enough as, mentioned already, a pastiche and a bit formulaic in places. I’m not likely to read the next installment, but it was good for a lark, and I’m sure it would be more fun for someone more in the directly intended audience.

There was one interesting thought I had while reading this that I’m not entirely sure was intended, but one of the themes is how the characters in the famous stories are trapped by the writing to repeat the same thing over and over forever. “It was the curse of living a life controlled by words on a page” was something I highlighted. They are trapped by the words in their books. This seemed an interesting allegory for me about people who let themselves be trapped in their lives by books, whether for escape or as sacred volumes. The thought I got from this was that people curse themselves by such things, and don’t let themselves live their own creative lives. To be sure, there’s a creative cosplay and fanfic way to engage with personally meaningful books, but there’s also a way to become small and narrow and diminished. The former seems fun and fine for everyone. The latter seems a true curse to not only themselves but the rest of us as well.

I made 6 highlights.

Summary for the month of Sept 2017

Here’s a summary of activity for September, 2017.

The cats and I are starting to feel the cold. We’re cuddling up and getting ready for more.

I’ve been adding some new litter boxes for the cats which don’t use dusty clay, and it’s been going okay so far. It’ll be a long process, but I’m really hoping to reduce the amount of heavy clay waste as well as the dusty clay in the air. With the windows just getting closed against the coming cold, it’s even better to have less dust in the air!

Over on Odd Order and Hermetic Library, the deadlines for submissions to the 2017 anthologies just past, so I’m working on getting submissions and playlists sorted for release.

I’ve been posting videos and streaming over on Odd Order as Rigaroga a bunch now with since that better Internet was installed. It’s been great to be able to get back to it. Also, I’ve been doing a series of solo RPG sessions. I’d really like to get into a weekly game or two with others, but I’ll keep doing solo sessions either way, I think.

I’ve also been trying to get a regular schedule for posting book reviews going, and that’s been working out so far. I’ve been posting them to my personal blog, but also over on GoodReads. Then, I syndicate those out to the blogs for Hermetic Library and Odd Order as well. You can see a bunch in this summary already, along with pictures of cats and food, and some other asides.

Well, it’s been a busy month, with getting ready for winter in real life as well as with activity online!

If you can, drop a buck in the tip jar or become a Patron to help me create a firm foundation with a Basic Income and also keep the cats healthy and happy!

Here’s a summary of posts on the blog from last month

The Golden Key

The Golden Key: And Other Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman collects three tales that presumably didn’t make the cut into Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version. It’s a bit like an outtakes reel, especially since in the introductory material Pullman seems to be shitting on these stories a strange amount. I started to wonder if this was something he was forced into doing, that he didn’t want to do, like Kurosawa being forced by his studio to do Sanjuro as a sequel to Yojimbo (so he went off the reservation, and subverted expectation).

I wasn’t familiar with these stories so they were new to me. Anyhow, they aren’t all that bad. There’s some good moments. It’s short.

I made 10 highlights.

Alighting on His Shoulders

Alighting on His Shoulders: Ten Tales From Sideways Worlds by T Thorn Coyle is a collection that hits so many different genre buttons it makes its own meta music. There’s a wide variety on offer here and within the ten stories there’s a lot of different things to like. For example, there’s a couple that reminded me of Charles de Lint‘s Newford sequence, there was an angels on earth Supernatural / The Prophecy offering, there was a modern gothic fairy tale feeling in another like The Night Circus or The Devil’s Carnival and maybe a little bit of Killer Klowns from Outer Space for me, and more. Each of the ten stories collected in this brief volume hits some grand genre button for me, and the whole feels far more engaging and fully realized than the short length of the volume would suggest.

Although I’ve long been familiar with T Thorn Coyle from her works on more occult subject matters, and have, to be clear, met her in person several times and so on; this was my first encounter with her fiction. I can honestly say that I’m definitely a fan, and can highly recommend this collection on its own merits.

Also, in passing, I wanted to mention that the work on the ebook formatting and production was extremely well-done, enough better than many and most that I noted it.

I made 22 highlights.

RIDE

RIDE from The Janos Corporation purports to be written by a pulp-era writer Henry Abner, and from “newly discovered manuscripts … currently being edited and released” after his death.

The fictional author Henry Abner is described as “the pen name of hard-boiled fiction author Henry Abner Sturdivant” who “had a long career in law enforcement, and served as the chief of police of Washington, Georgia from 1921 until his death in July of 1935”. When I looked there were no authoritative external references anywhere other than a Wikipedia page presented with a straight face for Henry Abner. I pretty much convinced myself that Henry Abner is as much a literary fiction as “his” works. Turns out now that Wikipedia page has since been deleted and there’s a talk page about Henry Abner’s page as hoax. Guess the actual author also created a gallery of shopped images which I didn’t find when I was looking, until now. But, you know, well played, I suppose: a little bit of promotional fun.

This book is first in the Tales from the Goddamned Lonely Universe series, for which there is another volume. There’s a third volume which is the first in The Goddamned Lonely Universe Saga, apparently a different series. Nothing new in either sequence has been released in the interim between my read and this review, and there doesn’t appear to be any discussion of other volumes on the JanosCorp website, so maybe that’s all we get, but if this collection is any indication of the others that’d be a shame, especially as it seems like there were plans for more.

RIDE is a collection of stories held together by the presence in them of a particular robotic taxi. I found a feeling of familiar fictional future here. The taxi reminds me of the one driven by Korben Dallas in The Fifth Element, and the neo-noir setting seems quite similar to the gritty, grungy future New York in that film. My mind also included Harry Canyon’s taxi story from Heavy Metal. There’s interstitials between each story with in-world ads, which adds a kind of Verhoeven touch, that for me included by indirect reference the feeling of Robocop‘s Detroit. The stories don’t feel dated; since, you know, they aren’t actually old that makes sense. It’s a fun and interesting collection for fans of the genre to dig in, and suggests a lot of promise for the other “Henry Abner” books, which I’ve already added to my to-read stack.

I made 4 highlights, but, hey, it’s short!

information…information…information!

Oh, wow, information…information…information! just released by Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling is the The Complete Prisoner Recordings so far in one go, and at name your own price prices! Great way for people to pick up everything in the sequence of tracks inspired by The Prisoner all at once.

Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling at The Prisoner Con 2017, 30 Sept, in Seattle

Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling will be performing at The Prisoner Con 2017, 30 Sept, in Seattle at the Broadway Performance Hall.

DO NOT FORSAKE ME OH MY DARLING
Sophia Cacciola & Michael Epstein

Musicians and Movie Makers–to name only a fraction of their creative catalog–Sophia and Michael have given fans a parallax soundtrack to each episode of The Prisoner through their music and videos as, Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling.

This tour-de-force duo have produced a brilliant collection of amazing albums that both embrace and enhance the visionary art of The Prisoner.

Sophia and Michael will enrapture us with musical performances and screenings of their videos throughout The Prisoner Con 2017.

Bohemian Society

Bohemian Society by Lydia Leavitt is a very short, around 50 pages, volume in which I made a around one highlight each page, so I’ll probably end up adding this old work to Hermetic Library, though, if there was a direct connection to the library subject matter, I’ve forgotten it. This is a story about a gathering where people tell stories within the story, an interesting historical snapshot of early 20th century society, and an interesting collection of stories. Here is an interesting, and perhaps not entirely imaginary, social circle in action, sharing ideas.

Well read and familiar with such writers as Tyndall, Huxley, Spencer and other scientists, and being rather cosmopolitan in tastes, liked to gather about her, people who had—as she termed it—ideas.

I made 52 highlights, some of which were truncated because of how many adjacent and lengthy highlights I made.

Unto Thee I Grant

Unto Thee I Grant: The Economy of Life by S Ramatherio is one volume in the AMORC book series. This work is also found in other editions, not from AMORC, as The Economy of Life and Infinite Wisdom published in 1923, from which the AMORC edition was probably derived.

Unto Thee I Grant as it appears here is an insipidly stupid collection of comically weak aphorisms written in an entirely unnecessarily pompous archaic style that falls victim to that familiar old fallacy of pretension to imaginary lineage and provenance.

Unto Thee I Grant also has historical interest as one of the sources that Drew Ali used to construct The Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America, along with Dowling’s The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ. So, the AMORC edition taken from another publication was taken for even yet another publication!

Some of this strange twisting history can be found discussed in Peter Lamborn Wilson’s Sacred Drift, especially page 21, and Roberto Tottoli’s Routledge Handbook of Islam in the West.

I made no highlights at all.

“You can make the argument that we are living in Peak Asshole”

This Stanford Professor Has a Theory on Why 2017 Is Filled With Jerks—Jessica Pressler; talking with Robert I Sutton about his books The No Asshole Rule and The Asshole Survival Guide.

“You can make the argument that we are living in Peak Asshole,” says Robert Sutton, a Stanford professor who, as the author of the iconic 2007 book The No Asshole Rule, is perhaps the world’s leading expert on the species. According to Sutton, the problem of “disrespectful, demeaning, and downright mean-spirited behavior” is “worse than ever,” which, while it may be bad news for humanity, is good news for The Asshole Survival Guide, the book Sutton came to New York to promote. And he has a point, citing the recent “fiascoes” at Uber and Fox News as examples of “assholes running wild.” Then, of course, there’s “the degeneration of American political discourse,” as Sutton delicately puts it. We are sitting, on a Monday afternoon in mid-September, in what may arguably be the red-hot center of an Asshole Heat Map, if one existed: the pink, veined lobby at the base of the colossal penis that is Trump Tower.

The Housekeeper and the Professor

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa is a emotionally strong and heartfelt story of a woman hired for a time to be care for a former professor of mathematics who is suffering memory issues due to an accident. The woman, her young boy, and the former professor come to care for each other and have a meaningful brief, almost accidental, time together.

I find that I wanted there to be more mathematics integral to the story than there were, and to to be more core to the way the story develops, implying the philosophical thoughts and feelings. The professor might as well have been a professor of baseball, but, I suppose, to be fair, the professor’s mathematics was reflected in the story by his love of baseball, and that allowed the mathematics itself to be unintimidating and approachable. But I kinda wanted more from that that I got.

Overall, a nice story that provides, for a few moments, a wholesome but emotional journey and character study.

I made 25 highlights.