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My thoughts are well and truly scattered this morning. No, excuse me. This afternoon, as it is now 12:58 p.m. CaST (though only 11:58 ayem EST, hence still morning). I don't feel like resorting to numbers and bullet points today, either, so bear with me, or don't bear with me.

Bear with me. One of those interesting turns of phrase that I have to wonder if many people ever pause to consider the older, more genuine meanings. Bear. With. Me.

We were planning to be at the VNV Nation show in Boston tonight, and the fabulous Chris Ewen even saw to it that we were on the guest list. Then, yesterday, fearing the possibility of contracting some illness from the crowd, and fearing my deadlines, we pulled out. And our two places on the guest list were raffled last night by Chris, while he DJed at Heroes (DJed as in disc jokey, not as in a pillar-like ancient Egyptian symbol representing stability, id est, djed). So, two happy people will be taking our places tonight, and congratulations to them, but doing good rarely serves as much in the way of consolation if you are me. And I am. Me, I mean.

And I can’t fall asleep without a little help.
It takes a while to settle down,
My shivered bones,
Until the panic‘s out.
~ The National, "Terrible Love"

Yesterday, I discovered that (as is so rarely actually ever the case) the third time was the charm with "Sexing the Weird," and I finished a new 1,525-word version of "Sexing the Weird," which will serve as the introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. And I like it. Also, this morning (it truly was still ayem CaST) I received Sonya's afterword, "But She Also Lies Broken and Transformed." So, aside from Kathryn and I making about a bazillion corrections to the main text, then getting that text back to Bill Schafer, the book is done. Still no firm release date or date when pre-orders will begin. Later. It's safe to say it will be later, in both cases.

And today, I begin the aforementioned short story about the two women who become cities, for Sirenia Digest #72. And that reminds me to, again, remind you that responses to "Question @ Hand #5" are due by midnight (CaST) on the 7th. Also a caveat: best to avoid humor. I suppose I should have been clear about this from the beginning, but I didn't actually see this as a humorous undertaking (though humor and horror are always loping about, unsightly, hand in hand, I know); I am in an earnest state of mind.

Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher avec araignées.
Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher avec araignées.
Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher dans la compagnie calme.
Et je pouvais ne tomber pas dormir sans un peu aidé;
Il prendre beaucoup à se calmer mon os de frissonnement
Tant que la panique est dehors.
~ The National, "Amour terrible"

Black-eyed peas and collards for dinner last night. I'm undeniably homesick for Georgia and Alabama. Which is the height of peculiarity, given how neither place was ever a home to me, despite the fact that I lived there almost all my life. My relationship with the South could probably serve as a case study in Das Unheimliche.

Later, we watched the next-to-latest episode of American Horror Story, and, gods – Zachary Quinto in latex. Later still, for want of physical, non-virtual company or any other "real-world" diversion, we played Rift. This morning, Spooky was telling me about the offensive comments coming in over level twenty-something to level thirty-something chat – and I didn't ask for specifics, but I assume it was the usual homophobic, racist, sexist ramblings. I keep everything but guild and RP chat off, so I always miss this shit in Rift. I got enough of it in WoW. But it's not ever encountered in actual gameplay – and last night was a good example – people are consistently polite and often helpful (unlike the situation in WoW). It leads me to suspect that an awful lot of people log in merely to "socialize," and likely they're fairly young, or actual kids, and talking hate shit is the false bravado of their generation, as it has been of all generations. Which, of course, makes it no less disheartening, and reminds me why I stay out of Meridian ("New Orgrimmar") as much as possible and always keep general chat switched off. Gaming is, for me (RP aside), a fundamentally solitary exercise, and forget the "massively multiplayer" part. I rarely game with anyone but Spooky. We duo. Anything to avoid the chimps on crack who cram into so much of gamespace.

Ah, and here's a thing I thought I'd post. Behind the cut. Twenty fantasy books that exerted an especial influence on me as an adolescent, in no particular order (behind the cut):


01. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
02. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
03. Watership Down by Richard Adams
04. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
05. Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
06. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
05. Dracula by Bram Stoker
06. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
07. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
08. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
09. The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
10. Dagon and Other Macabre Tales by H. P. Lovecraft
11. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
12. Faeries by Brain Froud
13. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson
14. Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison
15. Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison
16. The Barsoom Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs
17. The Pellucidar Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs
18. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
19. Grendel by John Gardner
20. Ghost Story by Peter Straub



And yeah, I cheated and that is many more than twenty books, but I still feel as if many important things have been left out. Ah, well. For another time, yes. But if you have not read all these books at least once, shame on thee.

Nostalgic,
Aunt Beast

Comments

( 26 comments — Have your say! )
prose_lover
Dec. 4th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)
I love the way you numbered the books. Tricked me, and then I looked again and laughed for a good 10 minutes.

greygirlbeast
Dec. 4th, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC)

Erm...I numbered them in a funny way? Not sure I see that.
chris_walsh
Dec. 4th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC)
Black-eyed peas and collards for dinner last night. I'm undeniably homesick for Georgia and Alabama.

I can get that way, too, and I've never been to those parts of the South at all. (I've been to Florida, but I know that doesn't count: it doesn't feel like the South. We drove through Georgia to get to Florida, but I barely remember it; we probably just ate fast food or didn't stop long enough to eat at all.) Also, I hope I'm not squatting on other peoples' culture by liking collards. "Hey, I'll like this ONE SPECIFIC THING you guys like and act like I own it!" or something. Yes, I worry about this.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 4th, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)

I don't really worry about "cultural appropriation." Not in the melting pot that the post-internet world has become.
alumiere
Dec. 4th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
More books to find once I get a Nook. I know why I haven't read McCaffee/LeGuinn, but how did I miss that particular L'Engle?

As an aside, for years I believed that traditional fantasy other than Tolkien wasn't my thing. The world building felt hollow and the characters didn't do it, but then a friend told me I had to read Mercedes Lackey and I figured out that it wasn't all fantasy I disliked, just an awful lot of it. So holes to fill.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 4th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)

I know why I haven't read McCaffee/LeGuinn, but how did I miss that particular L'Engle?

Especially given it's the first of her novels, and the most renowned.

More books to find once I get a Nook.

Aigh! Screw Schnooks. Go analog.

The world building felt hollow and the characters didn't do it, but then a friend told me I had to read Mercedes Lackey and I figured out that it wasn't all fantasy I disliked, just an awful lot of it. So holes to fill.

I feel as though I'm being excessively negative in this comment. I do not mean to be. That said, I think Lackey is an example of what's wrong with contemporary fantasy. I tried once, and found her amazingly shallow.
alumiere
Dec. 4th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
I understand the hatred of the Nook; sadly analog books are a real problem for me these days, and I struggle way more to read them than I'd like. And since I'm facing a choice between being able to read (audiobooks are really tough for me too) or not, I'll take the electronic form most of time and save analog for the ones that really matter. Subpress Limited Editions hell yes I'm buying if I can, MMPB and TPBs are much more accessible on a screen.

And I totally understand - Lackey is like junk food, and the only ones I really liked were the gay mage (Varnel?) group of books. But it did make me see that there's other fantasy out there worth reading even if it's not the same. Were it not for being basically forced to read those books I never would have read a word of GRRM, Gene Wolfe, Phillip Pullman, Terry Pratchett or even Neilhimself's fantasies (which are more magic realism than most and I love magic realism). Consider it a gateway drug back to fantasy that I found in my 30's, and I know it's mostly crap.
corucia
Dec. 4th, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)

Especially given it's the first of her novels, and the most renowned. Your list has 'A Swiftly Tilting Planet', but I think you meant to put in 'A Wrinkle in Time'? The latter was her first novel; 'Planet' was the third in the series that started with 'Wrinkle'.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 5th, 2011 02:50 am (UTC)

Er...yeah. Crap. Whoops. Thanks.
deakat
Dec. 4th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
Shame on me. There are a few that I haven't read, and will remedy that.

The first SF that stuck with me was Harlan's "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin". I was 8 or 9, and spent my allowance at the corner store on a copy of Orbit. I didn't understand it all, but I wanted more.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 4th, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC)

The first SF that stuck with me was Harlan's "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin".

Given it's a sort of surreal, horrific story about drug use, and the mental degeneration that can follow from drug use, I have trouble thinking of "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" (a story I adore) as science fiction. Oh, how these boxes get us into trouble and vex.
deakat
Dec. 4th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
Having begun reading HE at such a tender age, SF has always meant Speculative Fiction to me. It nicely reduces the number of boxes required in my life.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 4th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)

SF has always meant Speculative Fiction to me.

This is a good thing.
ashlyme
Dec. 4th, 2011 08:00 pm (UTC)
I'd add M. John Harrison, Mervyn Peake, and Ramsey Campbell to that list; but I am somewhat blurred. Drinking a rather nice pint called Ammonite atm.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 4th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)

Drinking a rather nice pint called Ammonite atm.

An actual beer called Ammonite?
ashlyme
Dec. 4th, 2011 11:40 pm (UTC)
Yep. A rather nice mild ale.
joshrupp
Dec. 4th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
"A Swiftly Tilting Planet" was the only one I really liked. After that she went pants-on-head crazy with the Christian stuff. I think my favorite example was the book where two of the kids get sucked into their computer and sent to Noah's Arc, although the one where a cherubim tries to convert human mitochondria to Jesus was good, too.
greygirlbeast
Dec. 4th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)

After that she went pants-on-head crazy with the Christian stuff.

Well, on the one hand, when I read A Swiftly Tilting Planet as a child, I was still an Xtian. And, on the other, rereading it recently, despite my strongly anti-Xtian views, I found I still loved the book enough that I was able to overlook the religious sentiments.
joshrupp
Dec. 5th, 2011 12:08 am (UTC)
"A Swiftly Tilting Planet" was cool, yes ... but Jesus, did "Many Waters" suck pendulous balls.

I give her credit for having a book feature a unicorn that didn't feel like having a marmalade enema. But that mitochondria thing was still some bullshit.
corucia
Dec. 4th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)

Love the list. In my personal case, I came across 'R is for Rocket' initially, and some of the stories scared the pants off my eight-year-old self, so it took a while to get to 'Something Wicked'. I'd also probably toss Norton Juster's 'Phantom Tollbooth' into the list, and probably some early Andre Norton too ('Moon of Three Rings' or 'Catseye' maybe). Never cared for the Narnia series...

greygirlbeast
Dec. 4th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)

I did read an Andre Norton early on, but I can't recall the title.

Eagerly awaiting your "experiment" in particular.
martianmooncrab
Dec. 4th, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC)
I have a picture of Harlan and Anne together taken right before opening ceremonies at the Worldcon ..
greygirlbeast
Dec. 4th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)

Very cool.
sfmarty
Dec. 4th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
hurrah, I have read most of them. Nice to know I am well read. (heh heh)
witchchild
Dec. 4th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
Ha, just recently read Wizard of Earthsea for the first time last month. That's one I will certainly go back to once I complete the series.

Ah, and Le Petit Prince. <3 When I was 16 I read it in Italian as a requirement for class. Gave it to my nephew (who is 16, oh and he has the English) who said he'd read it but really didn't get it. For some reason that made me happy. He's also the kid I can pass off basic philosophy books to and he'll get completely sucked in.

Sadly a lot of the books on that list are ones I have never read. Yes the classics. Even if I had read them, there is a good chance I would not remember them now. I've forgotten an odd cross section of what I read in my youth.
vidyarajah
Dec. 5th, 2011 06:16 am (UTC)
Great list. THE LITTLE PRINCE was the first book I ever read all the way through as a wee one, and Harlan Ellison's work sustained me through much of the darkness I knew while growing up.

No Michael Moorcock? The Elric books were my favorite fantasy series, from 5th grade on--right up until I discovered Karl Edward Wagner's Kane stories as a Hardcore Punk teenager, in fact. There's a small part of me that still thrills to the line: "Blood and souls for my Lord Arioch!"... **half-smiles**
( 26 comments — Have your say! )