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More on Ellen Kushner, and Tolkien

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  • David S. Bratman
    As long as Ellen Kushner has come up, I might as well announce now that her radio program, _Sound and Spirit_, which describes itself as a weekly series of
    Message 1 of 17 , Oct 4, 2002
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      As long as Ellen Kushner has come up, I might as well announce now that her
      radio program, _Sound and Spirit_, which describes itself as "a weekly
      series of hour-long radio programs exploring the human spirit through music
      and ideas," will have a program on _The Lord of the Rings_ the week of
      November 10th. This is one that Ellen has been planning to do since she
      started the series years ago, and it's finally coming to fruition. She
      talked about this also at Worldcon.

      There's not much about this program up online yet, but what there is is at
      <http://www.wgbh.org/wgbh/pages/pri/spirit/season7/index.html#745>

      A list of radio stations carrying the program is at
      <http://www.wgbh.org/wgbh/pages/pri/spirit/where.html>

      - David Bratman
    • Margaret Dean
      ... Whereas I couldn t finish =War In Heaven.= ... Actually what we ve just exemplified is that different Williams novels appeal to different tastes,
      Message 2 of 17 , Oct 4, 2002
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        "David S. Bratman" wrote:

        > >> >I haven't read Williams yet. So shoot me.
        > >>
        > >> So, go read some. Start with _War in Heaven_, then _The Place of the
        > >> Lion_, among the novels. That's my recommendation: you may get
        > >> different ones from others.
        > >
        > >I'd recommend =Descent Into Hell= myself.
        >
        > Uh, that was my first crack at a Williams novel. Big mistake. (Only
        > _All Hallows' Eve_ would have been bigger.)

        Whereas I couldn't finish =War In Heaven.=

        > But since Susan likes
        > 19th century prose (except for Henry James, but what kind of lover of
        > 19th century prose dislikes Henry James?) and Geoff Ryman, perhaps it
        > wouldn't be such a bad start after all.

        <grin> Actually what we've just exemplified is that different
        Williams novels appeal to different tastes, and that if a
        particular one doesn't appeal to Susan, she should not get
        discouraged, but try another one.


        --Margaret Dean
        <margdean@...>
      • SusanPal@aol.com
        In a message dated 10/3/2002 10:40:56 PM Pacific Daylight Time, ... Yes, exactly. This is the kind of thing I m *constantly* trying to get my fiction writing
        Message 3 of 17 , Oct 4, 2002
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          In a message dated 10/3/2002 10:40:56 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
          dbratman@... writes:


          > He made Thog's Masterclass (Detached Viewpoint Dept.) in this month's
          > Ansible, for this: "Isaac threw up his face and swung it around him,
          > desperately searching for light."
          >

          Yes, exactly. This is the kind of thing I'm *constantly* trying to get my
          fiction writing students NOT to do -- they think I'm the crankiest grammar
          Nazi on the planet, because most of them couldn't even tell you what's wrong
          with that sentence. (Not being stylistically sensitive means that you have a
          much greater capacity to enjoy bad prose, unfortunately.) On one level, it
          really bothers me that a novel containing even one sentence like that has won
          awards . . . but on the other hand, I truly am enjoying the book, even when
          it makes me wince. I just hope that Mieville's craft improves with time, as
          it's already done, and that he doesn't fall into the
          I-don't-have-to-work-at-this-because-I'm-famous syndrome.

          Yes, I knew that the Kushner/Sherman book was forthcoming. (And I can
          forgive them for the wait, given how long it took me to write *my* second
          novel -- which is supposedly scheduled for May, although editorial delays
          have now made that unlikely.) And of course, in the interim Kushner
          published THOMAS THE RHYMER, which -- although it won the World Fantasy Award
          -- I didn't think nearly as good a book as SWORDSPOINT. My husband has been
          referring to the next one as SWORDSPOINTIER.

          Thank you all for the Williams recommendations! I'll try to make that my
          next priority after Mieville . . . .

          Susan


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        • SusanPal@aol.com
          In a message dated 10/4/2002 8:57:17 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ... An eccentric one, obviously! (And one who had PORTRAIT OF A LADY shoved down her throat in
          Message 4 of 17 , Oct 4, 2002
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            In a message dated 10/4/2002 8:57:17 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
            dbratman@... writes:


            > except for Henry James, but what kind of lover of 19th century prose
            > dislikes Henry James?)

            An eccentric one, obviously! (And one who had PORTRAIT OF A LADY shoved down
            her throat in too many college courses.)

            SP


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          • SusanPal@aol.com
            In a message dated 10/4/2002 8:58:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ... Ah! Which I have on my bookshelf at this very moment! How terribly convenient! Susan
            Message 5 of 17 , Oct 4, 2002
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              In a message dated 10/4/2002 8:58:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
              dbratman@... writes:


              > And then there's "The Notion Club Papers," which is a Charles Williams
              > novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Yes, indeed. What there is of it is in the
              > posthumous volume _Morgoth's Ring_.
              >

              Ah! Which I have on my bookshelf at this very moment! How terribly
              convenient!

              Susan


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            • SusanPal@aol.com
              In a message dated 10/4/2002 8:58:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ... Are you sure? I just checked _Morgoth s Ring_, and see no sign of The Norton Club Papers.
              Message 6 of 17 , Oct 4, 2002
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                In a message dated 10/4/2002 8:58:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
                dbratman@... writes:


                > And then there's "The Notion Club Papers," which is a Charles Williams
                > novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Yes, indeed. What there is of it is in the
                > posthumous volume _Morgoth's Ring_.
                >

                Are you sure? I just checked _Morgoth's Ring_, and see no sign of "The
                Norton Club Papers." It must be in another volume!

                Thanks,
                Susan


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              • David S. Bratman
                Sorry; mental glitch. _Sauron Defeated_.
                Message 7 of 17 , Oct 4, 2002
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                  Sorry; mental glitch. _Sauron Defeated_.

                  At 09:42 AM 10/4/2002 , Susan wrote:

                  >In a message dated 10/4/2002 8:58:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
                  >dbratman@... writes:
                  >
                  >> And then there's "The Notion Club Papers," which is a Charles Williams
                  >> novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Yes, indeed. What there is of it is in the
                  >> posthumous volume _Morgoth's Ring_.
                  >>
                  >
                  >Are you sure? I just checked _Morgoth's Ring_, and see no sign of "The
                  >Norton Club Papers." It must be in another volume!
                • David S. Bratman
                  ... Thog s Masterclass is full of examples of people s eyeballs doing strange things: Her eyes dropped suddenly to the floor, His eyes rolled down her
                  Message 8 of 17 , Oct 4, 2002
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                    At 09:14 AM 10/4/2002 , Susan wrote:

                    >In a message dated 10/3/2002 10:40:56 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
                    >dbratman@... writes:
                    >
                    >> He made Thog's Masterclass (Detached Viewpoint Dept.) in this month's
                    >> Ansible, for this: "Isaac threw up his face and swung it around him,
                    >> desperately searching for light."
                    >
                    >Yes, exactly. This is the kind of thing I'm *constantly* trying to get my
                    >fiction writing students NOT to do -- they think I'm the crankiest grammar
                    >Nazi on the planet, because most of them couldn't even tell you what's wrong
                    >with that sentence.

                    Thog's Masterclass is full of examples of people's eyeballs doing strange
                    things: "Her eyes dropped suddenly to the floor," "His eyes rolled down her
                    body," "Her eyes looked thoughtfully inward," that sort of thing. How
                    would you analyze this problem? I'd say it's not a grammar problem in the
                    usual part-of-speech sense, so much as an inadvertent referent problem (a
                    different sort of grammar problem), combined with another problem not
                    grammatical in nature: a bad or clumsy choice of perspective and
                    point-of-view. That last problem I see quite a lot of in fiction in other
                    ways. But that's another topic ...

                    >(Not being stylistically sensitive means that you have a
                    >much greater capacity to enjoy bad prose, unfortunately.)

                    Which is why I'm so irritated at people who say "Why can't you just enjoy
                    it?" or "Leave your brain at the door." Yet another topic ...

                    >On one level, it
                    >really bothers me that a novel containing even one sentence like that has won
                    >awards . . .

                    Don't forget that Tolkien wrote this classic: "'Yrch!' said Legolas,
                    falling into his own tongue."

                    >but on the other hand, I truly am enjoying the book, even when
                    >it makes me wince. I just hope that Mieville's craft improves with time, as
                    >it's already done, and that he doesn't fall into the
                    >I-don't-have-to-work-at-this-because-I'm-famous syndrome.

                    Unfortunately, he may be well on the way there, because his Locus interview
                    showed him an arrogant, pretentious bastard even before he had enough fame
                    to preen himself about.

                    >And of course, in the interim Kushner
                    >published THOMAS THE RHYMER, which -- although it won the World Fantasy Award
                    >-- I didn't think nearly as good a book as SWORDSPOINT.

                    It won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award too. But I agree on its relative merits.

                    >My husband has been
                    >referring to the next one as SWORDSPOINTIER.

                    Ooh, I want to steal that.

                    - David Bratman
                  • dianejoy@earthlink.net
                    ... From: Margaret Dean margdean@erols.com Date: Fri, 04 Oct 2002 12:07:24 -0400 To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [mythsoc] White Query plus examples
                    Message 9 of 17 , Oct 4, 2002
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                      Original Message:
                      -----------------
                      From: Margaret Dean margdean@...
                      Date: Fri, 04 Oct 2002 12:07:24 -0400
                      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] White Query plus examples



                      >
                      > Uh, that was my first crack at a Williams novel. Big mistake. (Only
                      > _All Hallows' Eve_ would have been bigger.)

                      Whereas I couldn't finish =War In Heaven.=

                      *All Hallow's Eve* =was= my first crack at Williams. I definitely wasn't
                      ready for it. I found *Place of the Lion* much more accessible and
                      recommend it for a first dip into Williams. ---djb

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                    • jamcconney@aol.com
                      In a message dated 10/4/2002 8:38:26 AM Central Daylight Time, ... I m afraid such is the case. Personally I love Williams (sometimes-convoluted style and all)
                      Message 10 of 17 , Oct 4, 2002
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                        In a message dated 10/4/2002 8:38:26 AM Central Daylight Time,
                        verba001@... writes:


                        > if you find that Williams isn't your cup of tea

                        I'm afraid such is the case. Personally I love Williams (sometimes-convoluted
                        style and all) but I recognize that he can be _very_ difficult to read. This
                        makes me wary about recommending him to others. I'd say give him a try and
                        give the try some patience--he's not a writer you'll warm to in a page or
                        two.

                        My favorite is DESCENT INTO HELL--there;s one scene, one line of dialogue,
                        that I swear the first time I read it I levitated six inches off the chair
                        screaming "Oh my God--YES!" (If you've read it, you know the one I mean; if
                        you haven't, I won't spoil it for you.)

                        I also like THE GREATER TRUMPS and ALL HALLOWS EVE. I'm not sure but what WAR
                        IN HEAVEN might be the most accessible to a first-time reader--there's
                        something very pleasantly quirky about the concept of a mild, middle-aged
                        country priest discovering that the beat up old chalice on the back shelf is
                        really the Holy Grail....

                        Anne


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