In Which the Early Kings of Norway Come in Handy

17 August 2005

Where were we...oh, right, you were on your computer surfing the internet, I was downstairs on the couch reading. Got it now.

I reread Helen Cresswell's Ordinary Jack for the first time in fifteen years. I'd been able to find the other Bagthorpe books at the library when Alec reminded me who wrote them, but they didn't have the very first one. So I got it for my birthday this year, and much happiness ensued. These are books that were funny to me as a kid and are still funny to me as an adult. This is not perhaps as miraculous as it might be -- I was a geeky little kid, and while I appreciate some sophisticated humor, I still love the Abelian Grape joke and related humor (Alexander of Mastodon!). But it's still very cool, because not everything is like that.

Kage Baker's The Life of the World to Come is the book I have been waiting for in this series. Somewhere around the middle of Sky Coyote, I figured out what I wanted: I wanted the science fiction stuff! The historical stuff was all well and good, but there have been time travel novels before and will be again; what fascinated me was the Company. And this was about the Company through and through, and my faith in this series is restored, calloo callay, and all books in it will be mine eventually, mine mine.

There's some time travel in it, too.

I'm currently reading Dorothy Dunnett's King Hereafter, her Macbeth novel. I have gotten past the point where you had to have a chart of the early kings of Norway in your head to know what was going on. I do have a chart of the early kings of Norway in my head, lucky enough, but I was fairly skeptical that there would be many others who would. Not a book that bears wide recommending, I'm afraid, unless you're willing to let historical names wash past you for a hundred pages or so: one of Halfdan's people? Sure, could be the whole Dan's person for all I care, why not?

She has not made Macbeth into Francis Crawford of Lymond, but nor has she kept the one quite as far from the other as one might have thought. Even, perhaps, as one might have hoped; but it's certainly bloody enough to be Macbeth, so far, making it bloody enough to be Lymond as well, I suppose.

I continue to poke Sampo and Thermionic Night, to twitch about the latter and goggle in amazement at how much I got flat-out wrong in the former. I think the fact that it's a secret history contributes to the feeling that it's not true rather than a bad choice. I don't know; maybe not. Anyway, I stride through slashing away, and eventually it'll look like a novel, and after that possibly a good one. We'll get there.

My folks took this picture when we were at their house:

They called the file "Queen of the Pillows." I thanked them for redoing their living room to coordinate so well with my dog.

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