The Martian Author

Come one, come all! I have a chronicle here that will be beyond your wildest dreams! Well, maybe not beyond yours, kid. You look like you have some pretty fierce imaginings. But for MOST people, it will be beyond your wildest dreams!

You see, I collect authors. Well, not their bodies. Normally. You have to pay extra to see those. But I love collecting the odd book that’s not well-known or perhaps the author is unique.

And in a recent author-hunting expedition, I found myself on the Red Planet itself!

Kid, you already paid for your ticket. You can’t have it back.

I encountered the famous H. K. Devonshire! Who, you may ask? Well, why not have him tell you himself! He consented to an interview once I freed him from my devious trap. Devious? Did I say devious? I meant we sat down to coffee. Really. Continue reading “The Martian Author”

The Perils of the Read Shelf

Gasp in terror! This is no usual Midway attraction! Gaze upon… THE READ SHELF!

You may be familiar with its relatively common cousin, the To Be Read Shelf. This never-satisfied beast holds worlds and guilts you into visiting them. It stares at you, longing to disgorge its contents upon your imagination. And though it always tempts that maybe, maybe you can catch up and empty it, instead it grows! Look, it started with one book. And then there were three. And somehow there were ten. And now you have an entire room dedicated to books you intend to read someday, someday, and why are you coming home with more books?!

Yes, I suspect you may already be familiar with the beast called the To Be Read Shelf, and you know that eventually it will devour your house, forcing you to flee for your very sanity. Continue reading “The Perils of the Read Shelf”

Worlds Worth Revisiting

Back again, kid? My freakshow is the best in all the land. It’s worth a second look, and you of discerning taste already now that! Again I will show you a woman who writes stories with the back of her head! A snake who only eats the tails of other snakes, and never its own! A blanket made of the souls of righteous men!

…but you liked them so much last time you visited!

…you want something more of the same, but different?

Look, kid, this ain’t a sequel. You either get the same world, down to the last syllable, or you can pick a different tent on the Midway to explore.

Sheesh. These kids, so demanding these days! They’ll rip through the world you give, and demand another world. They want to know what happens next! But you better watch out! They want different, but not too different!

Sir, you have refined tastes, as do you, madame. What do you look for if you revisit a world? Continue reading “Worlds Worth Revisiting”

Stories End

There’s always a final syllable.

Turn the page.

Nothing but white space.

The world painted by words ends in one final image. The characters are put in their places. The landscapes pause. There is no more.

You can attempt to imagine what comes next. Perhaps the author will return at some later date to continue the journey of one or more character, extending the existence of that world. But eventually, every story, every world, ends.

My grandfather died today. Continue reading “Stories End”

The shore… or the sea?

Ah. You’re late. Sit down.

No, no, I’m sure you have a fine excuse. This is not the Midway. You are not a customer in a worldstore. This is a lecture hall and your late arrival has disrupted a lecture on the patterns of world formation when looked at through the lens of storytelling. In other words, seeing patterns in literature.

As I was saying, class, as we look at the worlds that authors create, we discover many curious consistencies. For instance, the boat.

The sailing vessel has long been the object of storytelling, from Homer to Hornblower, from Sinbad to Sisko, from Aubrey to Archer. Continue reading “The shore… or the sea?”