A Small Side Project

I’ve started a new blog over here, to try and utilize all of the plant pictures I’ve been taking since I first got a digital camera.    Not to mention, researching and writing things up fills a happy little place in my soul.

I’m aiming to post something new every week.    We’ll see how it goes…


Darcy’s Story – Janet Aylmer

For something completely different, I turned to a Jane Austen interpretation. This one was meant to fill in the missing pieces of Darcy’s story – so we could see the thought process behind why he would decide to try and win Elizabeth Bennett after she rejected his first proposal.

It’s not a bad book.    It begins with the whole Wickham/Georgiana Darcy affair – which is definitely a good frame for Darcy’s side of the story.    In fact, it’s his relationship with Georgiana that makes this book – that’s really what you need to see to show you that he is in fact a good man, and with a little help to see some of his glaring faults, is capable to winning Lizzie.

Rediscovery – Marion Zimmer Bradley and Mercedes Lackey

Between Damia and the Music of Darkover, I was feeling a bit nostalgic, so decided to reread one of the actual Darkover books.    This one is the tale of when Earth finally happened upon the lost colony, and the people of Darkover find out that they did not originate on their world.

It’s an interesting culture clash story.    The original colonists were all of European extraction, so they’ve lost the notion that there are other human skin colors available, and the non-European members of the crew are a revelation to them.

The physic powers of the Darkovans are also an revelation of the people of the empire – they’re starting to acknowledge these powers, but seeing what the Darkovans have managed to do with them is a whole level above anything they could imagine.

This was a fun reread – reminds me why I love this series.

Damia – Anne McCaffrey

Furthering my reread of the Pegasus/Rowan books, I’ve moved on to Damia, which was actually my first experience with this series, back in the pre-internet days when it was harder to track down books that weren’t in bookstores, and you settled for what you got, even if it was out of sequence…

Damia is the Rowan’s daughter, and from a very early age, it’s obvious that her physic talents surpass those of her (impressive in and of themselves) parents.      This story also is the story of Afra – who is Rowan’s second in command, and starts out as the loco parentis of all of Jeff and Rowan’s children.     He and Damia eventually marry.

I was a bit nervous going into this book because I knew Afra and Damia were eventually going to hook up (no spoilers – it’s obvious from the back cover summary), and I was really unsure how that relationship was going to come across in my first read as an adult.      Thankfully, it avoided the creep factor.

This series is holding up better than the Pegasus series, probably because it was written later.

The Music of Darkover – ed. Elisabeth Waters

Published in 2013, this was the first new Darkover anthology in a very long time.     The music theme apparently grew out of a submission for the planned anthology (Stars of Darkover – currently sitting in my TBR pile) that was based on a Darkover filk song, but was way too long to include in Stars.     So a separate music-themed anthology was born.

The funny thing about this one is that it feels like a bit of a time capsule, because it does deal with the very pre-internet Darkover fan days (when MZB was still alive).     It’s very cool to see how much she loved music, and the people that were involved with her (and subsequently this book) because of music.      This is definitely a must have book for any Darkover completests.

My petty complaint: they’ve gone the self-publishing route, which is awesome in many ways, but means this is trade paperback size, so will not fit on the shelf with most of my other Darkover books.    Totally petty, I know, but it is what it is.

Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge – 3/21/15 to 6/21/15


This year, I read:

There was one scholarly book on myths, and two books that were much more fairy tale than fantasy themed (An Earthly Knight and The Perilous Gard).    All in all, a good Spring run.

Spirits in the Wires – Charles de Lint

Read for the Once Upon a Time IX Reading Challenge.

If you’ve read any of de Lint’s Newford books, you know he’s created an urban fantasy setting that incorporates parts of many world mythos (mythi?    What is the plural for that word?).       If a human mind has conceived it, it exists, and someone is able to see into those extra layers of reality.

So what about the internet?     It’s probably our frontier of created thought in this modern day.     In this story, a group of friends created a site called wordwood.com, where you could share stories and poetry with other people.      Somewhere along the way, they realized that no one was updating the site anymore – it had taken on a life of its own, and was administering itself.     Until the day that a man who had been jilted by a woman that frequently used wordwood, decided to target it with a virus, to spite her.      And suddenly hundreds of users of the site disappeared.

What follows from here is a variation of a Newford otherworld story – several characters that you would recognize if you follow these books are among the disappeared, and other friends use all the resources at their disposal to find and rescue them.      Which is fun.     But for me, there was another unexpected aspect of reading this book  – it was published in 2003 – so written right around 2000.     I had forgotten (or maybe taken for granted) how much the internet has changed.    I suppose that even ties back to the themes of this story – as rich as what de Lint had imagined at that point (when most of the characters were still using dial up modems) – it’s an even more vast ecosystem out there today.     I think I enjoyed this book almost as much for how much it made me appreciate how technology is evolving these days – I’m almost in awe of the thought of it.

Shadow Magic – Patricia C. Wrede

Read for the Once Upon a Time IX Reading Challenge.

Lady Altheia is kidnapped on the night of her birthday celebration.      While her family frantically searches for her, she wakes up in the forest, and realizes her captors are the Lithmern- ancient enemies of Alkyra.     What’s worse is that they’ve brought back the shadow magic that nearly brought down the kingdom many years ago.

Alkyra has grown complacent since that last shadow war.    The line of the kings has died out, and the Gifts that were granted to the first of that line, that helped them win the last shadow war, have disappeared.     With the Gifts gone, the other three races of Alkyra have retreated to their ancient lands, leaving the humans alone.

It’s the Wyrds (cat creatures) that first find Altheia, and with the knowledge of the Lirthmern return, they realize it’s time to reestablish old alliances.    If Altheia and her family can find the Gifts, they may have a chance a defeating the Lithmern.

This is an enjoyable book.    I have it in an omnibus with four other books in the series.    In reading the reviews, I did notice that people had the most issues with this first book (one of the author’s first).     There’s some needed editing, but knowing that the other books get better helped me ignore that.