Saturday, August 4, 2018

Haster at Sixteen

So, it's been sixteen years since we brought Hastur home from the pet store, a tiny adorably gooney torbie kitten just a few weeks old. Over time she's gone from being our middle cat (of three) to a solo senior.

Happy birthday little Hastur

--John R.




Hastur at her most Salvador Dali-ish, demonstrating her prodigious whiskers

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Is There a Leiberist in the House?

Or, even better, a Fischerian?

I've been trying to sort out which of the early drafts and fragments of Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser stories have been published in recent years. I know about three:

(1) ADEPT'S GAMBIT, by Leiber, a complete early draft of which was published in 2014 with an extensive commentary by H. P. Lovecraft. I have and have read this.

(2) THE GRAIN SHIPS, also by Leiber: a fragment of a novel set in Hellenic times that was eventually reworked and completed by Leiber and published as THE SWORDS OF LANKHMAR. Apparently this fragment was published a few years ago in a collection of misc. writings by L; I've ordered a copy of said book and shd soon have the answer to that one.

(3) QUARMALL, by Harry Fischer. This was eventually taken up by Leiber and used as the core of his THE LORDS OF QUARMALL. What I'd like to know is if Fischer's early version has ever been published, and if so where.

Anyone know the answer to this one?

--John R.
current reading: still the Franklin/Jackson bio.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Shirley Jackson was One of Us

So, a little more poking about in the Shirley Jackson biography (A RATHER HAUNTED LIFE, by Ruth Franklin) shows that though she does not seem to have written fantasy herself deplored the trend towards realistic children's fiction, having herself grown up on the Oz books. When she discovered that her daughter "had a series of dreams about an imaginary country, Shirley encouraged her to draw maps of it and (perhaps recalling the language she once invented) make up languages spoken there." (Franklin p.166).

The reference to Jackson's invented language harkens back to her college days at the University of Rochester:

Rather than following her syllabi, Jackson pursued 
her own intellectual interests: at one point she spent hours 
devising an invented language called Lildsune, complete 
with grammatical rules, and even wrote poetry in it. 
(Franklin p. 58)*

No wonder she liked Tolkien!

But the story about Jackson I liked best was The Dime of Wind:

When eight-year-old Laurence asked his mother how 
he ought to spend a dime, she suggested that he give it
to the birch tree in front of their house. He promptly went 
outside and asked the tree for a dime's worth of wind. 
To Shirley's amusement, a massive hurricane struck that night. 
"All we could figure was that wind must be very cheap indeed 
for him to get that much for a dime" she wrote.
(p. 166)



--JDR
--current reading: the Franklin.

*apparently Jackson's Lildsune material is now in the Library of Congress