1 July 2016

june linkblog.

Does anybody know what's happened to Chaucer? He doesn't usually go this long without tweeting, and that sounds worryingly like a final farewell. I don't want to have to live in a post-@LeVostreGC world.

...anyway, links!

My girls Margery and Julian!

"Frivolous" Humanities Helped Prisoners Survive in Communist Romania.

I haven't seen or read Game of Thrones, but this piece on its deficiencies seems to have a wider application, especially (?) for fantasy writers like myself. "There are lots of things that many humans actually do that never show up on Game of Thrones. Menstruation is a much more common way for people to bleed than getting stabbed a bunch of times, for example. I feel comfortable saying you’re more likely to murder someone on television than care for a child, which would leave the proverbial alien very confused about our persistence on this planet. Smiling is seriously underrepresented on GoT, as are jokes, games, songs, and horseplay that doesn’t end in bloodshed."

Department of golden girls and chimney-sweepers: Dave Swarbrick, of Fairport Convention, died on the third of June. If you don't know without being told what a loss that is, I'm not sure it's possible to make it clear to you. There were giants in the earth in those days.

Department of old news that’s new to me: In 1989, John Cleese read an audiobook of The Screwtape Letters. Having listened to some of it, I can say that it’s exactly what you’re expecting from that description, i.e. an unmitigated delight and possibly the role he was born to play. (I'm joking, obviously: he was born to play James McNeill Whistler.) The first letter is here, after which I trust your ingenuity to lead you to the rest.

On Tor.com, Harry Potter & the Cursed Child photos: this time, we have gorgeous gorgeous Granger-Weasleys. Also, anyone want to buy me a sixty-dollar action figure?

Also also, a rather enticing list of book recommendations.

C.S. Lewis on Arthur C. Clarke: "I’m sure you’re very wicked people–but wouldn’t the world be dull if everyone was good?" I've read very little Clarke (well, we all have gaps in our educations) but I always enjoy unexpected literary friendships. This isn't quite on the level of Samuel Beckett and André the Giant, but it's very good indeed.

Sarah Urist Green being commendably lucid about selfies.

July 12th cannot come soon enough.

"You’re A Social Climber. What Horrible Faux Pas Have You Committed At This Dinner Party, Alienating Your Only Allies In High Society And Ruining, Perhaps Forever, Your Chance Of Winning Lord Grangemere’s Affections?" And, while we're doing choose-your-own-adventure, this profile of Ryan North is incredible and I love it.

Ever look at art and an entire fantasy novel unfolds in your head?

Ursula Vernon prints on Topatoco! And there was much rejoicing.

Element names? Element names!

We all know that butt jokes in trailers for animated movies are annoying, but is it a gender thing? Selfishly I almost hope so, if only so I can have a real reason to object. (My first instinct on reading the article was to do a joke about Absolon, but I think that would prove unhelpful.)

A beautiful piece surveying the way the concept of beauty's developed in Doctor Who, from 1963 to the present day. "What’s beautiful, in other words, is the messiness of life, the nitty gritty, the small details, the clinging of life. Not the picturesque view." Also monsters, natch.

Uncleftish Beholding,” by Poul Anderson. This is what it would've taken to interest me in physics in high school. "Nor are stuff and work unakin. Rather, they are groundwise the same, and one can be shifted into the other. The kinship between them is that work is like unto weight manifolded by the fourside of the haste of light." ♥!

"If Lea Salonga were your best friend, the two of you would share a joint Kindle library, but on your birthday Lea would give you beautiful new titles in hardcover—the books you were most eager to read, the books whose release dates you marked on your calendar—because she’d know that getting real books is one of your love languages."

1,000 Vintage Postcards Show Famous Actors Performing Shakespeare’s Plays from 1880 to 1914. My entire jam.

Richard E. Grant interviews John Finnemore.

Amanda Palmer reads E. E. Cummings.

Tolkien watch: What Tolkien was doing when you weren't paying attention. Map of North America drawn in Tolkien's style. Which is it: Prescription drug or Tolkien elf? (Astonishingly difficult—I got 23/30, and my only regret is that the honorable members failed to make use of my very favorite Tolkien elf name, the gobsmackingly unfortunate Teleporno.) And of course how to tell if you are in a J.R.R. Tolkien book. ("God’s grace descended upon you once, in the form of an gigantic, murderous war eagle"; "You find the sun disappointing and the moon insipid. When you were young, the world was lit only by the stars.")

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Food52: I can't stop thinking about this sandwich. And this tart baked up gorgeously, even in our temperamental oven.

Would it be immoral to send out a generation starship? Followup question, would it be awesome enough that we wouldn't care if it was immoral or not? (Pretty sure that's maybe and yes.)

Can you tell the difference between sonnets written by a human and sonnets written by a machine? Is this what Alan Turing had in mind? Well, no, but it's quite good fun. I can tell the difference as it turns out; I only misidentified one of six, and apparently in the original trial "None of the judges was fooled by the poetic computers." (Worth noting: I wasn't tricked into thinking that any of the computers were human; my mistake was to label a human a computer.) I'm also linking because some of the human sonnets are genuinely really good.

And speaking of sonnets. I'm more of a Terrible Sonnets girl, but this blog post, "Felix Randal as a Pattern for Remembering Hopkins," is lovely and spot-on. "Just as Hopkins was endeared by seeing sick Felix Spence, we are endeared by seeing sick Fr. Gerard."

At NPR, a farewell for the Toast. Don't read the comments.

There's a lot of good in this essay, but the bit that hit me hardest was "Indeed, one can do worse than to define “amicus/philos” in humanist as one with whom I share reading." Well. Exactly.

Dinosaur Comics killing it as always.


  1. Thank you for the kind words about my Hopkins post. I hadn't noticed that Chaucer hath not tweeted in so long. That is alarming!

    1. Thank you for sharing it.

      Also, I just checked and he's back! ("One daye Ich mayhap wil tell of my wanderinges wyth Dante and the Doctour. Lat yt be known that a litel woolen hatte kan defeat a dalek." ♥)