If you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written. — John Bangsund, Australian SF fan, 1939 – 2020
Its not yet the time of year that the Estate orchards smells of cider and and rot in equal amounts, but it’s not that far away as the temperature went down to four degrees last night as a low. Granted that’s well above freezing, but the Kinrowan Hall heating system kicked on as it was far too cold to be comfortable. However the orchards are yielding rather fine ciders this year as the weather has been perfect fir apple ripening.
And then there’s blackberries in great quantity which Björn, our Brewmaster, is delighted to making into a rather fine Himbeergeist style schnapps. I’ll be stocking it here in the Green Man Pub when it’s aged properly. Of course we’re also doing a rather nice pear brandy too.
In the meantime, you can savour this first edition of September which is published in the transition from Summer to Autumn. I’ve even included some live music composed by Aaron Copland.
Cat looks at the urban legend retold yet again of a ghost girl asking for a ride home on the anniversary of her death: ‘Seanan McGuire decided to tell her own ghost story in Sparrow Hill Road which, like her novel Indexing, was originally a series of short stories published through The Edge of Propinquity, starting in January of 2010 and ending in December of that year. It appears they’ve been somewhat revised for this telling of her ghostly narrator’s tale but I can’t say how much as I’ve not read the original versions.’
We have A.A. Milne’s The Red House Mystery, a classic English manor house novel that gets a look by Lory: ‘The story is not really a “whodunit” — the “who” is pretty clear from the outset — the question is “how” and, even more, “why” he did it, and Milne keeps us guessing until the end. The plausibility of the solution is not one that would hold up to heavy scrutiny, but the pleasure lies not in the verisimilitude of the puzzle but in the ingenuity of its construction and unraveling, and the witty repartee among the characters.’
Robert has a look at a couple of Elizabeth Bear’s earlier novels, starting of with a vampire story, of a sort: ‘Elizabeth Bear’s The White City is the third installment in her ongoing saga of Sebastien de Ulloa, vampire and wanderer in a universe somewhat different than out own in important respects.’
He follows that with a very special science-fiction story: ‘At her best, Elizabeth Bear can deliver the kind of hard-edged poetry that one often searches for in vain in science-fiction. (She also does some hard-nosed fantasy, but that’s for another review.) It may seem strange to talk about “poetry” and “science fiction” in the same sentence, but one need only read Dust to see exactly what I mean.’
Cat was somewhat taken (but only somewhat) by two Doctor Who cookbooks: ‘This review is really an acknowledgement that there’s a nearly inifinite number of writings about Doctor Who done by the fans of the show over the past fifty years. Yes there’s fanfic where they’ve created their own stories, some using existing characters in new stories, some creating new characters in new situations. And then there are, err, cookbooks. Seriously you can’t be surprised that someone did did this, as I’m sure that there’s a Harry Potter cookbook or two out there.’
Denise as promised has her review of the just concluded season of Doctor Who, and enjoyed almost every moment of Season Eleven. ‘The new Doctor loves bobbing for apples candy floss, purple sofas, and fast talking…. I love it. Yes, I’ve said that I love things several times here. I’m not sorry.’ Why is Denise so enraptured? Only one way to find out; give her full review a look!
Cat also looks at an adventure beloved by many fans of the series: ‘The Talons of Weng Chiang featured Tom Baker, one of the most liked of all the actors who’ve played The Doctor, and Leela, the archetypal savage that British Empire both adored and despised, played by Louise Jameson. That it is set during the Victorian Era is something that British have been fond of setting dramas in, well, since a few years after the era ended. Doctor Who has had stories set in this era myriad times.’
I look at an opera based on a Grimm story: ‘Philip Glass, one of my favourite composers, and his fellow composer Robert Moran, whom I had not encountered before, collaborated magnificently in equal measure on the composition of The Juniper Tree. Each Glass scene is followed by a Moran scene, with transitions composed by each. The result works a lot better than I expected, though the styles of each composer are quite different and neither surrenders anything of his own identity. If you like Glass, you’ll want to hear this opera.’
No’am has a review of Maddy Prior’s Arthur The King: ‘The practice of writing quasi traditional songs may horrify some, but it’s been my experience that such songs are much richer to our ears than the “finger in the ear” standard diet. Whilst I imagine that this fine disk will be labeled as “contemporary folk,” it’s difficult to picture any of these songs being played in a folk club by one person with an acoustic guitar. Modern technology is necessary in order to present these songs in their full majesty, and we are all the richer for Maddy and her merry men having done so.’
Vonnie looks at a darkly tinged album: ‘An Echo of Hooves has June Tabor returning to what, in my mind, she does best, delivering ballads or songs that tell a tale. For this she has chosen eleven Medieval ballads. Some of them are very well-known, like “The Cruel Mother,” “Hughie Graeme,” “Sir Patrick Spens” and “Bonnie James Campbell”. Others are new to me.’
I really dug the eleventh season of Doctor Who, and I love the new Doctor. And this SuperBitz plushie tribute to her is absolutely adorable. I’ve seen SuperBitz items here and there, but this is the first time I’ve ever been able to get a really good look. And it’s a well made plushie with great attention to detail.
Denise takes a look at one of the many collectible tributes to our new Doctor, Funko’s Rock Candy’s Thirteenth Doctor Vinyl Collectible. (No, it’s not actual candy, but a type of collectible from Funko.) She’s rather fond of her new Doctor. ‘She’s here! And she’s fantastic.’ Read Denise’s review for more information, and why she’s a fan of this collectible.
Our Coda this week is a twofer from a young country music star. Robert says of the first song, “This was the first song by Cameron Hawthorn to come to my attention. Billed as his “coming out” song, it’s a nicely romantic, almost nostalgic piece:
And here’s his newest song, a melancholy piece about a first love that wasn’t:
Strangely, Hawthorn doesn’t seem to have come out with an album yet. Soon, we hope. .