This is Southbound. I think guy up front is Bill Horn. The music is “Little Martha,” written by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts. It’s one of my favorite instrumental pieces, and this is far and away the best live cover I’ve ever seen.
I’m putting the finishing touches on a couple of posts, including the next installment of my Twitter series. It will be all me here tomorrow, but I’m planning a comics double feature from @quaintjeremy on Wednesday, and I’ll have the final installment of the Twitter series on Thursday.
The list-posts I mentioned over the weekend may have to wait a week. Honestly, I have more content for this week already than I expected, which is a tribute to just how awesome our contributors are. I just don’t see how to fit lists in this week. But listy posts are coming soon. They’re too good an idea not to try.
I hope everyone else had as good a Monday as I did. Thanks, readers and contributors, for making this such an awesome day.
Good day, everyone! Below are a few of my recommendations for summer reading categorized by genre. I hope you enjoy them. I’ll note which ones I haven’t yet read myself. I’d like to get a discussion going with other first-time readers on a few of these books. This is a combination list of things I’d like to see more people read and things I plan to read myself this summer. Let’s dive in.
This Pultizer Prize-winning novel recounts the fictional lives of Jewish comic book creators (writers and artists, men and women) trying to make it in 1930s New York—the beginning of the Golden Age of comics. I imagine this will appeal to a large number of comics fans.
This is the first book in what has become one of my favorite fantasy series. It’s been a bit overshadowed in the years since its publication back in the 80s, but the lessons it has to teach fantasy fans still ring true. You can have a great story without kings, lords/ladies, and knights. The Black Company itself is a mercenary group made up of common soldiers and sorcerers just trying to make it in a world where they realize they are the pawns of greater, darker powers. What do they do with this knowledge? Check out the book and see. It’s well worth your time, especially if you’re looking for something different in your fantasy reading.
Alright, I’ll admit it…I’m already addicted to Penny Dreadful. Yes, I love Victorian period pieces, and as I mentioned last week in my review of “Night Work,” I am very, very fond of monsters. One of the reasons I chose the title of my blog is because I am so very many things, all cobbled together like Frankenstein’s monster. It is no coincidence that the OED lists the etymology of the word “monster” as “monere,” which means “to warn.” Monsters are here to show us things; they are here because we need them, even when we must construct elaborate hoaxes. Our monsters reflect something: they warn us of our shortcomings and remind us of our fears while allowing us to escape from the confines of what we know.
In Penny Dreadful’s case, they’re terrifying
And speaking of what we know…One of the reasons that the Victorian period is so fascinating is that it was full of developments, particularly scientific and technological. Daguerreotypes were introduced in 1839, and by 1889, we had handheld cameras. Postage stamps were introduced, and the postage industry was standardized in a way that it had not been. Steam power made international trade and travel more possible than ever before. Anesthetics began to be used in medicine. New understandings of how diseases spread led to developments in surgical techniques, disease treatment, and sanitation. These developments created a world in which belief, suspicion, and science co-existed.
And the uneasiness of this co-existence led to some of the great stories we have now. In fact, one of the markers of Gothic fiction is ambivalence concerning technological and scientific advances. Frankenstein is concerned with creating life. In a notable scene from Stoker’s Dracula, Lucy has to receive a blood transfusion, and she gets blood from three different men. Conversations between the characters about these transfusions suggest discomfort with the idea of mixing blood (it is suggested that she is thrice married as she is blood-bonded to three men). Again, our monsters reflect something.
And monsters on Penny Dreadful abound, but they’re not always where we think they’re going to be. (Warning: Spoilers below the cut.)