They said they caught me in the act,
Green leaves,
The sheriff rode, the bloodhounds tracked,
Green leaves;
There was the law, there was not any doubt of it
There was the law, so I hustled right out of it;
Having but one life, I thought I'd refuse it
To those who were seeking but would never use it.
So I hid for cover in green leaves.

'Little John's Song' as written by John Myers Myer

5th of June, 2005

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Jack Merry at your service. I'm been, with the assistance of our Librarian who will do bloody near anything for a small consideration, been mucking about the Library here to see what I find interesting of a fantasy nature to read. Do you know that Peter S. Beagle adapted his 'Come, Lady Death' from his Fantasy World of Peter S. Beagle collection into a libretto for an opera, The Midnight Angel, which was written by David Carlson for the Glimmerglass Opera? Or that Charles de lint did a sweet -- pun fully intended! -- online tale about his immortal Crow Girls? Ahhh, now there's something terribly interesting -- the only copy that John Myers Myers annotated of his epic novel, Silverlock. What a lovely idea but only after you've read it!

Of course, Iain being a Librarian -- though he refuses to confirm or deny that he actually has any formal training beyond being the Librarian at one time at to one of our neighbours just down the street from our office building -- the Charles L. Dodgson School of the Imagination, named and funded by admirers of the mathematician who authored Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass -- gets very excited about reference material from the common, say the Oxford Reader's Companion to Charles Dickens, to such works as Bilbo Baggins's travel journal, There and Back Again, and all of the known work of Caitlin Midhir -- The Sleeping Warrior, Cloak and Hood, The Borderland, Yarkin, and Grindylow and Other Stories. He says the latter are some of the finest reading he's had the pleasure to do!

Gesturing with his one of his fingerless glove clad hands, he asks Holly Black, who is browsing amongst the stacks what her favourite work is. She replies up with 'favorite reference in general? Probably Evans-Wentz's Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries or K. Briggs' Encyclopedia of Fairies. I do love the Clute books, though. Wainscott fantasy, indeed.' The Clute books she refers to are the Encyclopedia of Fantasy and the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, fine works indeed if who ask me opinion. I suggested we move this conversation to the kitchen where afternoon nibblies are being served...

Lisa Spangenberg, who styles herself the Digital Medievalist, is enjoying a cup of Blue Mountain. She has a fitting choice for a student of all things medieval -- Calvert Watkin's Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, available as an Appendix to the American Heritage Dictionary, which is available online here.

But Craig Clarke goes for more of a pop culture bent to his reference material -- Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film, 1978- 1986, On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, All Music Guide to Rock, and the Videohound Golden Movie Retriever.

Denise Dutton says 'It's a toss-up between the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft & Demonology by Russel H. Robbins (always a fun trivia read) and the Complete Guide to Middle Earth by Robert Foster. I also have a Thesaurus from 1953 that I'm particularly fond of.'

Kelly Sedinger goes for the classics mostly: Wine for Dummies; The Merriam- Webster Encyclopedia of Literature; the Rand-McNally World Atlas; two historical atlases that I own; the NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Celtic Music; the Oxford Book of English Poetry; Strunk and White; the Oxford Pocket English Dictionary of which he wryly notes 'Why they call it a pocket dictionary is beyond me; the thing is the size of the TPB edition of Cryptonomicon. You'd have to have massive pockets for that.'

Emma Bull gets the last word: 'It depends on the book, of course. For every book, the Oxford English Dictionary, Fowler's Modern English Usage, and the Chicago Manual of Style. For historical stuff, I've used What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, and A Timeline of Inventions. And for Territory, my new novel specifically, Paula Mitchell Marks's And Die in the West: The Story of the OK Corral Gunfight and many many copies of True West Magazine. Many more sources than that for the current book, but Marks's book is my foundation reading.'

Elizabeth Hand's Mortal Love both delighted and puzzled Elizabeth Vail as noted in her Excellence in Writing Award winning review: 'This is probably the first book that I heartily enjoyed, but barely understood. Throughout this wide-spanning, endlessly complex novel, I was overcome by the sensation similar to that of a child listening to an adult conversation, or a foreigner trying to comprehend an active dialogue in a language she's only half learned. While there is a main plot, a thick, twisting vein throughout the narrative that is easy enough to follow so that one is able to finish the novel feeling they've received a fair amount of closure, there are just as many spiraling, branching, wild elements that remain unsolved. While it was nearly impossible to get all of the puzzle pieces to fit by the time I finished reading, the misty, unfinished portrait I ended up with was nevertheless beautiful, haunting, and erotic.'

Donna Bird notes that 'The Magician's Study bears the somewhat unwieldy but entirely accurate subtitle, 'A Guided Tour of the Life, Times, and Memorabilia of Robert 'The Great' Rouncival'. This is a direct reference to its unique and charming narrative style. Starting from the first page and carrying all the way through to the end, the narrator takes the reader and the rest of his/her group on a lengthy and detailed tour through the study of an historic Hudson Valley house -- located in the fictitious town of Kaatershook, New York.' Read her review to hear the rest of this odd story.

Joe R. Lansdale's The Boar is a unique offering from this writer as Craig Clarke notes: 'Inspired by the more adult subject matter covered in the Young Adult novels by authors like Gary Paulsen and Robert Cormier, a young Joe R. Lansdale set out to write his own YA entry, using his particular style while telling a simple, straightforward story -- The Boar was the result. Unfortunately, it proved to be impossible to sell until recently, when fans are clamoring for all of the Lansdale they can get their hands on. It first saw print in a limited Subterranean Press edition. Now Night Shade Books has given it the release it deserves with a more affordable trade hardcover printing, hopefully allowing more people to read this terrific little book.'

Jasmine Johnston had an interesting experience: 'When I started reading the Comical Tragedy or Tragical Comedy of Mr. Punch, I had already entered into the story by listening to the radio play. I thought that I might gain additional insight into the family events which lurk and jump out at one in the course of the narrator's story. What I found was exactly the same impenetrable mystery which informs the radio version.' Read her review to see why the graphic novel is even darker than the play. BRRRRR!

Maria Nutick says that Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi's The Notebook for Fantastical Observations 'is a companion to Black and DiTerlizzi's Spiderwick Chronicles geared towards young readers of the series. It's designed to draw them even deeper into the world of Faerie, and should succeed admirably with any child who has even a fragment of imagination and creativity.'

Carter Nipper comments 'Readers who pick up Ray Bradbury's Driving Blind expecting to see spaceships and Martians will be disappointed. Within these twenty-one stories is only one spaceship. The author of this book is not Ray Bradbury, Master of Science Fiction. This is just plain Bradbury doing what he does best: spelunking in his soul and showing us ourselves in the caverns and pools he finds there.' Read his review to just what Bradbury has in store for the lucky readers of this collection!

He also looked at another Bradbury classic: 'The Illustrated Man is a short tale wrapped around eighteen short stories. The framing story is of a tattooed man whom the narrator meets, and whose tattoos foretell the future. The eighteen short stories inside the frame give Ray Bradbury's visions of our future and, in the process, let us see ourselves as we are in the past and present. Bradbury always asks probing questions in his work, but seldom provides definitive answers. He leaves it to the reader to find his or her own answers inside.'

The Nipper also looked at Ghosts in the Snow which he says 'is the debut novel from Tamara Siler Jones. A genre-blending mix of equal parts fantasy, mystery, and romance, this novel is an omen of a lot of good reading to come.' His review says it's not perfect, but well worth reading!

Charles de Lint's latest endeavour, The Hour Before Dawn and Two Other Stories from Newford, made Robert M. Tilendis a very happy reader: 'This volume is my first encounter with Charles de Lint's Newford. Strangely enough, these works, particularly the title story, remind me very strongly of some of Jonathan Lethem's stories, and I couldn't begin to say why. De Lint's stories are nowhere near so fundamentally cynical, nor so hopelessly nihilistic -- in fact, quite the opposite. Perhaps it is simply that the two share an outlook in which anything can happen and the ability to draw a world in which it probably will.'

C. E. Murphy's Urban Shaman is, as Robert tells it, good but not quite good enough: 'Murphy has done her homework, blending the Germano-Celtic legends of the Wild Hunt with a Native spirit guide -- Coyote, in this instance -- and incorporating it all into a murder mystery. Walker is an engaging hero, with enough kinks in her past to provide the makings of complex character (although she spends an inordinate amount of time getting knocked on the head and otherwise beaten up), and the supporting cast is ably drawn, although they sometimes veer perilously close to stock characters. Action is swift, the writing fluent, and yet somehow it doesn't quite jell.'

Connie Willis's Inside Job is a neat little chapbook from Subterranean Press, a press that more often than not causes oohs and ahhs around the office here. Leona Wisoker says of this work that 'I'm proud to add this one to my shelf, and glad I got the chance to read and review it. I think Inside Job is well worth picking up for anyone who likes skeptics, dry humor, and exposing frauds.' Leona always has a few cautionary words on book covers!

Craig Clarke takes a look at The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes and likes what he sees. 'Each generation has its own Sherlock Holmes. I remember my father and uncle introducing me to theirs at an early age. Basil Rathbone embodied the practical side of Holmes: unafraid of physical work and with a booming voice that didn't suffer fools gladly -- and, of course, the profile! . . . But Jeremy Brett is the Sherlock Holmes of the modern generation (at least until the next icon comes along to take his place).' Craig's Excellence In Writing Award winning review discusses three television specials that fans of Baker Street may know, and others may want to check out!

The other film review this issue didn't exactly come from the most altruistic of aspirations. Film editors like to maintain their street cred, and I'm no different. If we don't keep up with new releases they change the password over at the clubhouse (and I've always liked their popcorn). So I ejected my old VHS copy of Return of the Jedi from the player, kissed it goodbye, and headed to the multiplex to catch the final installment of George Lucas' Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith. Learn what I thought of it, you must? Tell you, I will. I snagged an Excellence In Writing Award for this review, which should keep me in popcorn for a while.

Jack Merry here. We haven't seen much of Our Editor-in-Chief, Cat Eldridge, as he was busy this past week with interviews he did with two of our favourite persons -- Kage Baker and Nicholas Burbridge. (Though the kitchen was quite aware of the demands he put upon them!) First he interviewed Kage Baker, the author of 'The Company' series and other wonderful works of fiction who joined him, as he notes, 'in the Robert Graves Memorial Reading Room here atGreen Man to discuss her works. We're having tea and quite delicious nibblies as provided by the kitchen staff as we discuss various matters.' Find out about her novel that didn't happen, Nuns on the Run, and why it isn't like Zelazny's Damnation Alley, and why Elizabethan English is a good thing to know.

Next up was actor / poet / writer / musician / agitator Nick Burbridge of McDermott's 2 Hours and other endeavours who joined him in the Green Man Pub for a lively conversation that covered, over quite a bit of rum and tattiescones (as requested by Nick), a number of subjects. So grab yourself your favourite libation and settle in to listen to them discuss bloody near everything that Nick has the jones for!

Letters editor Craig here. It's a family- oriented batch of letters this time around, with no less than three relatives of review subjects writing in. First, Clarise Jacob, niece of Blondie Chaplin, tells about her experience with 'Uncle Terry.' Next, Mary Irvine, aunt of Alexander C. Irvine, connects GMR's own holly sprig motif with the Irvine crest. And Poppy Weatherall expresses concern with David Kidney's review of Rolling Down to Old Maui, an album featuring her father, Dave Weatherall.

Elsewhere, Sid Holmes offers up a fascinating history of the death-rock song 'Last Kiss' (written by Wayne Cochran), and Liz Hand poses a question to our readers regarding French folklore of the alder tree. Send any help on that subject, or your own special brand of correspondence, to the Letters editor. We love to hear from our readers.

Greetings all! David Kidney here, fresh from a trip to the west. My brother moved out there 25 years ago and this is the first time I've been out to see him. We spent much of our time together listening to, and discussing, music. And, after all, that's what we're here for! 

I took digital photos of my trip to Banff, Lake Louise and Calgary, but somehow these snaps vanished before my eyes as I tried to dump them onto my computer. I was left with no pictures, only the ../../images I could recall in my mind. Today's reviews are of digital images from all over the world which are fixed in time, metal embedded in plastic. Good, bad, indifferent . . . here's what our crack team of writers have for you this week!

First up, a Celtic omni. This one is by Alistair Brown and features five albums of music from Ireland, Scotland, Cape Breton and Denmark. One album garnered the following comment, '. . . the different components combine to create a new musical compound, illustrating what the musicians have in common after all the unique elements that have gone before,' but the same could be said of most of the albums under consideration. Read Alistair's fine review. Then contrast his opinion of The Indepenence Suite with another view by Peter Massey.

'There must be something about the music of former French colonies. I was astounded by how much Ren Lacaille'smusic from l'ile de la Reunion sounds like Acadian music from the Maritimes, or zydeco or New Orleans jazz (not necessarily all at once, mind you, but in turn).' Where the heck is la Reunion? In the southwestern Indian Ocean! Read the review by Faith J. Cormier of Ren Lacaille's new CD and you'll learn even more!

'In a little over a year, Romashka have built a reputation as one of the most exciting and energetic bands in New York City's world music scene. Before converging on Brooklyn, the band's eight members cut their musical teeth in different locations, including a number of Ivy League institutions.'  Scott Gianelli provides a fine introduction to this fascinating (and exciting) band!

Peter Massey listened to a whole raft of Celtic music for his Excellence in Writing Award winning omni . A dozen albums as different as they can be, and Peter makes sense of them. Carreg Lafar, Robin Flower & Libby McLaren, two albums by Ken Kolodner, Jim Reid, Brendan Begley, Finlay MacDonald/Simon Mcherrell & Chris Gibb, Rosheen, Dochas, Rosie Shipley and Matt Mulqueen with Peter & Trevor Shipley and an album called The Independence Suite by various artists (sound familiar?) are the artists under scrutiny. Peter states 'I am reminded of the old saying, 'When you are up to your backside in alligators, it's hard to remember the object of the exercise was to drain the swamp!' In this review I look at a handful of Celtic albums, all different in their own way. I don't think it is either right or fair to file Celtic music all under one hat, as the variety in these albums illustrates.' And then he looks closely at each one. Don't miss his review!

Kelly Sedinger discusses a new recording of music by the little known Norwegian composer Sigurd Lie . 'It may be a bad time to be in the classical music business, with the state of recording being what it is, but it's actually a pretty nice time to be a classical music listener, if you happen to be curious about the music that has slipped through the cracks of time.'

Robert M. Tilendis admits to adding '. . . a new category to my musical library . . . developing a distinct fondness for good old-fashioned fiddling. I can't think of anything more likely to bring a twinkle to your eye and a bounce to your step, and A Henry Reed Reunion is no exception.' This tribute album features James Reed, Alan Jabbour and Bertram Levy playing tunes from the repertoire of master fiddler Henry Reed and Robert declares that the '. . . joy comes through in full measure.' Mr. Tilendis also looks at Frank Wallace's Delphin, a collection of Spanish guitar music which had him spellbound. Well, potentially spellbound '. . . I'd like to see it in a live performance, however, without the distractions of a daily life in which music is more context than event. I think it would be, in a quiet and thoroughly enjoyable way, a spellbinding evening.'

Robert concludes his hat trick of reviews with a look at music by John Taverner. He warns that The Veil of the Temple may take some work, '. . . It is not easy music. One may come to it with the will to understand, but there is no guarantee that one will wind up actually liking it, although one will certainly come to appreciate it. I'm rather fond of Tavener's music in general, and hold him responsible for some of the most beautiful works in the contemporary repertoire.' 'Hey Bob! Di'n't this bloke 'ave a contract wif Apple Records once upon a time?' SPike asks!

Gary Whitehouse managed to claim an album of Django Reinhardt's guitar music that I had set my eyes on! So his review of Douce Ambience  was of special interest to me! 'This album collects some of Django's excursions into electric guitar, an instrument for which he is less well known. Recorded at several different sessions in Paris in 1947, they present a different side of Reinhardt's genius.' Django . . . on electric guitar?!?! Fascinating! See what Gary has to say about it!

Well, that's it. More than enough musical memories to keep anyone occupied for the next fortnight! Excuse me while I close my eyes and try to recapture that first sight of the Rockies! Aaah!

Iain's now deep in conversation with Pippin over something that Pippin says he's heard is in the archives of recorded material.(Our archives are extensive and quite ancient -- Taliesin's lament for Arthur is in them as is a reel by Queen Orphiana's fiddling jack, both captured by the Sidhe in strands of twisted glass. We have yet to find a way to transfer these to a more modern audio medium without shattering the glass and losing the music. More's the pity . . . ) No, not that recording of J. R. R. Tolkien reading the entire Letters from Father Christmas, but a recording of Karen and Poul Anderson singing the songs of Silverlock -- rather raunchily as it turns out! Iain's particularly excited as one of the songs is one Ruth Berman finished, 'Friar John's Song' as it was unfinished in Silverlock as a woman appeared in the scene as it was being sung!


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Archived 19 June 2005, 1:55 PST (LLS)