Literary Matters: Thoughts on a new illustrated edition of The Hobbit

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit has a long and colorful publishing history as one of the most beloved fantasy tales of all time. That history continues with a new edition that seems to be aimed at reclaiming the written version of the story as a way to introduce it to young readers. It’s a handsome hardcover . . . → Read More: Literary Matters: Thoughts on a new illustrated edition of The Hobbit

Literary Matters: It’s Been a Nasty Winter

For some of us, at least. Fortunately, some hardy souls have managed to defy the elements and send in some new reviews, so let’s take a look.

First, Death’s Apprentice from K. W. Jeter and Gareth Jefferson Jones, featuring, among other things, a killer for hire to works for the Devil.

Next up, from steampunk . . . → Read More: Literary Matters: It’s Been a Nasty Winter

Musical Matters: Capercaillie: At the Heart of It All

I’m still working my way through Capercaillie, which, out of a host of interesting musicians from many traditions, remains one of the most engaging groups I’ve run across. At the Heart of It All, their newest release, seems to pull together a lot of what I’ve found in their earlier offerings into a very coherent . . . → Read More: Musical Matters: Capercaillie: At the Heart of It All

Musical Matters: Capercaillie: To the Moon

To the Moon was my first exposure to Capercaillie, so of course, it was what’s generally considered their “crossover” album. This is by no means a negative, or even something that’s very obvious: it’s more apparent in the rhythm patterns, the instrumentation (sorry, but no one is going to persuade me that the bouzouki is . . . → Read More: Musical Matters: Capercaillie: To the Moon

Literary Matters: Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland novels

Twisted fairy tales, revisions and reversions of old legends and mythologies, turning everyday life inside out and at odd angles to itself, bringing Old Magic into a Today World–it’s all the province of names like Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett–and Catherynne M. Valente. As with those authors, Valente has already established cross-media ties; notably, songs by . . . → Read More: Literary Matters: Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland novels

On Kristian Blak and Faroe Islands music

Barb Truex penned this lovely commentary for us.

A few months ago I had my first exposure to music from the Faroe Islands, a small group of Nordic islands that lie between Iceland and the Scottish Shetland Islands. I reviewed three recordings from the group Spælimenninir. Getting to know artists better over time as . . . → Read More: On Kristian Blak and Faroe Islands music

John Barleycorn Reborn

Objectivity be damned, it just can’t be done! When presented with a collection of tracks dubbed Dark Britannica, comprising two CDs that when purchased entitles you to 33 extra downloadable tracks (the equivalent of two more CDs), which collectively prove satisfying time after time — sorry, but all pretence at neutrality must be abandoned. This . . . → Read More: John Barleycorn Reborn

Brief Lines: Big Names

One of the benefits of the recent upsurge in novellas being published is the opportunity for big names to play in smaller sandboxes. Works that are perhaps too experimental or too insubstantial for full novel-length projects can get play now, providing readers with more of their favorite authors. Meanwhile, the authors themselves get a chance . . . → Read More: Brief Lines: Big Names

Colcannon: The Pooka and the Fiddler and Happy as Larry

Ahhh, there you are. I saw you sitting over in Falstaff’s Chair by the cheerfully cracklin’ fire on this cold, windy, and even rainy night. I see you’re enjoying your novel… Me? I’m reading de Lint’s Moonheart — perhaps his best known work. Not all great literature comes in the form of the printed page . . . → Read More: Colcannon: The Pooka and the Fiddler and Happy as Larry

Catching Up

We have reviews for you. Yes, indeedy, so, since it’s been a while, let’s get right to it.

Comics creator Joe Mignola ventures into the realm of “illustrated novel” with collaborator Christopher Golden in Joe Golem and the Drowned City.

Elizabeth Bear is back with another tale of Bijou the Artificer and her fellow adventurers, . . . → Read More: Catching Up