Literary Matters: Revisiting Heinlein

Well, it’s 2014. After several delays, Skynet has become self-aware and unleashed Judgment Day on the human race, any day now, the latest model of hoverboards should be hitting store shelves, and, mark your calendars, next year Marty McFly and Doc Brown should be completing their long (relative to us) journey from the year 1985, to get . . . → Read More: Literary Matters: Revisiting Heinlein

Musical Matters: Susanne Vega’s Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles

“Luka”, “Tom’s Diner”, “99.9F°”…. Suzanne Vega was one of my big music loves from the late 80s/early 90s. She’s been making beautiful music since then, though this is her first album in seven years. And Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles is a corker. There’s lovely mysticism threaded through the album, . . . → Read More: Musical Matters: Susanne Vega’s Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles

Literary Matters: Glen Cook: The Tyranny of the Night / Lord of the Silent Kingdom

I’ve been an admirer of Glen Cook’s writing for many years, ever since I read Shadowline, the first book of the Starfishers series, way back when. I had never run into anyone who had quite that mix of myth and space opera, with the possible exception of Roger Zelazny, and Zelazny was not doing quite . . . → Read More: Literary Matters: Glen Cook: The Tyranny of the Night / Lord of the Silent Kingdom

Literary Matters: Glen Cook: Working God’s Mischief

Arnhand, Castauriga, and Navaya lost their kings. The Grail Empire lost its empress. The Church lost its Patriarch, though he lives on as a fugitive. The Night lost Kharoulke the Windwalker, an emperor amongst the most primal and terrible gods. The Night goes on, in dread. The world goes on, in dread. The ice . . . → Read More: Literary Matters: Glen Cook: Working God’s Mischief

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