I keep forgetting to post about it, because Friday nights, but: look for it on Friday mornings.
(Please take substantive comment there, thanks.)
I have things to say! About Readercon and Welcome to Night Vale and four versions of "Atlantic City" and the Hugo & Campbell nominees and the kids and traveling to England and Ireland next month, yikes . . . but I came home from Readercon to find that work had exploded in several different directions. So I will clear one thing off my queue with a short request for assistance, and hope to catch up with other things later.
In a couple months, I am going to re-read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell for Tor.com for the lead-up to the BBC series (release date as yet unannounced, but probably near the end of 2014). (I will also re-read The Ladies of Grace Adieu.) Sometime after I finish that, I will also re-read the Temeraire series for the lead-up to the release of the final book. [*]
I have two books on the Napoleonic Wars already: The Napoleonic Wars: A Very Short Introduction, by Mike Rapport, which I have just started and am appreciating so far, and Napoleon's Wars: An International History, 1803-1815, by Charles Esdaile. I expect these will suffice for my military history needs for JS&MN, but if you have very strong feelings about this topic, feel free (after you see the note below).
The next thing I know that I need is a social history of the UK that includes this time period, to give me context on JS&MN's handling of class, gender, nationality, and race. Do you all have any suggestions?
And what else do I need that I don't know I need? I'm going to have to go much wider on the history, military and otherwise, for Temeraire, but let's put that aside for the moment because it's further away. Is there history or literature or anything that JS&MN is engaging with, that your knowledge of enhanced your appreciation of the book? What is it, and what should I read to get up to speed on it, if possible?
(Note: I am way more likely to follow up on your suggestion if you explain why it is relevant specifically to JS&MN and provide enough information for me to find the work you are suggesting. And while I can probably get many academic works via Chad, it would be extra-useful for you to indicate how accessible an academic work is to someone not part of academia, i.e., me.)
[*] While I did The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit chapter-by-chapter, JS&MN is 69 chapters long, and the Temeraire series is eight novels long, so, uh, no. I've very carefully divided JS&MN up into 13 parts of approximately equal length that do not violate chapter or volume boundaries—seriously, a spreadsheet was involved, it was kind of ridiculous—and will be using the handy three-volume structure to divide up each Temeraire book.
I am very excited about these projects, so thanks for helping me get started!
(PS: those of you who prompted me to pitch these forthcoming re-read series, back in the day, by noting the relative lack of female authors in Tor.com's rereads may be interested in today's launch of Judith Tarr re-reading Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince trilogy.)
I wasn't in the mood to read anything in my mental queue yesterday, and then scrolling through my e-book reader I saw Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and decided it was just the thing.
Wow, Susanna Clarke has such a wonderful touch with characterization. For instance:
( Read more... )
Just in the first four chapters. If I wanted to write fiction, I might have to stop reading out of sheer envy.
Seen various places: panels for Bittercon, the virtual con for those of us who'd like to be at any of the cons this weekend. I'm going to toss out several in a row, starting with:
The Napoleonic Wars in SF/F: What's the Appeal?
Space opera's been using the naval parts of the Napoleonic Wars as models for a while. Susanna Clarke and Naomi Novik have recently set fantasies in slightly alternate versions of the Napoleonic Wars. What's the appeal? Is this just the influence of Patrick O'Brian and Georgette Heyer showing through? Why are the tactics so fascinating to space opera writers? And what's so interesting about society of the time that both Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and the Temeraire series make an effort to fix it?
References: prior LJ post asking for suggestions to propose a Readercon panel that never went anywhere; Crooked Timber's seminar on JS&MN; my booklog posts on the Temeraire series (bonus: an old LJ post on platonic romance as the second book's structure).
A cool thing to discover at lunchtime: the blog Crooked Timber is hosting a seminar on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell; here's the introductory post. I haven't had time to read all of the posts yet, but I really enjoyed the book and found some of Crooked Timber's prior discussion to be interesting.
(I cannot understand, however, why some people want a sequel.)