Archive for June, 2010


So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, ‘Try to be true to me,
And I’ll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc., etc.’
Well now, I knew this girl. It’s true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
The notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck. She told me later on
That after a while she got to looking out
At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad,
Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds
And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry. To have been brought
All the way down from London, and then be addressed
As a sort of mournful cosmic last resort
Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room
And finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit,
And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn’t judge her by that. What I mean to say is,
She’s really all right. I still see her once in a while
And she always treats me right. We have a drink
And I give her a good time, and perhaps it’s a year
Before I see her again, but there she is,
Running to fat, but dependable as they come.
And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d’ Amour.

(Tip o’ the proverbial hat to Ole for the find!)





The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits;–on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch’d land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl’d.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

That country where it is always turning late in the year.

That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay…

That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts.

Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.

- October Country by Ray Bradbury

(…) I tend to work up ideas when they’re needed in a relatively laborious and unglamorous way.  I’m in the process of thinking about my next (sixth) book now, in fact, and it goes something like: What shall I write?  Always liked westerns, so – a combination of epic fantasy and western?  Who shall be the characters, what the settings, what the situations, what the themes … I work it through bit by bit, think it out, read a lot of western history and a few novels for inspiration, plan it in some detail, then write it (which obviously takes a few man hours), then revise, revise, revise.  Not to say that good ideas don’t sometimes come in a flash of inspiration, but they’re usually certain bits of dialogue, or neat ways to resolve a plot or set a scene, rather than whole notions for a story.  I think there’s an idea that writers must be fountains of creativity, and maybe some are, but that’s not really my experience.

- Joe Abercrombie, in an interview on Examiner.com

Pretty Pictures #12


Which SFF Character Are You?

Jean-Luc Picard

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

An accomplished diplomat who can virtually do no wrong, you sometimes know it is best to rely on the council of others while holding the reins.

There are some words which I have known since I was a schoolboy. “With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.” These words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie — as a wisdom, and warning. The first time any man’s freedom is trodden on, we’re all damaged.

Which SFF character are you?

Pretty Pictures #11



Pretty Pictures #10


“Some day, Locke Lamora,” he said, “some day you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope that I’m around to see it.”

- Chains to Locke in The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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