Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Book Reviews: From political histories to bad comics, to bad comics of political histories. And the occasional rant about fiction and writing.

The Woman Who Forgot William Morris

Jerry Stratton, October 28, 2011

photo for Lovecraft and Holmes

These panelists are talking about the sea, and have nothing to do with anything in this post.

“Fantasy is still a very young genre.”—Kari Sperring, discussing the tendency for writers to make the main characters be nobles, during Friday’s panel on class in fantasy. I went despite the red flag word in the title because the other panel sounded boring, and I sometimes enjoy alternative viewpoints. But class-related discussions in cons tend to become caricatures of themselves, and this was no exception.

Later that evening I went to a reading by Ben Loory; he’s an author worth searching out. I would guess he has been heavily influenced by Ray Bradbury and probably also Neil Gaiman.

I stole the title of this post from a short work that Neil Gaiman read from this afternoon, The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury, which is also well worth searching out.

“If I kill you, I win. If you kill me, I win. How do you fight someone like that?”—Len Wein, talking about his favorite villain, the Joker from The Dark Knight.

And several from Cory Goodfellow at the Lovecraft panel:

“The sea is the inimitable womb, that has become an inhospitable environment.”

Lovecraft was “trying to make atheists as frightened as creationists are.”

“It’s his grand cosmic way of saying you’re adopted. You’re all adopted.”

Someone on this panel also mentioned a book about Lovecraft’s influence on, among other things, the ancient astronaut movement, The Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft And Extraterrestial Pop Culture. Sounds fascinating, although the use of the term “pop culture” in the title is another red flag.

Everybody is talking about Sherlock Holmes. Connie Willis raved about the somewhat new Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch. Neil Gaiman read a new Holmes story from a collection that just came out.

Reality may be stranger than fiction, but fiction does seem to be more memorable than reality. Among the things I’ve learned at today’s panels are that the Hopi Indians had an advanced culture that pumped oil, the Anasazi rose to an advanced civilization and then they ate each other, and that the people of Dunwich in England believe Mordred is the hero of the Arthurian era and Arthur was a usurper. And that a sailboat racer whose boat was disabled during a race fixed the boat and went into the middle of the ocean to wait nine months in order to zip out later and win (a different?) race. He kept a journal and it shows him slowly descending into madness.

Some of these may be more true than others. The sailboat racer is probably a fractured version of Donald Crowhurst, for example.

In response to World Fantasy Convention 2011, San Diego: I’m not sure if I’m at the World Fantasy Convention or the World Yarning Convention. Three of four people around me are doing things with yarn.

  1. <- The Ship of Ishtar
  2. If wishes were seahorses ->