1) Happy Festivus to all! Here, I am pleased to tell you that the holiday has gone quite well and according to custom with the Grey One knocking down a pole. (Well, ok, technically the Swifter, but, a pole is a pole and she liked watching it fall since her grievances, apparently, are poles that stand up and faucets that could be running water, but aren't, so, it counts as a Festivus sort of thing.)

2) For those of you not quite sick of Santa Claus yet, I chatter about L. Frank Baum's biography of the tireless toymaker over at Tor.com.

3) And, this is my favorite site of the day: Law and the Multiverse, in which two attorneys carefully explain how the law applies to superheroes and supervillains. Particularly useful for any of you who may be expecting Doomsday to throw Superman through your house this holiday season, or, in the case of at least one of my readers, expecting a certain comics writer to throw Spider-Man through your house in hopes that this may end various internet flame wars. (Memo: no internet flame war that I have been aware of has ever been improved by the throwing of a superhero through the average suburban home, but it is true that I am not aware of everything.)

Apparently, this cat has still more grievances to share, and it is Festivus, after all, so later.
I'm interviewed up at Fantasy Magazine today. The entire interview made me remember that the Sicilian folktale I'm going on about is located someplace in a huge pile of boxes, like, THANKS ITALO CALVINO, and is not going to be found today. Sniffle. (Actually I can't remember if I encountered the tale through him or not....something that can only be verified through those boxes. More sniffling.)

Anyway, that marks my third appearance someplace on the net this week. If you missed them, the other two were Mademoiselle and the Chevalier and the latest Tor.com post, chattering about L. Frank Baum's Sky Island.

Sky Island

Nov. 4th, 2010 06:17 pm
Ok, I lied. (Not intentionally, but I lied.) I do have a Tor.com post up today, about L. Frank Baum's Sky Island. I also have a copy of Towers of Midnight, featuring [personal profile] kate_nepveu in a minor role (which is just totally geeky) rather sooner than I expected. I do not have a bathtub that can be operated without a pair of pliers yet, nor a toilet in the main bathroom (it is still sitting, cheerily enough, outdoors, and has now been gently cleaned by the rain) although tile has arrived on part of the walls (a tile I think most of you will approve of.) And the cats have their very own scratch pads so they can

Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), I suspect you are all too riveted to the Cooks Source imbroglio, to notice any of this, since that is not only trending on Twitter now (whee!) but, the internet informs me, has now expanded to stealing from Disney, which, let me assure you, is never, ever a good idea, and by never, ever, I mean, honestly, really, never; you'd be better off lying down and having Bambi stomp on you for killing his mother before leaving you in a forest fire. Less painful, and you'll feel less guilty afterwards. Trust me.

But. Anyway. Tor.com post! L. Frank Baum!

Exhaustion is making me rather loopy. More later.
And on a completely different note, a new Tor.com post up about John Dough and the Cherub, featuring a genderless - or nearly genderless - protagonist.

Also, as long as you are there, Tor.com is offering a steampunk giveaway deal with lots of very cool things and some books and also an autographed Star Trek book thing, so, wander around!
What with everything yesterday, I completely missed that the next Tor.com post is up, this one dealing with Queen Zixi of Ix.
My latest Tor.com post, about L. Frank Baum's experiments with science fiction, is now up at Tor.com. Enjoy!
My post on The Magical Monarch of Mo just went up at Tor.com. This was a book I'd never read in childhood, and it let me think impossible things for awhile.
Submarines, slacking, magic wands, sinking islands and more - my post about Glinda of Oz up at Tor.com.

And now some good news: Tor.com has asked me to continue ahead with this project and review the rest of the canonical Oz books.

By "canonical Oz books" Tor.com and I both mean "The Famous Forty," including most of the books by Ruth Plumly Thompson, John R. Neill, Jack Snow, Rachel Cosgrove's The Hidden Valley of Oz, and Eloise Jarvis McGraw and Lauren Lynn McGraw's Merry Go Round in Oz. This list does not include every book written by the Royal Historians of Oz, and is, alas, somewhat arbitrary, but since an incomplete listing of Oz books contains over 200 titles, a line has to be drawn somewhere. (And nope, it does not include Gregory Maguire's books.)

There will be a brief gap - two to three weeks - before the next posts start going up, largely to give me time to track down the books, but then, luck, libraries and used bookstores willing, we should be back to the once a week format.

I would not have been able to do this continued project without your support, so thanks muchly, and I hope everyone continues to enjoy the series as we start exploring the rather less known Oz books.
Tor.com has just posted the latest Oz post, The Tin Woodman of Oz.

I didn't discuss it that much in the post, but from a disability perspective, this is one of the most fascinating of the Oz novels (The Patchwork Girl of Oz, with its happily defiant heroine, is the other). The Tin Woodman, after all, started out with a prosthetic leg, then two prosthetic legs, then a prosthetic arm, and so on...until his entire body becomes tin. As a tin person, the Tin Woodman is automatically marked as distinct and different, but the Tin Woodman embraces this distinction, and indeed, insists that the transformation into tin is an improvement. After all, as an ordinary human woodcutter, he was just that - ordinary. As the Tin Woodman, he gets to go on adventures and rule a kingdom, surrounded by happy devoted lackeys who want nothing more than to create even more creatures of tin.

Which leads me, I suppose, to the model of the "happy disabled" - you know the trope: the disabled person who becomes a kinder and gentler person who can teach us all about what Life Really Means, or What's Really Important, and who is always cheery and faces illness/disability with a smile. (In other words, Not Me.) But I don't think the Tin Woodman fits this model. In the first place, as this book notes, and other books hint, he is hardly flawless: deeply vain about his personal appearance (he spends significant time polishing his body), fussy, and a moral absolutist whose narrow mindedness often leads him to make unfair judgements, causing pain and annoyance to other characters. (See both The Patchwork Girl of Oz and The Lost Princess of Oz.) In the second place, the Tin Woodman does not regard himself as disabled - indeed, he regards himself as superior to ordinary humans. And that in itself is a deeply subversive statement.
The latest Oz post is up at Tor.com - this one about The Lost Princess of Oz. Deceptive rulers and gun toting teddy bears! Yay!

Still exhausted from last week. I do have some end of the year posts kinda rattling around my head, but I'm not entirely sure I'll get to them by the end of the year. So they might become beginning of the year posts, or the sort of posts that just float untold and unfinished in my head, which happens more often than you might think. Meanwhile, the New Year's Eve message from the Little One is that you should all spend more time in the coming year sleeping, seeking out sunny places, eating fine foods like tuna, and cuddling with the ones you love, and making the ones you like sneeze a lot.

That message might even have a bit of wisdom in it. Might.
This week, the Oz blog returns to chattering about fairy tales, poverty and Darth Vader in a discussion of Rinkitink in Oz. Enjoy!
The latest Oz post up at Tor.com, this one chatting about The Scarecrow of Oz. And eating candy for dinner, which I thoroughly approve of. Especially in fairylands.
The latest Oz post, about Tik-Tok of Oz, now up at Tor.com.

Tik-Tok of Oz did not, alas, do that well in the rereading. But the book does have a dragon in it, and I am willing to overlook many things when dragons are involved.
What with the holiday yesterday I completely failed to notice that Tor.com posted my latest blog on Oz, this one about The Patchwork Girl of Oz.
The last Oz post, where I get exasperated with a certain fairy calling herself the ruler of Oz, is up here.

This was actually the book that started up this series of posts. Reading the call for horror fiction based on Oz drew up the vague memory of one of the incidents of this book. The story was already in my head, itching, but before I let myself write it, I forced myself to reread this book, just to make sure I'd remembered it correctly.

Sure enough, I had remembered the Fuddles correctly. But I had not remembered the rest of the book as well, and I found myself reading it with a growing sense of stark horror. It was, and was not, the same book that I read as a child, because in the intervening years, I had changed - and so had the way I read the book.

More thoughts in the post.
Oz chatter continues with The Road to Oz, where Oz enters communism at last. Also, fairies fall off rainbows, but annoyingly fail to detail the burial locations of fairy gold.
I chatter about one of my favorite Oz books, Ozma of Oz, this week.
Another Oz post up at Tor Books today, this one focused on The Marvelous Land of Oz. I'd forgotten most of this book when it came time to reread it, and found myself laughing through it (and cringing a little).

Various Things may prevent me from joining any discussion for a bit, but meanwhile, enjoy!

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