Category Archives: Commentary

What’s New for the 17th of November: Charles de Lint, Robert’s Potato Soup, Folkmanis’ Chipmunk in Watermelon puppet, Rosanne Cash and Other Matters as Well

Once upon a time there was what there was, and if nothing had happened there would be nothing to tell. — Charles de Lint’s ‘The Moon is Drowning While I Sleep’ I’m  listening to ‘The Moon is Drowning While I … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 3rd of November: The Men They Couldn’t Hang’s ‘Homefires’, Mice, Josepha Sherman’s Winter Queen Speech, Mini Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes and Other Matters

Remember, remember the Fifth of November, The Gunpowder Treason and Plot, I know of no reason Why the gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot. Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta  As Christopher Fowler has bitterly complained, Guy Fawkes Day has fallen … Continue reading

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Of nature and magic

When I wrote Trash Sex Magic I was trying to do about a dozen things, which maybe accounts for why it took eighteen years to sell. I had a lot to say about nature. Oh hell, I just wanted to … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 27th of October: Our Halloween Edition

From ghoulies and ghosties And long-leggedy beasties And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us! Traditional Scottish prayer I’ve also seen that prayer credited to Cornish, Welsh, and “Celtic” sources — nothing specific, but you get … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 20th of October: Norwegian singer and songwriter Jens Carelius , Ciarán Carson Passes On, Brownies! Music from Steeleye Span, Books of An Autumnal Nature and Other Such Matters

Never trust the storyteller. Only trust the story. Neil Gaiman’s Fables & Reflections Québécois style pork pies, spiced with nutmeg, are the main entree for the eventide meal somewhat later on this Autumn day, along with roasted carrots, beets and onions, … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 13th of October: Music from Aaron Copland, a Superstar, a Horrible Folk Tale, Tolkien (Again), a Cuddly Leopard, and Do Have an Apple and Cheese Tart

She is our moon. Our tidal pull. She is the rich deep beneath the sea, the buried treasure, the expression in the owl’s eye, the perfume in the wild rose. She is what the water says when it moves. ― Patricia … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 6th of October: A breakfast biscuit, Women in Genre Fiction, Princess Bride Times Two, Trad Plus, Robert Hunter RIP and Autumn has really arrived!

Brown-eyed women and red grenadine, The bottle was dusty but the liquor was clean. Sound of the thunder with the rain pourin’ down, And it looks like the old man’s gettin’ on. Robert Hunter’s Brown-Eyed Women Remember I mentioned Ingrid, my wife, … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 29th of September: A Folkmanis Robot, Mug Cakes, Pogues Sans Shane McGowan, McKillip’s “Mystery” Story and Other Autumnal Matters

If the evidence says you’re wrong, you don’t have the right theory. You change the theory, not the evidence. — John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar Oh those puppets. They’re the extra ones of an Autumnal nature that Folkmanis sent along, … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 22nd of September: Falstaff’s Fireplace, Superb Chocolate, Single Pot Irish Whiskey, Great Fiction and Sweet Music — Small Treats Indeed!

One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats, and if some of these can be inexpensive and quickly procured so much the better. — Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea Would you like a taoscán of … Continue reading

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Whats New for the 15th of September: Patrick Street, Ethan Iverson Quartet, Ashley Hutchings, Patricia McKillip, The Band, Issac Asimov and Other Matters as We See Fit

Good times don’t last long sometimes. — Levon Helm We’ve had our first not so light frost last night, which was a few days early but not unusual for us. Gus, our Estate Gardener, protected what needed protecting and ruefully … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 8th of September: Celtic Music, Making Cider, Folkmanis dragons, Sherlock Holmes films, Pub Renovations, Music by the Old Blind Dogs and There’s a Touch of Frost in The Air

Like legend and myth, magic fades when it is unused. — Charles de Lint’s The Little Country The Pub’s closed for a fortnight for its once a decade cleaning, as it gets a complete overhaul with everything from the slate floor removed … Continue reading

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What’s New for The 1st of September: Italian flugelhorn music, a Zelazny collection, Pogues fronted by Strummer, a Miles Morales Spider-Man and Summer is Fading Away

To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due. — Hob Gadling, toasting upon Dream’s journey as told in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: Season of … Continue reading

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Peter Milligan’s Hellblazer: Scab

The latest Hellblazer trade paperback, Scab, picks up after the events of recent three volume arc by Andy Diggle. Peter Milligan, a veteran writer probably best known for a slew of Vertigo titles — Shade: The Changing Man, Animal Man, Enigma … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 25th of August:Yolen on Writing, Beatles in Portland, Costume Design on Doctor Who, Music from Kathryn Tickell and Other Late Summer Matters

I watched the people passing below, each of them a story, each story part of somebody else’s, all of it connected to the big story of the world. People weren’t islands, so far as I was concerned. How could they … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 18th of August: An Alternate Cairo, Craft Cider, Angela Carter’s Writings, Live Breton Music and Other Autumn Is Coming Matters

People talk about mainstream fiction and sf as though they were two quite different kinds of writing, and fantasy as well, as though it was quite different. But I think this a false distinction, that it is a labelling that … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 11th of August: Scottish Sort of Trad Music, A Fiendish Bean Dip, Africa, The Muppets and other Summer Things

‘Order me some of that delicious-looking lager those people are drinking and I’ll reveal everything,’ said Angela. ― Ngaio Marsh’s A Man Lay Dead It’s been unusually hot and humid here, so Mrs. Ware and her ever so talented Kitchen staff have … Continue reading

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Crunchy tacos: my madeleines?

We had crunchy tacos the other night. They’ve become a regular fixture on our home menu in the past year or so, especially since I’ve discovered several brands of taco shells that are quite low in sodium. Now, I know … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 4th of August: Alternative Egypts, American Indian Literature, The Final BronyCon, Irish trad music, Alan Moore’s Mind, Hunter’s smoky egg dip and Other Matters

The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances. ― Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express Yes, that’s a bagpiper, a smallpiper to be precise, that you can hear playing outside in the evening … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 28th of July: Lord Dunsany, The Mother Tongue, Chocolate Cake, Anime, Cajun Music, and more

I don’t trust memory, anyway. Why should I? Memories, however undependable, ought to be the stuff on the sand when the tides of experience recedes. As long as they’re part of that process, there’s something valid about them, something that … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 21st of July: Welsh Mythology in Fiction, Gazpacho, Bounty Hunters in Outer Space, a New take On Spider-Man, Lots of English Music, and more,

Branches grew from his hands, his hair. His thoughts tangled like roots in the ground. He strained upward. Pitch ran like tears down his back. His name formed his core; ring upon ring of silence built around it. His face … Continue reading

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What’s New for 14th of July: Writings Based on Music, A New Mythology, Japanese Photography, Cider, Supervillains, Nordic Music from the Midwest, Aaron Copland, and other goodies

Whenever one does extraordinary things, someone is bound to try to repeat them for themselves. It’s the way of the world. ― Catherynne M. Valente’s The Orphan’s Tale: In The Night Garden I’m listening to The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 7th of July: A Magical Family, Historical SF, Chocolate, The Cat In the Hat, Music, Traditional and Not, and other neat stuff

“Look,” said Janet, irritated, “if the thing you liked best to do in the world was read, and somebody offered to pay you room and board and give you a liberal arts degree if you would just read for four … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 30th of June: Composer and Pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, A Bonnie Bunch of Steeleye Span, Another Spider-Man Film, Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark Hazelnut Heaven bar, Online Crafters Ban Trump as a Conversation Subject, A Lúnasa Recording, A Yolen Fantasy and Other Delights

No one is making me say this. No one is making me tell this story. Nobody’s ever been much good at making me say anything I hadn’t already made up my mind to say.  — Elizabeth Bear I’ve returned from the … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 16th of June: Folkmanis’ Rat in a Tin Can, Patricia A. McKillip’s Solstice Wood, Sam Adams Seasonal Ale, A Dance & Concert by Blato Zlato, A Futuristic Riff off Holmes, Clash’s ‘London Calling’ and Other Neat Matters

Remember what they said? Some of it was true. — Clash’s ‘London Calling’ I’ve been madly, deeply this past fortnight into the various permutations of Clash, which in turn became Big Audio Dynamite and the Carbon/Silicon duo spin-off, not to … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 9th of June: A Whiskey Review Site, The Birth of British Folk Rock, Charles de Lint digital editions, Grateful Dead live music, A Great Supernatural Novel From Robert McCammon, Rocket Raccoon & Groot and Other Rather Charming Things

I see myself as a novelist, period. I mean, the material I work with is what is classified as science fiction and fantasy, and I really don’t think about these things when I’m writing. I’m just thinking about telling a … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 2nd of June: Killer Robots, Dirty Rice, Gifted Children, Aaron Copland and other neat stuff

Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers. ― Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine It’s warm enough out that we’re having a contradance this evening … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 26th of May: Music from Down Under, A History of Ice Cream, Supernatural Westerns, Game of Thrones, the Great Machine, and other goodies

If the real world were a book, it would never find a publisher. Over-long, detailed to the point of distraction – and ultimately without a major resolution. — Jasper Fforde’s Something Rotten It’s been an indoor period for almost everyone here as … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 19th of May: Pickled Eggs, Brideshead Revisited, Maxx and Bad Apple, A Scree on Author Politics and Other Matters

I’m a leftist. I don’t argue with anyone unless they agree with me.— Steven Brust, author of Vallista, the fifteenth and latest novel in the Taltos Cycle whose lead-off novel, Jhereg, is reviewed in our book review section.  We do have conferences held here from … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 12th of May: Another Thirteenth Doctor Figure, A Tanya Huff trilogy, Recordings by Molly Mason & Jay Ungar, A Conversation with Charles de Lint, Lots of Chocolate, ‘Saturday in the Park’ by Chicago and Other Tasty Matters

Chocolate. The food of the gods, as my grandma used to call it. And I totally agree. It’s the answer to prayers. Emotional relief. A form of currency. An aphrodisiac. Raw and dark. White and saccharine. Milky sweet. Mouthwatering. It’s … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 5th of May: It’s Spring, Beatrix Potter’s Garden, Time Travel, Candy, Jazz, and more

None of us know for sure what’s out there. That’s why we keep looking. Keep your faith. Travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly. — Thirteenth Doctor in ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos’ Can you smell it? No, not … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 28th of April: Folklore in the Twentieth Century, Russian Music, Real Fairy Tales, Swedish Pan Pipes, and more

April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. — T.S. Eliot I spent some time in Southeast Asia many years ago working for the British Consulate … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 21st of April: A History of Tull, the Polesotechnic League, Chocolate Eggs, More Tull, Payback, and other neat stuff

She who invented words, and yet does not speak; she who brings dreams and visions, yet does not sleep; she who swallows the storm, yet knows nothing of rain or wind. I speak for her; I am her own.― Catherynne … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 14th of April: Joanna Russ, Live Music from Altan, Outlander, Really Great Brownies, Haunted Gotham and Other Neat Stuff

Of all the things a man may do, sleep probably contributes most to keeping him sane. It puts brackets about each day. If you do something foolish or painful today, you get irritated if somebody mentions it, today. If it … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 7th of April: A Tale of Two Cities, A Bokashi Composter, Zombies, Scrapple, Jazz, Opera, and Other Tasty Matters

Is it more childish and foolish to insist that there is a conspiracy or that there is not? ― China Mieville’s The City & The City A really great mystery that’s also an outstanding work of sf is rare indeed which … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 31st of March: A Full Scottish Breakfast, Beatrix Potter’s Garden, Terrorists on Mars, Celtic and Eastern European Music, and more. . .

At the end of the season of sorrows comes the time of rejoicing. Spring, like a well-oiled clock, noiselessly indicates this time.  — Roger Zelazny’s “Passion Play”, found in Threshold: Volume 1, The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny She arrived bearing a … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 24th of March: Istanbul, Tulips, Church Music, Tyrannical Gods, Giant Bears and Other Colourful Matters

Many individuals grew suddenly rich. A golden bait hung temptingly out before the people, and, one after the other, they rushed to the tulip marts, like flies around a honey-pot. Every one imagined that the passion for tulips would last … Continue reading

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Whats New for the 17th of March: It’s Almost Spring, Or Is It? Aliens, the Irish, Chocolate, Bartók Does Folk, and more

Where I’ve been is places, and what I’ve seen is things, and there’ve been times I’ve run off from seeing them, off to other places and things. I keep moving, me and this guitar with the silver strings slung behind … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 10th of March: American and Nordic Roots Music, Yummy Recipes, Fiction by Roger Zelazny and Other Comforting Matters

Death is the only god that comes when you call. — Roger Zelazny’s 24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai  I’ve been reading a lot of Zelazny this winter as he’s one of the writers I go to when I … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 3rd of March: Bond, Beast, Dr. Who, Hedgehogs and other late winter matters

I’ve always been impulsive. My thinking is usually pretty good, but I always seem to do it after I do my talking—by which time I’ve generally destroyed all basis for further conversation. — Roger Zelazny’s This Immortal, a novel that … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 24th of February: Food and Drink Edition

Would I were in an alehouse in London! I would give all my fame for a pot of ale and safety.—  Henry V Over the years, we’ve reviewed a lot of food and drink related material here, from novels that had … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 17th of February: A Bevy of Nordic Recordings, Live Music from Skerryvore, Gaiman’s Books of Magic and Other Wonderful Things

Everyone thinks of them in terms of poisoned apples and glass coffins, and forgets that they represent girls who walked into dark forests and remade them into their own reflections. Seanan McGuire’s Indexing I’ve been reading Haunted England, which is the … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 10th of February: Really Small Libraries, Joni Mitchell does William Butler Yeats, The Dubliners in Concert and Other Fine Matters

Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, William Butler Yeats Ahhhh, cinnamon buns. Yes that’s the heavenly smell coming from … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 3rd of February: Pulitzer Prize winning poets, Rhetorics of Fantasy, Sipping Chocolate, Live Music by Philip Glass, Sonic Screwdrivers, Jelly Babies, Gruagachs and other matters

She was the greatest American writer of her generation. Her work deepened, expanded and challenged my expectations of literature, awed me with the power of an unfettered imagination, and obliged me to sympathize with and understand  — and in some … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 27th of January: music from Fairport Convention and Johnny Clegg, a couple of scholarly endeavors, Volsungasaga, Coconut Porter? and other unusual things

“She has her own glamour, Willy lad. All poets do, all the bards and artists, all the musicians who truly take the music into their own hearts. They all straddle the border of Faerie, and they see into both worlds. … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 20th of January: Riverside, Spain, and other interesting things

Let the fairy tale begin on a winter’s morning, then, with one drop of blood newly-fallen on the ivory snow: a drop as bright as a clear-cut ruby, red as a single spot of claret on the lace cuff. ― … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 13th of January: Americana flavoured Jazz, The Three Musketeers, a ‘dorable Thirteenth Doctor, Black-eyed peas and ham hocks, The World’s Most Famous Dinosaur, live music from Altan and other Winter treats

But you must stop playing among his ghosts — it’s stupid and dangerous and completely pointless. He’s trying to lay them to rest here, not stir them up, and you seem eager to drag out all the sad old bones … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 6th of January: Much Ado About Doctor Who

Don’t be scared. All of this is new to you, and new can be scary. Now we all want answers. Stick with me — you might get some. — Thirteenth Doctor I always enjoy this time in the Pub, as … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 30th of December: Horslips’ ‘Drive The Cold Winter Away’ and Other Matters for the New Year

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. Rainer Maria Rilke From Winter Solstice to the end of January, only guests that have been invited by staff, usually no more than a half dozen … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 23rd of December: Ursula LeGuin’s The Books of Earthsea, Unicorns, The Feast of Seven Fishes, a Fairy-Tale Opera, Jennifer Stevenson’s ‘Solstice’ and other Winter matters

The storyteller in me asks: what if? And when I try to answer that, a story begins.  Jane Yolen, author of The Wild Hunt Let me set my blue chai and breakfast curry with roti and poached egg aside for … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 16th of December: A Charles de Lint edition

Have a drink and listen to the music. — Charles de Lint’s Forests Of The Heart I always think of de Lint as being one of those writers fit for reading a cold winter’s night. So when I was looking … Continue reading

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