Strange Horizons Book Club

Hey! Strange Horizons is hosting a book club. Sweet!

They’ve pulled some new-to-me and so therefore fascinating selections. They’re pre-loaded through December so we know which books to hunt for, and the discussion will take place at the end of every month.

first up, Ombria in Shadow by Patricia McKillip

Tales From My Ursula Le Guin Bookshelf: The Earthsea Cycle

Copyright 2014 by Paula S. Jordan

Trilogy2“The Island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-racked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards.”

So begins A Wizard of Earthsea, volume one of The Earthsea Trilogy, and so began my readerly friendship with Ursula K. Le Guin. The trilogy was perhaps my first deep insight into that amalgam of dreams and imperfections that is the human condition. It is a permanent fixture of my heart.

There have been periods since that first experience when I did not read Le Guin’s books, and periods when I did, so my experience of her is spotty. But I can tell you that I have, in one way or another, been informed, deeply moved, and emotionally strengthened by every work of hers that I have read.

As many of you undoubtedly know, Wizard is the insightful coming-of-age story of Ged, known as Sparrowhawk, a gifted boy whose pride would lead him into such troubles as would last through the Trilogy and shadow his magic for life. The book is filled with whimsy and hope and learning and deepest despair, and again hope, in the heart of a much wiser young man.

The Tombs of Atuan, volume two of the Trilogy, is that rarity, the coming-of-age story of a girl. Taken from her home and family as a small child, Tenar was dedicated for a life as high priestess to the “ancient and nameless Powers of the Earth.” And so she served, until a young wizard named Ged came as a thief in search of the greatest treasure of the Tombs she guarded.

In The Farthest Shore, volume three of the Trilogy, an older Ged has risen to become the Archmage of Roke, the most powerful wizard of an Earthsea from which the magic seemed to be fading away. Together with the young Crown Prince Arren, and Kalessin, Eldest of the dragons, Ged travels across the world to “confront his own past, and test the ancient prophecies.” With them also sail Earthsea’s every hope.

Tehanu2It seems clear at the conclusion of The Farthest Shore, completed in 1972, that Le Guin thought she was done with Ged. But Ged, it seems, or perhaps Earthsea itself, was far from done with her. Some 18 years later both Ged and Tenar are back, with Tehanu, a foster child of strange and violent origins, who would add her own indelible brush strokes to the evolving portrait of Earthsea and its inhabitants. If the original Trilogy was–and was not–a tale for children, Tehanu is a story for those same children grown, not old, but older. Ready for another course in wisdom.

Once again, a decade after Tehanu, Earthsea had more work for its historian and gazetteer. Unfortunately I cannot comment on Tales From Earthsea. Not just yet. For though I have read The Other Wind, the most recent (note that I did not say the final) book in the Cycle, I have not yet read the Tales. So I will save the fifth and sixth books in the Cycle for next week, after I have read it.

Following that, I will proceed with brief looks, in varying depths, at the other books of Ursula Le Guin on my shelf.

In the meantime, if you haven’t read Tehanu, or the Trilogy itself, I recommend that you do. The elegantly slim volumes of the Trilogy read rather quickly. But Tehanu is a full length novel, requiring and deserving your extended attention. You won’t regret it.

Unseaming by Mike Allen

We got this beauty up and running, too! Enjoy the creepy!




Available at: Kindle



Book Trailer


Mike Allen has put together a first class collection of horror and dark fantasy. Unseaming burns bright as hell among its peers.

—Laird Barron, author of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

I forgot what book I ordered..

I have a book waiting for me at Columbus Metro Library but I can’t remember what it is. Good golly, look at this monster! Fattest book in the shelf. What a cool surprise!


oh huzzah! Devices and Desires by KJ Parker one of the Recommended Reads from Context.

“The quickest way to a man’s heart,” said the instructor, “is proverbially through his stomach. But if you want to get into his brain, I recommend the eye-socket.”



Ursula K. Le Guin, A Foretaste

Copyright 2014 by Paula S. Jordan

beachThe post on the writings of Ursula Le Guin which I intended to have for you today is still in the works and will appear here next week. Meanwhile, a distillation of the writer, her mind, and her craft.

Love3plots stories3

unread story



Creative adult

lifes hardsm


journey piclg

Credit for quotations as presented here, unless otherwise identified, go to or

Le Guin photo credits:

Below the headline:

At middle left:

Antimatter Press is up and running, with Bad Wizard, James Maxey

Hey! after more than 18 months of preparation, Antimatter Press is up and running.

Our first publication is Bad Wizard by James Maxey.

It takes a lot to put a publishing house together, and a lot to put a publication together. On my end, I had three editors and an an illustrator for the project itself, plus the support of friends and family patient with me when I needed to talk about fears or more socially unavailable and stupid than I normally am.

James had a bevvy of wise readers helping him to shape the story. He describes that process here.

Antimatter Press has more to come, actually very soon, but for now, we present:

Bad Wizard by James Maxey


Reading List Context 27

There were many good things that came out of Context 27. One of them was a large index card of scribbled titles making up a to-be-read list culled from panels and fellow readers. I ended up making a list of TBR and TBreR (to be re-read). These are classics, graphic novels, old faves, Star Trek novels, poems, novellas, but they have all been recommended by a person here at the convention. The availability on these selections varies wildly as does the reason for recommendation so I leave the treasure hunt to you. But rest assured! The folks recommending these were dribbling in booky love for these.

Full Metal Alchemist, Hiromu Arakawa

Pump 6 – Paolo Bacigalupi

Mirabella and Spin, Nina Allen

Uhuru’s Song, Janet Kagan

Defenders, Will McIntosh

Scale Bright, Benjanun Sridungkaew

City of Stairs and American Elsewhere, Robert Jackson Bennett

Afterparty, Daryl Gregory

The Last Policeman, Ben Winters

Pen Pal, Francesca Forrest



Santiago, Mike Resnick

Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock

The Integral Trees, Larry Niven

Gossamer Axe

Ann Aguirre, new series

Jean Johnson, new series from DAW

Heaven of Animals, a poem by Dickey

Devices and Desires, K. J. Parker

The Knights of Breton Court, Maurice Broaddus

Shadows Fall, Simon Green

The Master Builder, Henrik Ibsen

The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers

Leigh Brackett

Maureen Johnson



That’s a long list. I’ll leave the TBreR list for next week.


new Words: salsify

I can stand here in the old pasture where there’s nothing but sun and rain, wild oats and thistles and crazy salsify, no cattle grazing, only deer, stand here and shut my eyes and see: the dancing place, the stepped pyramid roofs, a moon of beaten copper on a high pole over the Obsidian.

Always Coming Home, Ursula K LeGuin

sal⋅si⋅fy /sælsifaɪ/
edible root of the salsify plant

syn: oyster plant
Mediterranean biennial herb with long-stemmed heads of purple ray flowers and milky sap and long edible root; naturalized throughout United States

syn: oyster plant, vegetable oyster, Tragopogon porrifolius
either of two long roots eaten cooked

ORIGIN: 1675, from French salsifis, from Italian erba salsifica, of uncertain origin, perhaps from Latin sal “salt” + fricare “to rub.”


Ursula K. LeGuin To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Copyright 2014 by Paula S, Jordan

Ursula K. LeGuin Photo by  Marion Wood Kolisch

Ursula K. LeGuin
Photo by Marion Wood Kolisch

It isn’t often that a genre writer is recognized with a prestigious literary award. So when it happens, any SF/F bookish blog worth its pixels should take note.

And so it is noted here, with endless respect for the author and gratitude for her work, that Ursula Kroeber LeGuin is to be presented the 2014 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

The award was created in 1988 to recognize a lifetime of literary achievement and has previously been awarded to Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, and Toni Morrison, along with some 23 other authors, including Eudora Welty, David McCullough, John Updike, Joan Didion, and E.L. Doctorow.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) report that Ms LeGuin has been named this year’s honoree in recognition of, among other accomplishments: “… her transformative impact on American literature,” saying that “ …for more than forty years she has defied conventions of narrative, language, character, and genre, and transcended the boundaries between fantasy and realism to forge new paths for literary fiction.”

She is the past recipient of numerous other awards, including the National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award for short fiction, and a Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, plus 21 Locus Awards, 6 Nebulas, 5 Hugos, 3 Asimov’s Readers Awards, a Pushcart Prize, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and a Newbery Silver Medal plus many other honors.

Ms, LeGuin’s blog, biography, bibliography and much more may be found at her web site.

The National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner will be held on November 19, in New York City. Neil Gaiman will present the award.

Further Links:

National Book Foundation

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) article


banned books personality quiz

the community college at which I serve as a customer service Cheerful Morning Person received a grant for Banned Books awareness work.

they created this “personality quiz” (linked above).

For an email discussion initiated at work, this was my response:

“I got brave new world which is, interestingly, the book I hate most in all of the whole wide world. Of a book that should never have been bothered to have been published, it would be that one. Dystopian fiction=not me. We cannot live without hope.
I’m totally an Alice in Wonderland girl. Weirdness Prevails.”
Let me know what you get. With your permission within the comments, I’ll alert the Librarians.