Hiatus and Witch Week

I really do need to take a break from my small kernel of internet activities. I need to find a paying job for financial and health reasons. I shall return in the near future, hopefully when I’ve been successful in finding employment.

Whatever my web presence (or absence), I will be taking part in the Diana Wynne Jones inspired  ‘Witch Week‘ reading of Ursula K Le Guin‘s Earthsea novel “The Other Wind‘.

Take care everybody!

 

Puffin "Earthsea Quartet" cover. Copyright David Borgen / Puffin books.
Puffin “Earthsea Quartet” cover. Copyright David Borgen / Puffin books.

 

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iBook and job search

I’m currently juggling work on the e-book with job searching and personal computer swapping (and more general family life). Using an A3 sketch pad (my favourite work medium as I’ve mentioned before now), I’ve mapped out the general plot, making some significant decisions (alterations) as I did so. I’m currently using the excellent Worldbuilding website to make solid some of my more gaseous thoughts. I’m not sure how many contributors on the site are bona fide scientists  but the consensus of opinion on matters seem to give creedence to many answers.

My mate John has gifted me a copy of “The Seedling Stars” by James Blish and I’m currently reading “Surface Tension”. Although I won’t be using any of the ideas directly, I’ve had some ‘offshoot thoughts’ about aspects of my project. I love the way that James Blish explores the idea of existence in the narrative just as UKLG explores ideas about society in “The Dispossessed”. I read (present tense) both narratives as ‘thinking out loud’.

I’m considering producing the e-book as a Bandcamp CD and booklet before a multimedia iBook but will probably change my mind many times over the next few months.

orestes_jannah_02small

My friend John asked me a question about something I hadn’t considered – who is the audience for the iBook? I had to confess that I hadn’t really thought about it but that it would be suitable for all audiences. “Young adult then?” he suggested. Now I think about it, it couldn’t be anything else.

iBook project update 1

I’ve finally begun the iBook project in earnest. I’m recording ideas in an A3 sketchbook (my favourite planning format) and have made much progress. My decisions are provisional and may be drastically altered at some later point but I now have the following fairly concrete intentions:

  • The iBook will follow a loosely sequential timeline but will be presented out of chronological order.
  • The narrative will have several alternative timelines that will not be ‘author resolved’.
  • The reader will not need to follow the book’s sequential structure.
  • The book will make use of all of iBook Author’s capabilities – html widgets, video, audio, text, Javascript interactivity etc.

There are several apps which I have owned for quite a while but not used and there’s a steep learning curve to one of two of them which I’m enjoying scaling. I’ll post updates here as often as I can or I feel pertinent. Below are two video tests of video exports from the html within Tumult Hype.

 

 

RIP UKLG

I’m currently knee deep in supply teaching work and trying to work on the Earth Balm Music material, learning much about the limitless possibilities of music software and my limited abilities on the piano keyboard on the way. I have a day’s break today and just as well because I feel compelled to post about the passing of the great Ursula K Le Guin. The news has finally made up my mind for me – she is my favourite author of all that I have read (and she is in some high calibre company with Rosemary Sutcliff, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Philippa Pearce etc.). Her characters are so well developed, her books explore ideas about social systems and politics so subtly and she handles big plot moments so delicately. I’m about to radically thin out my book collection and I’m keeping all of my UKLG books as I know I’ll only regret losing them if I pass them on. Please, let her be known as more than just a science fiction / fantasy author because she was so much more.

Ursula_K_Le_Guin
Photograph of author Ursula K Le Guin. Source Wikipedia, credit Gorthian.

Here is a quote from Ursula’s Wikipedia page:

Le Guin exploits the creative flexibility of the science fiction and fantasy genres to undertake thorough explorations of dimensions of both social and psychological identity and of broader cultural and social structures. In doing so, she draws on sociology, anthropology, and psychology leading some critics to categorize her work as soft science fiction. She objected to this classification of her writing, arguing the term is divisive and implies a narrow view of what constitutes valid science fiction. Underlying ideas of anarchism and environmentalism also make repeated appearances throughout Le Guin’s work

UKLG notes

Thanks to calmgrove, I’m seriously considering a series of pictures (and perhaps music) inspired by the writings of Ursula K Le Guin. I thought I might share some of the notes I’ve been taking from “A Wizard of Earthsea“. Apologies for the untidiness, handwriting never was my forte.

hi_res_scans082
Picture of vocabulary from “Wizard of Earthsea”. Copyright Ursula K Le Guin.

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Also, this from the UKLG website, looks fascinating (though, as always, I’m somewhat late for the party): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arwencurry/worlds-of-ursula-k-le-guin

The Left Hand of Darkness

This is it (The Left Hand of Darkness), the book I’ve been waiting to read and the book generally regarded as “Ursula Le Guin’s masterpiece” – Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels. I bought it today in Foyles, Bristol along with Carlo Rovelli’s “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics“.  It was on the shelves at Waterstones too but I couldn’t find the Rovelli book there and wanted both. I know, I could have bought each from different stores but that would be alien to me. UKLG books are a puzzle, they seem to be either in all book shops at any given moment or in none at all in another given moment. I keep eyeing up Melvyn Peake’s “The Gormenghast Trilogy” but I’m too mean to pay the £18 cover price.

Looking forward to reading these – I may have to go to bed super-early!!

lhod

carlo rovelli

Last Earthsea post

I’ve nearly finished reading book five of six from the “Earthsea saga” (the last one I have to read) and I have to say that it is the one I have enjoyed the most – and it’s fairly obvious how much I’ve loved the rest!

It’s a set of short stories and an extended article about the ‘history’ of Earthsea.

“The Finder”, “Darkrose and Diamond” and “The Bones of the Earth” are wonderfully told narratives. The strangest of the three and perhaps the most beautiful in its resolution is the third. It’s also the history of the mage Ogion, that we first meet in the initial book in the series – “The Wizard of Earthsea”.

I’ve almost completed reading “On the High Marsh” and am looking forward to “Dragonfly” that serves as an introduction to “The Other Wind”.

It’s been a fantastic reading adventure that has left a lasting impression on me, given me food for thought and lots of idea for musical composition and visual artwork.

So, good value for money and time well spent!

The Word for World is Forest” will be my next purchase. It is apparently “Avatar” written before the “Avatar” film.

I must admit that I won’t miss WordPress auto-correcting the spelling of “Earthsea” to “Earths” every time I type it. 🙂