Category Archives: history geeking

Catching Up – October Edition

O!M!G!  It’s not a post about Urban Mythic!  I know, it’s been a while, right?

So, what’ s been going on? Well now, I’m glad you asked.

Big main thing is the university year has started right back up and with only two modules left to do for my degree it’s all very serious and researchy.  On the plus side, this year’s module is Myth in the Greek and Roman world which is all kinds of awesome. seriously, why did no one tell me classics was so much fun. (Actually I did kind of suspect it, but it’s been a bugger to find an actual course that wasn’t medieval to modern history.) So, yes, I do classics now. Classics are cool. 😉

So too is accountancy. Though that one is more of a business necessity since some crazy person or persons to go unnamed decided to make the family business a limited company with employee on payroll and proper grown up serious stuff. Oy gevalt. This has made the book keeping a bit more complicated. Well, I say a bit, in the way that the Pacific is a bit wet… Still, I like a challenge, and anything that involves juggling numbers on spreadsheets and I’m definitely your girl. So I’m also working my way towards a professional bookkeeping/accountancy certification thingy. Cos why do things by halves, right? Right!  (Egads, there will be exams. Exams! Gah!)

Ooh, and the fabulous Shapeshifters anthology from Fox Spirit should be out soon, in which discerning readers will find a story by yours truly. Also many other funky peeps.

WFC is of course the hot topic of the season. I will, of course, be on registration duty again so expect plenty of completely forgetting the names of people I’ve known for years while trying to give sensible answers to random questions.

Ooh and I’ve booked up for next year’s Nine Worlds Geekfest, cos how cool did this year’s one sound.  Yes, going to an actual convention that I’m not working at! Stop fainting at the back there.  Might even attempt to do Edge-Lit next year as well.

But that’s enough excitement for one day! 😉

 

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Long Hidden

Another rather funky kickstarter project that’s just appeared on the radar is the rather excellent looking Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History by Bart Leib.  The anthology is to be published by Crossed Genres, which on its own should be enough to sell you on it, and already has a whole stack of fabulous authors attached (with bonus room for open subs should they make the funding target!)

The Pitch:
“Most written chronicles of history, and most speculative stories, put rulers, conquerors, and invaders front and center. People with less power, money, or status—enslaved people, indigenous people, people of color, queer people, laborers, women, people with disabilities, the very young and very old, and religious minorities, among others—are relegated to the margins. Today, mainstream history continues to perpetuate one-sided versions of the past while mistelling or erasing the stories of the rest of the world.

“There is a long and honorable legacy of literary resistance to erasure. This anthology partakes of that legacy. It will feature stories from the margins of speculative history, each taking place between 1400 and the early 1900s and putting a speculative twist—an element of science fiction, fantasy, horror, or the unclassifiably strange—on real past events.”

Why It’s Cool:
The subject! I’m currently studying history-from-below and subaltern sources as part of my undergrad degree so this isn’t just hitting my buttons, it’s slamming into them with the force of a truck. The stories of the colonised get far too easily lost under the dominant voices of the colonisers and what historical accounts that are recovered get filtered through a privileged lens and often distorted to reflect specific agendas so straight up accounts from people in the margins are a rarity.  So a whole anthology of stories from this perspective is very shiny.

The authors! They’ve got: Linda Addison, Jennifer Marie Brissett, Chesya Burke, Aliette de Bodard, Tananarive Due, Amal El-Mohtar, Andrea Hairston, Beverly Jenkins, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Kima Jones, Victor LaValle, Ken Liu, Sarah McCarry, Neesha Meminger, Nnedi Okorafor, An Owomoyela, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Veronica Schanoes, Rion Amilcar Scott, Nisi Shawl and Troy Wiggins.  Some of whom I’m huge fans of, some of whom I’ve not yet read things from.

The Rewards!  There’s ebooks and dead-tree books, t-shirts and critiques, a Ken Liu Emoji translation of the short blurb of your choice, custom stories and artwork, dinner with the editors and a writer workshop, and if you’re really rich you can get a private performance from a soul quartet!

Seriously, how can you not back it?!
The link again!

Seeing the Sites: Introduction

As you might be able to tell from Ancient Wonders, I’ve got a bit of a thing for ancient sites for a wide variety of reasons. From a historical perspective you’ve got all the mystery about who built them and why, what they did with them and what other people did later, and how exactly do you go about lugging bloody great bluestones all the way from the Welsh mountains or cutting so many weirdly shaped blocks and getting them to fit perfectly in a wall? And let’s face it, the finished product, regardless of intent and construction technology, are still very impressive things to see.

But beyond the sensible historical stuff, there’s something about ancient sites that gets the imagination running rampant. When I was a teenager I tended to view them from a burgeoning New Agey Pagan perspective, drinking in the wonder of a living landscape that promised potential magic, though I never could get my head around that whole worship thing – but then, any kind of organised religion makes me twitchy, regardless of whether it’s contained in a church or spread out among stones in a field somewhere.

Then there are the wilder possibilities, the gateways to other realms, the lost cities waiting to rise, legends that could easily manifest from the physical markers left, and those ones, I think, hold an appeal for me that is easily as strong as the archaeological attractions.

In his Age of Misrule series, Mark Chadbourn wrote (among many other things) about a ley-line superhighway, marked by stone monuments, and that was such a perfect concept that somewhere, somewhen, it has to have been true. There are barrow entrances that are so obviously entrances to the underworld or other worlds that it’s a wonder that the National Trust don’t post warning signs up; and any temple that’s managed to stay relatively intact has absolutely got to have at least one secret chamber with the associated booby traps, treasure and guardian beasties.

Which brings me nicely to the Seeing the Sites series – where I’ll be posting about the sites I’ve got a particular fondness for (both real and legendary) and occasionally roping in others to add their two-penneth. So stay tuned for the first post in the series – West Kennet Long Barrow.