SF and Fantasy

I came to Celtic studies in part because of reading Science Fiction (SF and Fantasy) books as a teen, most notably Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles. There are a lot of SF and Fantasy books that draw on or are inspired by Celtic traditions, myths, and lore. Many of these books are marketed as juvenile or “young adult” novels, but are frequently enjoyed by adults. And of course, Tolkien’s Middle Earth was inspired by his reading, understanding and deep love of stories and philology, including Old English, Old Norse, Middle English, and yes, even Medieval Welsh and Old Irish. These are posts about SF and Fantasy, Celtic and otherwise, including posts about Tolkien scholarship, and SF conventions and conferences.

  • SF and Fantasy

    Coyote Wild Vol. I issue 1

    I’m very very pleased to announce that the inaugural issue of a new speculative fiction, poetry and essays Web zine, Coyote Wild is available. Some lovely pieces; do take a look. Technorati Tags:Coyotewild

  • Celtic Studies Books,  SF and Fantasy

    When Bad Things Happen to Good Writers, Or: Earthsea in Clorox

    Ursula Le Guin speaks out regarding the wretched Earthsea miniseries: To this they replied that the TV audience is much larger, and entirely different, and changes to a book’s story and characters were of no importance to them. Via Bill Higgins, in a Making Light comment thread, who also pointed me here.

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  • Celtic Studies Books,  SF and Fantasy

    Neal Stephenson and Beowulf

    Neal Stephenson, one of my favorite authors, was interviewed by Slashdot. Stephenson is best known for his SF, especially for Snowcrash and The Diamond Age. His recent work, including a mammoth trilogyThe Baroque Cycle, has brought him to the attention of people who might not ordinarily read SF. Stephenson has also written In the Beginning was the Command Line, a very readable treatise on the nature of computer interfaces. In the Slashdot interview, Stephenson draws a distinction between two types of modern writers and, in an extended analogy, compares them with Dante, who had wealthy aristocratic patrons, and to the Beowulf poet. Regarding the Beowulf poet Stephenson says: But I…

  • Personal,  SF and Fantasy

    Firefly on DVD

    OK, so this is maybe a little off-topic (though I could make pointed remarks about feudal cultures and SF) but Joss Whedon’s Firefly is not only going to be a the basis for a new feature film, you can now preorder DVDs of the series, including three episodes that never aired.

  • Celtic Studies Books,  SF and Fantasy

    Byatt on Modern Fantasy

    In a New York Times piece, linked and commented on in Metafilter, author A. S. Byatt mourns the state of current fantasy literature, particularly Rowling’s Harry Potter books. Byatt refers to such books as “secondary secondary fantasy.” According to Byatt: Ms. Rowling’s magic world has no place for the numinous. It is written for people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons, and the exaggerated (more exciting, not threatening) mirror-worlds of soaps, reality TV and celebrity gossip. Its values, and everything in it, are, as Gatsby said of his own world when the light had gone out of his dream, “only personal.” Nobody is trying to save or destroy…