Sunday, April 29, 2007

What will happen in HP and the Deathly Hallows?

Do you have a theory (could it be bunnies? *) ? If so, I invite you to pop over to the Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone where I've posted a list of my predictions. Feel free to come and tell me that I've got the wrong end of the stick or to ask if I've been at the Butterbeer!

(* A Buffy the Vampire Slayer joke - I can never think of the phrase "I have a theory" without immediately thinking of Anya's song in "Once More, With Feeling"...)

Carnival of Children's Literature 14

A quick reminder that the 14th Carnival of Children's Literature will be held over at Chicken Spaghetti on Monday 21 May 21st and the deadline for submissions is Thursday 17 May. Susan's chosen the theme of "Fiesta! A Multicultural Celebration". She says The theme is for fun; I love a good fiesta. If you have a book-related post on another subject, that's fine, too. (No web-based original fiction, please. That's another carnival altogether.). If you want to participate, check out Susan's own post on the subject, and if you've forgotten (or don't know) what a Carnival of Children's Literature is, then check out Susan's helpful explanation from March.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Doctor Who Season 3 News for US fans

The US Sci Fi Channel has announced that it wil begin screening the third season of "Doctor Who" at 21:00 pm on Friday 6th July 2007, just a couple of weeks after season 3 finishes airing in the UK. New Companion, Martha Jones is going to blow your socks off !

Friday, April 27, 2007

Poetry Friday 47

It was Shakespeare's birthday on April 23, so I've been on a bit of a Shakespeare buzz again this week and I offer you the following (still on the theme of Time) from my favourite play by Shakespeare:

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
For now hath time made me his numbering clock:
My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar
Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
Whereto my finger, like a dial's point,
Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.
Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is
Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart,
Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans
Show minutes, times, and hours.

King Richard in Richard II.

I particularly love the first two lines of this sonnet:

Sonnet 30

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor'd and sorrows end.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

My Daemon is

... Nithreus. Everyone seems to be doing this at the moment (well everyone who's a fan of "His Dark Materials"), and I couldn't resist joining in. You can find out your Daemon via the Golden Compass movie website.

Mine isn't settled yet, so if you want to check whether you agree with how I see myself, feel free to comment on whether or not you agree via the link in the graphic. It won't settle for 12 days.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Blood Red, Snow White - Marcus Sedgwick

Marcus Sedgwick's new YA book, Blood Red, Snow White is an astonishing book that I found very hard to put down. It's set at the time of the 1917 Russian Revolutions, a period that saw the end of a centuries-old dynasty, when the rise of the Bolsheviks in Russia sent shockwaves around the world. This story is that of one man who was in Russia at that time: Arthur Ransome, probably best known these days for his classic children's novel Swallows and Amazons, although at the time he'd only published Old Peter's Russian Tales. This story covers the riches and excesses; the glory of the Russian nobility; Tsar Nicholas and his wife, Alexandra; their haemophiliac son, Alexei; the ever notorious Rasputin; Lenin and Trotsky who ruled from the palaces where the Tsars had once danced till dawn. Sedgwick has fictionalised history and blended it with Ransome's biography. Part One is told as a fairy tale: featuring wise and foolish kings, princesses, enchantresses, wishes and magic; Russia's vast cold plains and mighty cities, its riches and its poverty all play a part in the downfall of the Tsars and the rise of the new order. Part Two is about betrayal: Ransome is now working as a spy, in a country that is bleak and threatening. Part Three is told in the form of a memoir from Ransome's point of view; it's a love story with a fairy tale ending, about Ransome's love for his daughter, Tabitha, and for Evgenia, the Russian woman with whom he fell in love.

Written with all Sedgwick's usual Gothic style and featuring some cleverly created bridges between history, biography and fairy tales, Blood Red, Snow White is a multi-layered novel that is sure to prove a best-seller. This book is out in July and was received for review from

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I couldn't resist...

Shamelessly stolen from Kelly over at Big A, little a.

Book Discussion Group - Reminder

Just a quick reminder that discussion of the next book, Garth Nix's Lady Friday begins next Tuesday, May 1 over on my Spoiler Zone Blog. If you've read the latest in Garth Nix's wonderful "Keys to the Kingdom" series, please feel free to come along next week and join the discussion - I think it's going to be pretty intense and I'm really looking forward to it !

Doctor Who Quote of the Week

Rose: But, it's like... think about it, though. Christmas. 1860. Happens once. Just once, and it's gone. It's finished. It'll never happen again. Except for you. [Pause] You can go back and see days that are dead and gone and a hundred thousand sunsets ago... no wonder you never stay still...
The Doctor: Not a bad life.
Rose: Better with two.

("The Unquiet Dead", Season 1 New Doctor Who)

The Wave Runners - Kai Meyer

Kai Meyer's The Wave Runners is the first in a fantasy trilogy. It's perfect for any children who are fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

14 year old Jolly is a pirate (and is named after the pirate flag, the Jolly Roger). She was bought in a slave market as a young child and has been brought up by the dashing pirate Captain Bannon. During her years aboard the Maid Maddy she has learnt many of the necessary pirating skills that she needs to survive, but her greatest talent is one she has had all her life: Jolly is a polliwiggle, someone who can literally walk on water. She believes that she's the last of her kind still alive. When the crew of the Maid Maddy are ambushed and everyone else is killed she starts to wonder if the real target of the attack was herself, rather than Captain Bannon and his crew. She manages to escape from her ship and is washed up, nearly dead, onto a small island where she is rescued by a young boy named Munk who, it turns out, is also a polliwiggle. However, in spite of their remote location someone discovers the truth about the pair. After Munk's parents are murdered by an entity called the Acherus, the two polliwiggles decide to try to discover the identity of whoever is behind the attacks. They soon find themselves in the middle of a swashbuckling adventure where they meet up with a number of unusual characters, including the mysterious Ghost Trader.

I enjoyed this story. Jolly and Munk are interesting characters, as is the explanation for their ability to walk on water. The tale is set in the 17th century - but I suspect it's an alternate universe to ours (though I confess I've not found the time, yet, to check out that theory). The Ghost Trader is also a fascinatingly mysterious character - I hope we'll learn a bit more about him in the later books.

This story was originally written in German but it's been beautifully translated into English and manages to maintain a sense of adventure and excitement throughout the story. Kai Meyer has an English website here. This book was received for review from the publisher, Egmont, and it's out in May. It's also available from, but in the US it is called Pirate's Curse (The Wave Walkers).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Blog Updated

I've posted my fourth "Doctor Who" novella over my Who Fiction Blog today. This is the one that burned in my brain for nearly two weeks whilst I finished writing the third tale, and as a consequence I was able to write the entire first draft over the four day Easter weekend. Roughly 22000 words in four days - I've never written so much, so fast before...

Carnival of Children's Literature 13

Jen Robinson, over at Jen Robinson's Book Page, has posted the 13th Carnival of Children's Literature. I missed this last night - Jen caught me sleeping ! Do go over and take a look at the many and varied posts that Jen has gathered up - but be warned, it'll take some time to get through them all.

If you're new to Blogging and are wondering what is a Carnival of Children's Literature, please check out this helpful post from Susan Thomsen at Chicken Spaghetti. Susan will be hosting the next Carnival on Monday 21 May and the deadline for submission is Thursday 17 May.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone Update

I've just posted a review of Malcolm Rose's Circle of Nightmares over on the Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone.

I won't be posting a review of Doctor Who's Season 3 episode 4, "Daleks In Manhattan" during next week, as it's the first of a two-parter (written by Helen Raynor - the first woman to write for New Who), so expect both "Daleks In Manhattan" and "Evolution of the Daleks" to be reviewed together the week after next.

Talking of the Daleks, users of the BBC Doctor Who website were recently polled to discover the scariest monsters in the Whoniverse - and the Daleks were voted number 1 (to my surprise since I find the Cybermen far more chilling!)

* * * * * *

In other news, I've been lucky enough to receive an ARC of Marcus Sedgwick's new YA book, Blood Red, Snow White which isn't out until July, from They recently did a draw for readers of their children's newsletter, to "win" a book to review on their website, and I got the book I wanted - and believe me, no one was more shocked than I was when it arrived in yesterday's mail ! The book is described as The Russian Revolution - fairy tale, spy thriller, love story - one man's life during the last days of the Romanovs. So far, it's fascinating reading - and totally like anything else Sedgwick has written (not that any of his books are similar to any of the others).

Friday, April 20, 2007

Book-related news

This week I've been very busy with background reading for my fifth "Doctor Who" novella and with novel reading, so I've got a handful of book-related news items to share with you.

Harry Potter fans will soon get to experience the magic of Hogwarts, at a theme park which Universal Studios is close to finalising a deal to build at its amusement Park in Orlando, Florida. More at Deadline Hollywood.

* * * * * *

The BBC reports that J R R Tolkien continues to generate huge interest among his devoted fans as his final book The Children Of Hurin, which his son Christopher completed using unfinished manuscripts, was launched in London on Tuesday. At the launch at the Waterstone's book store in Piccadilly Circus, fans queued out of the door to meet Alan Lee, who illustrated the book, and hear a talk by Tolkien's grandson Adam.

* * * * * *

Publishers Weekly reports that Science Fiction publisher and Hasbro subsidiary, "Wizards of the Coast", is launching a new imprint in 2008 dedicated to adult fantasy. (And on a completely random, pedantic, note, why is there no apostrophe in the name "Publishers Weekly", hmm ?)

* * * * * *

The Independent reports that the Carnegie of Carnegies shortlist has been announced. The ten titles are (the "blurbs" are the Independent's, not mine):

* SKELLIG David Almond (won in 1998)
A tale of a creature beneath the garage

* JUNK Melvin Burgess (1996)
The lives of young heroin users

* STORM Kevin Crossley-Holland (1985)
Girl discovers the secrets of a marsh

* A GATHERING LIGHT Jennifer Donnelly (2003)
Novel about a real murder

* THE OWL SERVICE Alan Garner (1967)
A terrifying legend re-emerges

Portrait of a working-class family

* THE BORROWERS Mary Norton (1952)
Tiny people live beneath the floor

* TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN Philippa Pearce (1958)
Adventures in a magical garden

* NORTHERN LIGHTS Philip Pullman (1995)
First of the trilogy His Dark Materials

* THE MACHINE-GUNNERS Robert Westall (1981)
Second World War novel

You can vote for your favourite Carnegie (or Greenaway) at their website - I've actually read half of the list (Garner, Norton, Pearce, Pullman and Westall), and I voted for The Owl Service.

Poetry Friday 46

In this week's episode of "Doctor Who", the Doctor revealed to Martha that his home planet, Gallifrey, had been destroyed in the last great Time War with the Daleks, and that set me to thinking about the destructive nature of Time, which led me back to Shakespeare, again:

Sonnet 19

Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion's paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger's jaws,
And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood;
Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleets,
And do whate'er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,
To the wide world and all her fading sweets;
But I forbid thee one most heinous crime:
O, carve not with thy hours my love's fair brow,
Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen;
Him in thy course untainted do allow
For beauty's pattern to succeeding men.
Yet, do thy worst, old Time: despite thy wrong,
My love shall in my verse ever live young.

Sonnet 2

WHEN forty winters shall besiege thy brow
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
Thy youth's proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tottered weed of small worth held:
Then being asked where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days,
To say within thine own deep-sunken eyes
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more prasie deserved thy beauty's use
If thou couldst answer, 'This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,'
Proving his beauty by succession thine.
This were to be new made when thou art old
And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st cold.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone Update

I've just (finally) posted my review of Doctor Who Season 3 episode 3 - "Gridlock" over on the Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Doctor Who Quote of the Week

The Doctor: There was a war. And we lost.
Rose: A war with who? [The Doctor doesn't answer, seemingly lost in thought.] What about your people?
The Doctor: I'm a Time Lord. I'm the last of the Time Lords. They're all gone. I'm the only survivor. I'm left travelling on my own cause there's no one else.
Rose: There's me.

("The End of the World", Season 1 New Doctor Who)

People continually amaze me!

As when Elaine Magliaro of Wild Rose Reader emails to tell me that she's written an Acrostic Poem for me... How totally cool is that?

(An acrostic (from the late Greek akróstichon, from ákros, "extreme", and stíchos, "verse") is a poem or other piece of writing in an alphabetic script, in which the first letter, syllable or word of each verse, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text, spells out another message.

And how I wish it were true that my personal physician was the Doctor from Doctor Who !)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mines of the Minotaur - Julia Golding

Julia Golding's Mines of the Minotaur is the third in the Companions Quartet.

Connie is almost unique. She is a Universal, which means she has immense power. The problem Connie has is that she doesn't really know how to use her power, and neither does anyone else in the Society for the Protection of Mythical Beasts because it's been so long since they had a Universal in their midst. Only one person understands Connie's potential and that's the evil shapeshifter, Kullervo. What Connie doesn't know is that he has started infiltrating her dreams, causing her to sleepwalk and raise a devastating storm. And when she's awake, the darker side of Connie's power is beginning to feel increasingly attractive, especially if she's angry or upset. When her best friend, Col, discovers what's happening, he begs Connie to seek help, so she turns to the Society, the group of people and mythical beings who are meant to protect her. But they're so terrified by what she tells them that they expel her. Feeling abandoned and scared, Connie visits an old abandoned mine where she finds she isn't alone as the mine's full of sick mythical creatures that the Society has forgotten. They are led by the once-proud Minotaur who, having been blinded in a fight, is now a broken, nameless creature. However, he gives Connie the courage to face her dark side, and in so doing begins to heal himself. I like this series, but the books still seem very didactic, especially on the issue of environmentalism. Somehow it feels too in-my-face (which I find distracting), moreso than the anti-slavery themes of the Cat Royal series.

The first two books in the Companions Quartet are The Secret of the Sirens and The Gorgon's Gaze. Julia Golding seems to have turned into a one-woman story-telling phenomenon lately as she's also published Den of Thieves, the third in her Cat Royal series, The Ship Between the Worlds a stand-alone pirate tale, and in June Ringmaster, an African adventure story, is out. I'm hoping to get both Den of Thieves and The Ship Between the Worlds from the library soon.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Blog Updated

I've posted my third "Doctor Who" novella over my Who Fiction Blog today. The fourth will follow in a few days.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Swan Kingdom - Zoe Marriott

Zoe Marriott's debut novel, The Swan Kingdom takes its inspiration from the Hans Christian Anderson classic, The Wild Swans, which I confess I don't recall ever reading before now.

Marriott's retelling of Anderson's tale looks at the following questions that are not answered in Anderson's original tale:

  • Why did the children's father, the King, re-marry so suddenly?

  • Why was he so quick to turn against his own children?

  • Why was the wicked stepmother so wicked?

  • What really happened to the brothers when they were enchanted?

  • How did their sister (cosseted and spoiled all her life) find the strength to endure pain and silence to restore them?

  • And also concentrates on the mother of the children in the story.

    Shadows have fallen across the Kingdom, Alexandra's native country. Her mother, the Queen is attacked in the forest by an unnatural beast, and none of Alexandra's healing skills can save her. Soon afterwards her father is spellbound by a beautiful woman, her three elder brothers vanish and Alexandra is banished to the nearby country of Midland, to stay with her aunt. There seems to be little hope for either Alex or her home, but she has more gifts than she realises and isn't ready to give up yet. She finds her way to a special spot where she can contact her female ancestors who all carry the same magic gift that she carries, and she is told that it's up to her to restore her brothers.

    I did worry slightly about where this story was going when Alex met a young man named Gabriel who, unusually (because it's normally a "female" gift) shares her gift, and it becomes clear that she's falling in love with him. But thankfully the relationship was handled well and didn't fall into the horrible "Princess falls in love and is rescued by a young man" trap that I thought it was going to fall into, and I ended up enjoying the whole "They lived happily ever after" ending ! This is a strong debut from a young author (she's in her twenties and not much older than that other talented young fantasy author, Catherine Webb).

    You can read the first chapter of this book at the Walker Books website. Zoe Marriott has her own website. She already has a second novel, Daughter of the Flames, with Walker Books which will be out either late this year or next year.

    Friday, April 13, 2007

    The Edge of the Forest Volume II - April issue

    The Edge of the Forest (April) is finally up. Here's what's in store this month:

    The Edge of the Forest will return May 10. If you're interested in writing a feature article or a review for the May, June, or July issues, please drop Kelly a line.

    Poetry Friday 45

    My poetry offerings this week are again inspired by "Doctor Who". As I mentioned in my review of "The Shakespeare Code", the Doctor quotes the third line of this poem by Dylan Thomas:

    Do not go gentle into that good night

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    The rest of the poem, including an audio version, is available here.

    Then Will Shakespeare starts to quote to Martha

    Sonnet 18

    Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?
    Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
    Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
    And Summer's lease hath all too short a date:
    Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
    And oft' is his gold complexion dimm'd;
    And every fair from fair sometime declines,
    By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd:
    But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
    Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
    Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
    When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

    though he only manages the first line before he's interrupted by the arrival of Queen Elizabeth I. (I have to say, the look on the Doctor's face, as Shakespeare starts his recitation is utterly priceless ! A combination of disbelief and bemusement - as if he's wondering why Shakespeare wants to quote poetry to Martha, although Shakespeare's been flirting with Martha all the way through the episode...)

    Thursday, April 12, 2007

    Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone Update

    I've just posted my review of Doctor Who Season 3 episode 2 - "The Shakespeare Code" over on the Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone.

    Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    The Fledging of Az Gabrielson - Jay Amory

    You may recall that I mentioned Jay Amory's The Fledging of Az Gabrielson after I saw an item on The UK SF Book News Network website about the role of adults in YA fiction. It took me several months to get hold of a copy of the book, but the library bought it in the end and I read it about 10 days ago. I'll give you my thoughts on Amory's contention about adults in YA novels in a moment, first the book.

    Az Gabrielson is a member of the Airborn race - who evolved centuries ago from ordinary humans after a climatic change that left their world covered in dense cloud. The winged Airborn race now live in "sky cities" which perch on top of vast columns that stretch hundreds of feet above the perpetual cloud. But beneath this cloud lives another, less fortunate race, the Groundlings (who are generally believed by the Airborn to have become extinct). The Groundling's society largely revolves around keeping the supply elevators which take everything that the Airborn need up to the sky cities. (Most Airborn believe this process is automated.) The procedure for keeping the supply elevators full and running is overseen by a group of Deacons who are the upperclass of Groundling society. The Deacons are a cross between religious leaders and factory overseers. They organise the collection of supplies to the Airborn from the Groundling people and in return, they promise that Groundlings will be resurrected as Airborn after death.

    Unfortunately some of the Groundlings believe this is just pie in the sky when you die, and they organise themselves into a group called Humanists and start to plan a revolution. They begin picketing the supply depots, which leads to supplies to some of the sky cities falling off. The Airborn notice this and decide they'll have to send someone to investigate. Enter Az, who is a misfit amongst the Airborn as he has never developed wings. He's recruited by an agent of the government to go down to the ground to establish, if he can, why the supply elevators are coming up empty. So Az goes off and gets caught up in the unrest and events unfold pretty much as I expected...

    So, what about Jay Amory's criticisms. Does he uphold his argument that adults shouldn't let teens go off alone to deal with complicated situations ? Well no, not in this book at least. Amory complained that:

    [Adult characters are] only there to be ignored. They introduce the young protagonist into the action then step back and play no further part, except maybe at the end.

    And that's exactly what happens to Az. He's recruited by the Airborn leaders and sent off to investigate totally ill-prepared and ill-informed. He nearly dies more than once because he lacks sufficient knowledge to deal with the situation he finds on the ground - and yes, OK, the Airborn adults are more or less suffering from the same ignorance themselves, but that doesn't make it right that Az is sent off with so little preparation, given Amory's insistence that such a situation is wrong! Some of the Airborn leaders believe that the Groundlings do still exist, but Az is only given a veiled hint of this instead of being told outright. Amory was particularly vocal about Albus Dumbledore's habit of leaving
    Harry to stumble and bumble along and get into dreadful, life-threatening scrapes for several hundred pages

    - but I'd argue that Dumbledore generally gives Harry just enough information to work most things out for himself - and then expects Harry to use his head and do just that. And yet Az is left literally stumbling around on the ground, trying to figure out how to deal with the situation into which the adults have dropped him - and he doesn't have any magical powers to help him as Harry does.

    So if you're looking for a book that involves adults in YA adventures, you won't find it in The Fledging of Az Gabrielson. This is the first in the "Clouded World" series, and Amory says that the adults will be more involved in later books, but so far, they're not so much.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    Doctor Who Quote of the Week

    Lady Cassandra O'Brien: Moisturise me! Moisturise me!

    ("The End of the World", Season 1 New Doctor Who)

    Monday, April 09, 2007

    Reviews to come

    I apologise to everyone who's been hoping to see a book review here some time in the past week and found only poetry and vaguely writerly witterings. I've got reviews pending of The Fledging of Az Gabrielson (Jay Amory), The Swan Kingdom (Zoe Marriott), The Twin Dilemma (Eric Saward) and The Butterfly Tattoo (Philip Pullman), plus the non-fiction The Science of Doctor Who (Paul Parsons) this week. The reason I've not been writing reviews is that my fourth "Doctor Who" story was burning holes in my brain and I needed to get it onto paper before I could write anything else. Now that I've spent the entire Easter weekend doing just that, I can concentrate again (once my brain stops reeling from the shock of writing about 25000 words in the space of four days, that is!) So this will be a review-filled week, I promise.

    In the meantime, don't forget the third Scholar's Blog Book Discussion has kicked off over on the Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone - please do join in if you've read Terry Pratchett's A Hat Full of Sky.

    Friday, April 06, 2007

    Poetry Friday 44

    Having the tales of a Time Lord in my head means that I keep finding bits of poems about Time rising up out of the stores of poems that are also in my head, so this week I bring you three poems about Time by three different poets in different ages.

    The Fleeting Years

    Alas, Postumus, the fleeting years
    fall away, nor will piety cause
    delay to wrinkles or advancing
    old age or indomitable death.
    Even if you sacrificed a bull
    each day you couldn't placate tearless
    Pluto, who with his waves imprisons
    thrice-strong Geryon and Tityos -
    and those waves, my friend, must needs be crossed
    by all who feed on the earth's bounty
    whether we're kings or wretched peasants.
    In vain we'll try to avoid cruel Mars
    and the inconstant disturbances
    that course the roaring Adriatic -
    in vain through the autumn will we fear
    the south wind, harmful to our bodies.
    We must see the wandering, sluggish
    Cocytos - the infamous offspring
    of Danaus - the son of Aeolus:
    Sisyphus damned to his ceaseless toil;
    we must leave behind the earth and home
    and pleasing spouse, and none of those trees
    you tend will follow you, its short-lived
    master, except the hated cypress.
    A worthier heir will drink the wine
    you guard now with a hundred keys: he'll
    drench the pavement with your best - more fine
    than that on which the highest priests do feast.

    - Horace

    On Time

    Fly envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
    Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
    Whose speed is but the heavy Plummets pace;
    And glut thy self with what thy womb devours,
    Which is no more then what is false and vain,
    And meerly mortal dross;
    So little is our loss,
    So little is thy gain.
    For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd,
    And last of all, thy greedy self consum'd,
    Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
    With an individual kiss;
    And Joy shall overtake us as a flood,
    When every thing that is sincerely good
    And perfectly divine,
    With Truth, and Peace, and Love shall ever shine
    About the supreme Throne
    Of him, t' whose happy-making sight alone,
    When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall clime,
    Then all this Earthy grosnes quit,
    Attir'd with Stars, we shall for ever sit,
    Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee O Time.

    - John Milton

    I Could Give All To Time

    To Time it never seems that he is brave
    To set himself against the peaks of snow
    To lay them level with the running wave,
    Nor is he overjoyed when they lie low,
    But only grave, contemplative and grave.
    What now is inland shall be ocean isle,
    Then eddies playing round a sunken reef
    Like the curl at the corner of a smile;
    And I could share Time's lack of joy or grief
    At such a planetary change of style.
    I could give all to Time except - except
    What I myself have held. But why declare
    The things forbidden that while the Customs slept
    I have crossed to Safety with? For I am There,
    And what I would not part with I have kept.

    - Robert Frost

    * * * * * *

    (I finished the third of my Doctor Who novellas on Wednesday night and I'm about to spend most of the long Easter weekend in starting to write the fourth one, the idea for which unfolded in my head nearly two weeks ago. The idea's been buzzing around my head ever since, whilst I finished the third one, so it's going to be a relief to get it out of my head and onto paper !)

    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    Book Discussion Group: A Hat Full of Sky

    The third Scholar's Blog Book Discussion has kicked off over on the Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone - please do join in if you've read Terry Pratchett's A Hat Full of Sky.

    Doctor Who Quote of the Week

    Jabe: Then, stop wasting time ... Time Lord.

    ("The End of the World", Season 1 New Doctor Who)

    Monday, April 02, 2007

    Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone Update

    I've just posted a review of the Doctor Who Season 3 first episode "Smith and Jones" over on the Scholar's Blog Spoiler Zone. In fairness to anyone who intends to watch Doctor Who's third season but may not get to see the episodes yet, for whatever reason, reviews of the episodes will be posted over there each week.