Oh happy day! When I wrote a few months ago about Peter S. Beagle’s struggles to get out of the clutches of his megalomaniac handler, Connor Cochran, I was afraid. I didn’t know what was going to happen, because the situation was dire. Beagle wasn’t (and still isn’t) getting any money from the sale of his art. The story wasn’t gaining a lot of traction in the mainstream.
Then there’s the best news of all: Summerlong. Nothing proves that a writer has their wits about them like a new novel. I have never loved a book so much before I even read it. I cannot wait to read it! A review will follow soon, but for now here’s the description from the publisher, Tachyon Publications:
Beloved author Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) returns with this long-anticipated new novel, a beautifully bittersweet tale of passion, enchantment, and fate.
It was a typically miserable Puget Sound winter before the arrival of Lioness Lazos. An enigmatic young waitress with strange abilities, when the lovely Lioness comes to Gardner Island even the weather takes notice.
As an impossibly beautiful spring leads into a perfect summer, Lioness is drawn to a complicated family. She is taken in by two disenchanted lovers—dynamic Joanna Delvecchio and scholarly Abe Aronson—visited by Joanna’s previously unlucky-in-love daughter, Lily. With Lioness in their lives, they are suddenly compelled to explore their deepest dreams and desires.
Lioness grows more captivating as the days grow longer. Her new family thrives, even as they may be growing apart. But lingering in Lioness’s past is a dark secret—and even summer days must pass.
Ice: Season 1 Episode 8
Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong, Directed by David Nutter
First aired November 5, 1993
Ice is intimidating to write about. Like Squeeze, it’s one of the most famous episodes of The X-Files. There are also a lot of layers to it. I don’t have a favorite from Season One, but Ice is definitely in my top five. Unlike Shadows, this episode written by Morgan and Wong is character driven, nuanced, and complex.
You are all shocked that I’ve read this book. I’m certain of it.
A Vision of Fire: Book One of the Earthend Saga
Written by Gillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin
Published in 2014 by Simon451: an Imprint of Simon & Schuster
Every review of A Vision of Fire I’ve seen immediately compares it to The X-Files. The snarky ones hint that the book is like a novelized, slightly more new-age episode of the show. I was pretty sure that was going to be an exaggeration, and I was absolutely right.
In which Mulder and Scully battle an evil computer. Yup.
Ghost in the Machine: Season 1 Episode 7
Written by Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon, Directed by Jerrold Freedman
First aired October 29, 1993
I don’t know whether it makes me more nostalgic or sad to remember how afraid we were of computers in the early 90s. In the intervening years we’ve learned a tough truth: it’s not the computers you need to be afraid of. It’s the people who use them.
But let’s revisit a simpler, more innocent time: Clinton is in office. Laptops are as thick as phonebooks and only half as useful. The only thing you need to worry about is that computers are obviously going to develop self awareness and kill us all. Sounds reasonable.
Don Pedro: Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.
Beatrice: No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.
—from Much Ado About Nothing
I am no bird; and no net ensares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.
—from Jane Eyre
It happened six years ago, when Sally and I first got here, but it seems a lot longer, because in a way it happened to someone else. I don’t really speak that person’s language anymore, and when I think about her, she embarrasses me sometimes, but I don’t want to forget her, I don’t ever want to pretend she never existed. So before I start forgetting, I have to get down exactly who she was, and exactly how she felt about everything.
The Jane Austen Cookbook
Written by Maggie Black and Deirdre le Faye
Published in 1995 by McClelland & Stewart
Deirdre le Faye edited the go-to collection of Austen’s letters, so I knew the The Jane Austen Cookbook would be more for the scholar than the casual reader. I wasn’t as familiar with Maggie Black’s work, but I found her expertise on historical cooking complimented le Faye’s knowledge of Austen very well.
Peter S. Beagle is a wonderful writer. I adore him. He is of course best known for writing The Last Unicorn, which was an incredible influence on me growing up—not just artistically, but morally and ethically. The central theme of The Last Unicorn is that (goodness, true love, healing, purity, whatever unicorns mean to you) is never completely lost, no matter how hopeless life may seem. So long as there is one person willing to face (fear, despair, oppression, whatever the Red Bull means to you), there is hope.
“Unicorns may go unrescued for a long time, but not forever.”
In which Mulder and Scully chase at spectral phenomenon and psychokinetic manipulation.
Shadows: Season 1 Episode 6
Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong, Directed by Michael Lange
First aired October 22, 1993
I’ve noticed a trend in my reviews thus far: I love talking about the Deeper Meaning of each episode. That’s not gonna happen with Shadows, because there are no depths to be mined here. It’s just an X-File.