And Hnau For Something Completely Different . . .

I only had three chapters to read last week in Out of the Silent Planet. I should have listened closer or reread it in the print edition because the discussion covered things that hadn’t occurred to me. But that’s the fun of taking a class like this. Digging deeper and looking at the story from different perspectives.


Waiting for Corey to Join the Webinar

Joined webinar at 8:53 PM 

Waiting . . . 8:57 PM 

Still waiting . . . 9:05 PM 

Webinar started at 9:06 PM 

Now waiting on Corey . . . 9:08 PM 

Still no Corey . . . 9:10 PM 

Now starting 9:11 PM 

33 people attending 


YouTube: Out of the Silent Planet: Session 4- All the Hnau Now Crowd Around 


Week 4 

Read: Chapter 16-18 

Date: January 29, 2020 

Welcome back to Mythgard Academy Session 4 of Out of the Silent Planet 

Announcements about regional Moots and MythMoot (four day annual event).  This week we announced Verlyn Flieger will be joining MythMoot.  New Book Arthurian Voices (book release party) and wrote a play called “The Bargain” inspired by Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (14th century poem).  Corey might be the Green Knight.   

New registration page (pretty bare bones right now).  A custom system written for Signum University. Shifting away from an expensive third-party software.  Don’t be alarmed.   


Corey recaps and sums up from last week.  Let’s see what happens when Ransom starts to encounter the other species.

    Continue reading “And Hnau For Something Completely Different . . .”

Ransom Kidnapped

My notes from first session of Mythgard Academy webinar discussion on Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis.

I spent a couple of hours past my usual bedtime last Wednesday evening with Corey Olsen and three dozen new friends discussing the first five chapters of Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis. I’m proud of myself for making it to the end of the discussion, which ended at 11:15 p.m. I’ve probably read the first book of the Space Trilogy a half dozen times since I first discovered it in the 70s as a pre-teen. I’ve never had an opportunity to do a serious in-depth reading and discussion so I am very excited about the opportunity presented by Mythgard Academy and a generous donation of a patron thereof.

While I participated live in the GoToWebinar session, where I could interact with Corey Olsen via chat, you can watch to the session via the Signum University Youtube channel (link to the playlist) or listen via podcast. Old habits die hard; even knowing the session was being recorded, I took transcript-like notes (because I can still type over a hundred words per minute and can easily keep up with a single person lecturing).

What follows are my notes from Wednesday’s first webinar on Out of the Silent Planet.

Continue reading “Ransom Kidnapped”

Mythgard Malacandra

Tonight I join the latest Mythgard Academy selection featuring C.S. Lewis’ first book in the Space Trilogy series.

Mythgard Academy Presents

Out of the Silent Planet

Meeting on Wednesdays at 10 pm Eastern Time

January 8th through February 5th


Nearly six years ago I re-read Out of the Silent Planet for the 1939 Retro Hugo Awards. I gave it my top slot vote for the Best Novel category, followed by Galactic Patrol and T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone. I was a bit disappointed when Lewis came in second to the White, but you can’t win them all.

I originally read the Space Trilogy in my early teens and those paperbacks are long gone. Over the years, I’ve picked up copies from used books stores, garage sales and Friends of the Library annual book sales. This past weekend, I remembered I’d registered for the class when it was first announced weeks ago and went searching for all my editions: print, electronic and audio. I quickly found two nearly pristine in very good condition and apparently unread paperbacks buried in my brimming bookshelves.

Continue reading “Mythgard Malacandra”

Let’s TALK About ‘A Little Princess’

This week the Lansing Community Library Adult book discussion group meets for the second in a three-part series on reading “Children’s Classics,” a Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) program sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council (KHC).  KHC furnishes the books and discussion leaders for the Lansing TALK series. For more information about KHC, please visit www.kansashumanities.org.

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, January 12, 2017

WhereLansing Community Library, 703 1st Terrace, Lansing, Kansas 66043 – 913.727.2929

Who: Sister Rosemary  (Rosie) Kolich is an assistant professor of English at the University of Saint Mary.  She teaches at both the main campus in Leavenworth and at the Overland Park campus.  She earned her PhD from Saint Louis University. One of the courses she team teaches is called Good Books, which pairs works from theology and literature with similar themes.  Sister Rosie joined the Kansas Humanities Council TALK program as a discussion leader in 2008.

WhatA Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924)

Burnett’s turn-of-the-century Cinderella story tells of a little girl who goes from riches to rags to riches again, all along maintaining her compassion and love for those around her.  After wealthy Sara Crewe moves into a strict girls’ boarding school, she learns that her father is dead, leaving her both penniless and an orphan.  Her faith in her father and her sense of justice enable her to overcome poverty, hardship, and abuse, and to create her own family and community.  Burnett, a playwright and novelist for adults before she wrote children’s books, never over-simplifies the complexities of a dangerous world; at the same time, she never forgets what it’s like to view that world as a hopeful child.

From WikipediaA Little Princess is a children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, first published as a book in 1905. It is an expanded version of the short story Sara Crewe: or, What Happened at Miss Minchin’s, which was serialized in St. Nicholas Magazine from December 1887. According to Burnett, after she composed the 1902 play A Little Un-fairy Princess based on that story, her publisher asked that she expand the story as a novel with “the things and people that had been left out before”.[4] The novel was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons (also publisher of St. Nicholas) with illustrations by Ethel Franklin Betts and the full title A Little Princess: Being the Whole Story of Sara Crewe Now Being Told for the First Time.[1]

Based on a 2007 online poll, the U.S. National Education Association named the book one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children”. In 2012 it was ranked number 56 among all-time children’s novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience. It was the second of two Burnett novels among the Top 100, with The Secret Garden number 15.

♥ ♥ ♥

Please join us Thursday evening as we TALK about A Little Princess in the warm indoors forgetting momentarily the bleak midwinter outside.

Book Review: Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck ~ 4.5 Stars

Of Mice and Men

by John Steinbeck

Read by Gary Sinise

Listened to late Oct/early Nov 2016

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (via GoodReads): Of Mice and Men was John Steinbeck’s first masterpiece. Originally published in 1937, it’s the timeless story of George Milton and Lennie Small, ranch hands who drift from job to job, always one step ahead of the law and a few dollars from the poorhouse. George is small, wiry, sharp-tongued and quick-tempered; slow witted Lennie is his opposite—an immense man, brutishly strong but naturally docile, a giant with the mind of a child. Despite their difference, George and Lennie are bound together by a shared vision: their own small farm, where they’ll raise cows, pigs, chickens, and rabbits, where they’ll be their own bosses and live off the fat of the land.

My Thoughts

This review is a follow-up to my previous post on challenged books for 2016 (click here to refresh your memory) .  Of Mice and Men is my first Steinbeck.  I must admit I’m impressed.

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Reading the 1941 Retro Hugo Best Novel Nominees – Kallocain by Karin Boye

I finished Kallocain early this morning.  Finished is too final a word.  I doubt this book will ever fully leave me.  I should give this book four or five stars, but it’s hard to ‘lie’ to myself (as the narrator so aptly does until nearly the end) that I liked or loved this book.  It’s dystopian ficion – not an overly likeable or loveable subgenre of science fiction. Even so, decades later, we as a society still devour and crave stories that allow us to peer through a mirror darkly at what might grow if we nurture security at the expense of liberty.

Often compared to Huxley’s Brave New World (published eight yours before Kallocain) and Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (published eight yours after), and having read both of those famous classics, I put forth that Boye’s Kallocain is more insidious, more disturbing than either.  Leo Kall invents a drug which facilitates the policing of thoughts, the ‘holy grail’ of any totalitarian police state.  The tragedy is Kall’s complete almost innocent faith in his Worldstate while his closest fellow-soldiers (wife, supervisor, test subjects and high ranking officials) exhibit humanity (laudible traits and those less laudible ones that bear fruit in totalitarian regins) and individuality.  Kall wishes to eradicate these treasonous thoughts in others and so aids less scrupulous officials in legislating and condemning them.  Once he achieves a modicum of his own power and acts upon his fears, Kall beings to regret, doubt takes root, innocence toward the benevolence of the Worldstate crumbles and his conscience awakes.

Continue reading “Reading the 1941 Retro Hugo Best Novel Nominees – Kallocain by Karin Boye”

If You Read One Thing Today, Make It This Canticle For Leibowitz Essay

http://io9.com/if-you-read-one-thing-today-make-it-this-canticle-for-1649946606

Canticle is one of my favorite SF novels.

See my review from March 2013.

If you want to skip the I09 recap of the New Yorker essay and just get right to it, follow this link:

A Science Fiction Classic Still Smoulders

Book Review: The Martian Chronicles by Bradbury (2.5 Stars)

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

2.5 out of 5 stars

Recommended by the GoodReads SciFi/Fantasy Book Club August 2009 Selection

Read in August, 2009

Synopsis (courtesy Wikipedia):

The Martian Chronicles is a 1950 science fiction short story collection by Ray Bradbury that chronicles the colonization of Mars by humans fleeing from a troubled and eventually atomically devastated Earth, and the conflict between aboriginal Martians and the new colonists. The book lies somewhere between a short story collection and an episodic novel, containing stories Bradbury originally published in the late 1940s in science fiction magazines. The stories were loosely woven together with a series of short, interstitial vignettes for publication.

My Thoughts:

This collection of stories about Mars reminded me of Edgar Rice Burroughs stories. But where Burroughs entertained with adventures and action, Bradbury expounded on various themes, mostly anti-war and anti-establishment.

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Book Review: Frankenstein by Shelley (3.5 Stars)

Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

3.5 out of 5 stars

Read in November 2008

I don’t know what I was expecting to find but it definitely was different than all my preconceptions. I had some trouble, at times, staying tuned into the story. Mary Shelley’s prose was first person, but often second or third hand (one person telling another person’s story who was then telling yet another story). At times, I had to stop and remember what “I” was actually telling the story at that particular time. Nevertheless, it did make for compelling reading at times.

Continue reading “Book Review: Frankenstein by Shelley (3.5 Stars)”

Book Review: The Age of Innocence by Wharton (3 Stars)

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

3 out of 5 stars

Read in October 2008

At times, I wanted to strangle Newland Archer for being so naive, so blind to what was happening around him. Especially from his sweet subservient fiancé. I really connected with Ellen and longed for her to have more scenes, rather than just hearing the rumors about her from various members of the families involved.

I admire all the characters stoic resolve to play the cards dealt them and make the best of their lives. In today’s society with disposal marriages and relationships, it was refreshing.

Downloaded the free ebook from Project Gutenberg – http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/541

Continue reading “Book Review: The Age of Innocence by Wharton (3 Stars)”