Monday, August 27, 2012

The Great Travelling Fantasy Guest Blog Circus

The Table has rotated to week 6 of this cycle, final topic for this time, and hosted by Warren Rochelle, over at his blog, with a great cover illustration, btw. The topic this time is LGBT in Fantasy, or issues of same in Fantasy. Check it out, people have some v. interesting things to say.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Written on Shards

A while back on Facebook my mate Brendan Baber posted a whole list of Pompeian graffiti. It brought back to my mind a book of poetry I found at the Twice Brewed Inn,

halfway through our walk along Hadrian's Wall. The whole book was called Writing on the Wall (yeah, yeah, cutesy), and this one poem mentioned another Roman graffito, that in translation read simply,
It stuck in my mind; such a a fragile commemoration of a past moment's happiness, of two lost, forgotten people's lives. Yet such a poignant recipe for disaster, in those four lines. Brendan's Pompeian post brought it back to the top of my mind, and all of a sudden, there was a poem.

She was slave or bond –
The name’s from a family
In the Vindolanda tablets,
Known on the Wall.
He? No clan name, family name -
Could have been anyone,
Gaul to Numdian
Sarmatian to Scot,
Subsumed in the Empire.
Doomed by trade.
If it ended happy
How could you hope?
That she bought herself out,
That he lived till his wooden sword,
That they loved together
To a gentle end?
They lived, they met,
It must have mattered,
Because they wrote.
Tabula rasa.
Now the tablet’s wiped.
You can re-inscribe
Except the truth. 

A bit of later research disclosed that the names were on a pottery shard, probably from a cup, and found in Leicester, quite a way from the Wall. Which only raises more questions, eg. what was a ludia, an actress, doing in Leicester, with the family name of a Prefect of cavalry up on Hadrian's Wall? How did she get there? Who was she, after all?
Tabula rasa. You could suppose anything. Everything's gone, except the names.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Viking Rune Strikes Again

I bought a Viking rune for success on Lindisfarne at the end of my overseas trip this year. It has to be working overtime, because I've just had a third story accepted in the time since I came home in mid-June.

This one is called "At Sunset" - it was written for an anthology that tanked, and I've never been able to place it elsewhere before, even though it's one of my more favourite Sf stories, being the sort that's based on a Real Scientific Idea. In this case, said idea is Elaine Morgan's theory, developed in The Aquatic Ape, of how great a role water played in human evolution. I first read it in The Descent of Woman, her original proposal, but the Ape develops the idea in greater depth. This story produces a slightly different take, based in a galaxy far in the future and a long way away, and...

But the story's been accepted by the Luna Station Quarterly and it's coming out in their next issue, on September 1st. Go there in a fortnight or so's time, and it might even be featured story for the day! If not, get the issue. It's e-formatted and it's not expensive. And there promises to be lots of good stuff in there as well.

Off now to smoke-oh with my cousin to celebrate!