Magpie Monday

Here are some shiny things that caught my eye recently:

♦ Look at this beautiful little monster! My friend Laura shared this photo on Facebook, and I just fell in love with this baby Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix). I used to collect toy poison dart frogs, so this sweetheart just charmed me completely to pieces. See image by Dariusz Kucharski here.

♦ Book Nook.

I came across this cover to Cat Hellisen’s When the Sea is Rising Red and was struck by it (the title strikes me, too). I like the simplicity of the cover—no blurbs or extra copy, just the author’s name and the title. The colors, too, are appealing. That said, I’m not sure yet I like this cover, but I find myself staring at it….


Matilda by Quentin Blake

10 Fictional Bookworms and What They Imply about Real Bookworms

Some web reading for you:

The Hotel of the Suicides by Mike Resnick and Sabina Theo

Blue and Blue by Jennifer Linnaea

Bone and Ash and Butterflies by Julia Rios

We Planted the Sad Child, and Watched by Rahul Kanakia

The Fire Gown by Michael Swanwick (not to be confused with Andy’s “The Fire Dress”!)

13th-century church gets new life as a bookstore (click through for more pictures).

This past week AlphaBooks, an alphabetical tumblr exploration of fictional characters curated by Ben Towle, has moved to the M’s. I chose two to share this week featuring the same character: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (or Moby Dick, depending on which side of the academic divide you fall), and both images are by Isaac Cates.

For Fara and other fans of Hugh Laurie—he reads!

♦ Viewers’ Paradise.

The origin story you won’t hear for the dirt baby from The Odd Life of Timothy Green.

io9’s giant guide to fall’s must-see science fiction and fantasy TV. Too bad I don’t have cable anymore. Or, Too bad—I don’t have cable anymore!

Jill Thompson’s lovely concept art from the Sandman movie that never was. Alas, alackaday.

Why Sharktopus is a philosophical masterpiece. (The screenwriter left the first comment.) I laughed out loud at lines like “Maybe you can argue with existentialism, but you can’t argue with pretty” (it’s even funnier in context). Also, celebrate Shark Week with this hilarious compilation of movie-shart attacks (trust me, you will love it—unless you don’t).

The real reason I miss The X-Files so much is because I don’t get to watch Gillian Anderson act every week. I think she’s amazing. (And I miss Mitch Pileggi, too). That said, I am crazy about this montage of every single time Dana Scully says, “Oh My God.” (Via)

♦ All the Whos Down in Whoville. Two Doctor Who tidbits for you:

The 11 Doctors as Time Ladies:

And a TARDIS built for storage (via):

♦ She Blinded Me … With Science. Natural, Social, Food, and Weird!

Why truck driving is one of the deadliest jobs in America. All of the general points sound pretty obvious to me, and not just from having learned a lot from Cameron’s research for his honors project. I seem to know a lot about truckers, which makes me wonder what a trucker story I wrote would look like….

Why do koalas have human fingerprints? Convergent evolution, baby.

Military developing anti-suicide nasal spray as soldier deaths hit record numbers. Via.

Use chemistry to make literal green eggs (the ham is up to you).

How to read someone’s mind.

Soon you’ll be backing up your hard drive using DNA. Also, researchers write a book using DNA.

A male contraceptive pill that doesn’t use hormones.

Trans fat and the chemistry of evil.

Borg Mary Poppins by Kelly Tindall (via)

Want to prevent senility and keep your blood pressure down? Drink cocoa. Thanks, I will!

How scientists tried to confirm a “virgin birth” long before DNA testing.

Why the 7 Deadly Sins aren’t so terrible after all (proven with science!).

How can a galaxy full of billions of stars be considered small and lonely? Poor little galaxy.

♦ Kirsty Stonell Walker wrote a fascinating post about the danger of Edward Burne-Jones (one of my favorite of the Pre-Raphaelites). I’ve yet to read any of the biographies I have on Burne-Jones, but I had no idea about the interpretations critics gave his work—I just assumed everyone loved his stuff like I do. I really need to start reading all those books on the shelves!

The Last Sleep of Arthur (detail) by Edward Burne-Jones

♦ The Ninth Art. 

In honor of the villain in the Thor sequel (and also for Fara, although he’s no Loki), here’s The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe REDUXE Edition‘s take on Malekith the Accursed by Patricio Oliver (click to enlarge):

The top 50 superhero movies of all time, 2012 edition! Discuss amongst yourselves in the comments.

10 comic-book characters who are cooler than Batman. I like Batman, don’t get me wrong, but I have to agree with a lot of the choices on this list: Dr. Strange, Whisper, Jakita Wagner, Bigby Wolf, Adèle Blanc-Sec, Oracle, and John Constantine. Before you get crazy, I haven’t read the others’ books, so stop the hating.

Should I have put Don’t Write Comics: How to Write Comics Part 3 under Writers’ Corner?

Emma Frost. See what I mean about her costume? And this version is the most conservative! Though I do like the cape design.

Think women don’t like superheroes? You’re nuts (that’s really the headline). Also, Tansy Rayner Roberts added a seventeenth entry to her series Where the Wonder Women Are: Emma Frost. I’m glad Roberts addressed Emma Frost, whom I’ve always liked as a character (largely because of her inspiration, Emma Peel in The Avengers‘ Hellfire Club episode) but thought her costumes were ridiculous.

Just because I’ve always loved the world-building that goes into comics, check out The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters (for quick reference, check out this page, which has characters grouped by religious affiliation and titled Legion of Methodist Super-Heroes, Legion of Jewish Super-Heroes, et al). I found this site years ago and had forgotten it, so thanks to io9 for the reminder!

Warren Ellis extends an open invitation to artists to tell a story in three panels. Last week he posted one by Juan Santapau (he of The Secret Knots that I love so much). Below is the first panel; click here to read the other two. You’ll be glad you did!

♦ I’ve featured photographer Christopher Boffoli‘s food miniatures before, but there’s something about this particular picture that just appeals to me. If only I could put my finger on why…. (via)

♦ Writers’ Corner. 

William Shunn gets technical with differentiating major and minor scene breaks.

Five women writers tougher than Hemingway.

Chuck Wendig hatches 25 things you should know about metaphor.

Neil Gaiman saw the picture below and said about it, “That odd moment where you see a photograph and wonder whether or not it’s a novel.” Right before I read his comment, I had been thinking the same thing (well, wondering whether or not it’s a short story). Here’s your Gaiman-approved writing prompt, folks:

Argentina’s new literary tradition: pensions for aging writers (via). My favorite bit is right at the end (and by “favorite” I really mean something horrifying and not at all unexpected at the same time):

Despite a brighter future for some writers, not everyone here is sanguine about the future of the written word. At his apartment in the neighborhood of Flores, between sips from a bottle of Heineken and drags on an Imparciales cigarette, Mr. Laiseca, the horror-fiction writer, said he was writing a new novel in longhand about the Vietnam War.

But while such an endeavor might hold value in Argentina, he said, he was aware that other societies saw things in a different light, referring to a study he read about teenagers in another country who said they were proud of not having read a single book.

“What an assault on the imagination,” he said.

Reinvention and the “Genre Trap”

The Process of Plotting by Editors Rhoda Belleza and Lexa Hillyer (Lexa and I were in the same MFA program).

Here’s another great photo for a writing prompt, though the boy in the picture is Gaiman himself. He writes, “When I was seven I used to climb down drainpipes, because boys in books climbed down drainpipes. This is a photograph of me and my drainpipes.”

Fellow children of the ’80s, take note: Molly Ringwald Q&A on Fifty Shades of Grey, John Hughes, feminism, and writing. I loved this interview. Via.

A prestige-free zone: the reason why women writers dominate young-adult literature is the reason why many guys avoid it.

Tim Parks asks, Does Copyright Matter?

I am in a state of shock: I love this letter from Flannery O’Connor to an English professor who had asked for an explanation  to “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (for my part, that professor’s interpretation of the story was loco!).

Flannery O’Connor, 1962

Everything is fiction, according to Keith Ridgway (via).

Overcoming “voice anxiety.”

Bryan Thomas Schmidt lists his top 10 practical, everyday money-saving tips for (starving) writers.

Elizabeth Spann Craig on passive voice. Also, Elizabeth’s Twitterfic had another plethora of writing links last week: Don’t Wait for Permission: Notes on a DIY Writing FellowshipAvoiding Apostro-tastrophe: The Possessive Apostrophe (I’ve been really irritated lately by apostrophe errors); The Joys of Private Writing; How I Solved My Book Cover Dilemma, and How You Can Too (this piece I found pretty interesting); Hacking Creativity (unlocking the jujitsu of innovation); What I Want in a Heroine: Character vs. Mary Sue; A Myth Studies Reading List for Fantasy Writers (I’m very familiar with the last three books on this list and attest to them—Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale, the Aarne-Thompson Motif-Index of Folk-Literature [though this choice is out of date, since in 2004 Hans-Jörg Uther updated the Motif-Index], and Frazer’s Golden Bough—but I’d never heard of the other books); and What’s with Writers and Late Blooming? (always reassuring).

♦ This video is for Fara (how many times can I name check you in one post? Three times, apparently): one of the short films in David Michalek‘s project, Portraits in Dramatic Time, features the lovely Alan Rickman taking tea. Here’s the official description of the project (the music comes from the Inception sound track):

The project featured an array of glacially paced performances of theater artists and actors of all genres and nationalities. With artists featured both singly and in groups, the piece offered a unique and secret glimpse into some of the world’s greatest performing artists.

Prepare to love it:


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4 Responses to Magpie Monday

  1. Juan says:

    Links pointing to my comics brought me here, I’m glad that happened. Great blog, thanks for the mentions.

  2. Thanks for the shout out here (“What’s With Writers and Late Blooming”), Robert! I just pinned that gorgeous little frog to one of my Pinterest boards :)

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