the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘maps

I have finally had a chance to read “Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” by Jorge Luis Borges,  and so many puzzle pieces have finally clicked into place.  Reading the story sent me to Wikipedia, which sent me down a glorious Gene Wolfe rabbit hole, and also reminded me of the weirdest story I ever read in Apex Magazine, and now my brain is having the best time ever!

 

Wait, what?

 

ok, so if you’re anything like me, you’ve come across references to the famous Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges (did you know he was from Argentina? me neither), and maybe, like me, you’ve assumed his work a)has nothing to do with your fave scifi/fantasy and b)is probably too literary for you to understand.

While writing a December guest post, I was flipping through The Big Book of Science Fiction, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, and why have I never flipped through this book before, what is wrong with me? This ginormous collection is sold gold! ah, maybe the fact that it weighs 38 pounds was a turn off? I’m sure it is available as an ebook for those who are interested. Anyways,  I came across Borges’ “Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” in the table of contents and the story didn’t look very long . . .

 

And 30 minutes later I was sitting on the sofa, glassy eyed, and so many questions about stories I had read suddenly made sense.  So much of what I’ve read has referenced this story, so many authors I’d interviewed about their “made up worlds” were referencing Tlon, or other works by Borges (because reading 3 paragraphs on Wikipedia apparently makes me an expert? HA).

 

Some random thoughts after reading “Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”  –

The introduction to the story mentions that, among other authors, Gene Wolfe was influenced by the work of Borges.  The second paragraph of the story begins:

“Bioy Casares had come to dinner at my house that evening, and we had lost all track of time in a vast debate over the way one might go about compsing a first-person novel whose narrator would omit or distory things and engage in all sorts of contradictions, so that a few of the book’s readers – a very few – might divine the horrifying or banal truth”

and all I could think was “oh, so that’s what was going on in Gene Wolfe’s An Evil Guest?”  I remember when I was reading that book, that i didn’t understand what was going on, and I was so angry that I didn’t get it! I felt left out.  I still don’t get that book, and I don’t plan to read it again, but i feel better about not getting it, even if my guess is completely wrong.

 

Now that I think about it tho,  I’ve been reading the grand children of this short story for decades. A place that doesn’t exist, but if we can convince people that it does exist, it will exist?  Reference books with editions that don’t match?   Life’s grandest wild goose chase?   And what I love even more about this, is that it doesn’t even matter if the place exists or not, it doesn’t matter that you can’t get there from here. The joy is in the creating, the joy is in the fun of the thing.

 

And I’m thinking about more short stories I’ve read over the years that had echoes of Borges, that when the authors said his work influenced them, I just politely nodded and hoped it wasn’t too obvious how under-read I was.  It was obvious, trust me. And they were very kind about it.

 

Borges was way ahead of his time, wasn’t he?

 

It’s like Borges’ work is an orchard, and nearly everyone has eaten from it, has their favorite trees, their favorite beehives, knows exactly when the apples, plums, cherries, and peaches are at their ripest, knows how to get the perfect photograph of the sun rising through the mist and the shadows of the trees.

 

Anyways, I have a ton of unread books on my bookshelf, stacks upon stacks of books that are in the “give away” pile, and all I want to do is going to the library and get some Borges, and keep falling down this rabbit hole.

Happy Friday!   My friends, I regret to tell you that I do not have a Five for Friday post today.  Allow me to make it up with not one but TWO blog posts AND a give away!

 

I am so excited for Julie Czerneda’s forthcoming fantasy novel The Gossamer Mage to come into the world. This booooooook!!!!!!!!!!   the characters! the magic!   the everything!!!   More on all that later today, stop by the blog after 2pm Eastern Time to read the review.  In the mean, I have an amazing guest post from Julie Czerneda, where she talks about how, when it comes to storytelling, the map is the territory.

 

You like maps? me too!  you’re gonna love this post!

 

This is an image heavy post, so please be patient if the images take a moment to load.  While you’re waiting,  head over to the giveaway page (outside the US? Click here for the International giveaway!)and get yourself entered for, are you ready for this?   A set of the Julie Czerneda Library: more than a dozen of her books, all signed.  I’ve been blogging nearly ten years and I have never seen a giveaway that comes close to this!

 

About Julie Czerneda:

What is magic? As imagined by Julie E. Czerneda, it’s wild and free, a force of nature and source of wonder. She first explored this theme in her Night’s Edge series, starting with the award-winning Turn of Light. In The Gossamer Mage, Julie goes further, envisioning magic not only as integral to landscape and history, but well aware what we’re doing with it. That tie between us and other, the profound changes we make by connecting, have always informed her work, be it fantasy or science fiction.

Mage is Julie’s twentieth novel published by DAW Books, and she couldn’t be more proud to belong to this esteemed publishing family. For more about Julie and her work, please visit czerneda.com.

photography credit: Roger Czerneda Photography

 

(Andrea’s note: Since she neglected to mention it, I will:  Both Turn of Light and A Play of Shadow won the  Aurora Award, and that’s only half of the Aurora Awards she has won! Also, I LOVE those glasses frames!)

 

About The Gossamer Mage (Available Aug 6th 2019 from DAW books)

 

From an Aurora Award-winning author comes a new fantasy epic in which one mage must stand against a Deathless Goddess who controls all magic.

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Only in Tananen do people worship a single deity: the Deathless Goddess. Only in this small, forbidden realm are there those haunted by words of no language known to woman or man. The words are Her Gift, and they summon magic.

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Mage scribes learn to write Her words as intentions: spells to make beasts or plants, designed to any purpose. If an intention is flawed, what the mage creates is a gossamer: a magical creature as wild and free as it is costly for the mage.

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For Her Gift comes at a steep price. Each successful intention ages a mage until they dare no more. But her magic demands to be used; the Deathless Goddess will take her fee, and mages will die.

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To end this terrible toll, the greatest mage in Tananen vows to find and destroy Her. He has yet to learn She is all that protects Tananen from what waits outside. And all that keeps magic alive.

Is that not the most gorgeous cover art you’ve ever seen?

 

Y’all ready for some discussion about maps, worldbuilding, storytelling, and discovery?  ME TOO. Everything from here on is all Julie!

 

 

The Fantasy Maps of Tananen

by Julie E. Czerneda

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I’m going to start with a confession. I don’t look at the maps in fantasy novels, being too interested in the words and the inner pictures they give me. After I’ve read the story, if I’ve loved it, I’ll take a peek because then the maps are an extra bit of happy. Oh, and midway through I’ll take a peek if I can’t get my inner picture of the geography, but in all honesty? In books like that, I’ve found the maps rarely help.
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I do, however, make maps for myself.

Read the rest of this entry »


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.