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The first time we spoke on the phone, the conversation lasted almost two hours. Since then, we have exchanged various emails exploring the philosophy, worlds, and characters of the books.
Stay tuned for updates throughout Since the fast-approaching Spring semester may yield similar results, this new post for the New Year became a priority today. If you are a fan of Joss Whedon, you likely already know about Slayage. If not, let me simply say for now that Slayage is a conference that brings together both fans and scholars to present academic papers and round table discussions on all things Whedon. Since first attending in , I would name Slayage in its various incarnations as significant highlights of my life.
Attending the conference and reconnecting with all my friends every two years fills me with utter joy. Joss Whedon changed my life as both a scholar and a writer; among other things, he taught me the inherent value of the fantasy genre. Most significantly, though, I met Jennifer Hale at Slayage in Jen not only recommended the book to ECW Press in , but ended up becoming its editor. Indeed, it was at Slayage in Sacramento that she informed me ECW had accepted the book for publication.
What a pleasure to be able to attend Slayage and explore London with her only a few months after the book came out! Here we are enjoying yet another fantasy world a few days before the conference began:. The sound and light intensity within the space changes as the energy levels in the real beehive surge, giving visitors an insight into life inside a bee colony.
The architecture alone thrilled me. The ability to view the structure from various angles added to the overall visual and sensory effects. Here are a few shots taken from underneath the structure i. Those people are Jen and another friend Tamy Burnett looking down at me from above! The path continues upward past a wildflower garden meant to attract actual bees. This shot is taken from the path on my way to the top of the structure:. Once inside, one is met not only with a variety of sights based on the hive design, but also with the sounds of bees humming and buzzing, which fill the space.
Though impressive and moving, the sounds were muffled by dozens of human voices. I would have preferred to lie down on the floor to listen and observe in silence. And a nighttime viewing would have allowed better appreciation of the flickering lights.
But what can one do at a popular tourist attraction open only during the day? We made the best of it, and the experience was fascinating. Perhaps Kew Gardens is actually a protectorate that the Council simply had no need to use in Book One. Of course, Kew Gardens offered other treasures for someone who has built a world of characters named after trees.
And at least one great name was suggested for a future volume: Fraxinus clearly a member of the Rebel Branch. Of course, the gardens were full of exquisite trees, including this glorious weeping beech, under whose beautiful leaves and branches my friends and I spent quite a bit of time. A few days later, the book and the conference conjoined at the banquet. I will also take this opportunity to once again congratulate Ian for winning not only a door prize but—even better— the award for best paper at the conference!
Here he is with Mr. And on a final note, I would like to offer a special thank you to Bronwen Calvert , one of the conference organizers. Thank you, my generous and talented friend!
See you again then! Part 2 will focus primarily on one particular aspect: Dragons! I particularly appreciated learning of the Dragon Rouge, of which I was previously unaware. For those of you interested in further exploring the connections between alchemy and dragons, you can find extensive information on this page at Circle of the Dragon. Here is the excerpt about Dracaen from that post:. An array of photos of the tree and its landscape taken by Michael Melford for National Geographic can be found here.
The pronunciation of the word dracaena can be heard here. This particular tree was first introduced to me by Jessica Legacy, who was a student research assistant of mine at Vancouver Island University back in Jessica brought me information about D racaena cinnabari , suggesting I consider using it as one of the tree names. Fortunately, most of the reviews have been positive. Of course, like any writer with a newly published book, I am thrilled with the positive reviews, but I find the less-than-positive ones can sting bee pun intended. Notably, however, the stinging variety appear to be variations on a theme: the book is dense and difficult.
The book is indeed dense given the philosophy and vocabulary of its subject matter and the background material upon which it is based. Alchemy is one of the most complex subjects ever presented to readers. McLean is a preeminent scholar of alchemy whose body of work and dedication to the field are extraordinary and, often, utterly breathtaking.
I will end this opening segment by highlighting two recent reviews.
Thank you! Thank you, Mr. And in case you or others are wondering, I am indeed working on Book 2 at the moment. If you have not yet read it, click on the link and take a look before continuing here.
As regular readers of this guidebook series will note, Matthew has made recent revisions to the layout. I certainly appreciate these bee shots as the visual link among the posts. When Matthew told me that he would be dividing his Chapter 3 analysis into two parts because of the extensive length, I sent him an email expressing my concern—not about his plan to divide the chapter, but about the time he must be spending dedicated to this project! Graybosch, if I were to live as long as Azoth Magen Ailanthus, I would remain forever grateful for your work and support.
Many of us can trace the hobbies of our youth to our current interests or careers. Eric contextualizes the conflict using Yin vs. Yang and Order vs.
I literally gasped when I saw it. In retrospect, I see this scene as important for the very reasons mentioned by Eric and Matthew. I laughed aloud when I read that sentence! Though Magistrate Sadira has some unique challenges as an Initiate teacher, I imagine that teachers from all dimensions—including right here in Nanaimo—can relate to certain aspects of this scene. On a final note, I would like to remind readers that both Matthew Graybosch and Eric Higby have their own blogs, which have been up and running for years. I encourage all of you to click on their names here and check out their other posts, information, and news.