Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Reason to Hope

I used to be an active member of Now I'm just someone with an account there. It's a great site, but time constraints don't let me hang out there the way I used to. One of the greatest things I've taken from there, however, are a few good writing friends. I didn't know any other writers when I found, so just being around like-minded folks was wonderful, even if it was only a virtual kind of hanging out.

Two of those friends have self-published some of their works, and I think it's past time for me to send them a little blog love. I'm starting today with "A Reason to Hope" by Andra Marquardt. It's a Christian Sci-Fi novella with a lesbian protagonist. If that doesn't spark your interest, then there is no help for you. I don't read Christian anything as a rule, but that even got my curiosity going.

I was lucky enough to win one of her book giveaways when the book launched originally, and I got through it in about a week. You could probably get through it in a couple nights if you have more time to sit and read than I do. (I hope you do, my reading time is so sad.)

The story starts of with very intense action, but then quiets down into more of an inner battle for the main character, but we get little bursts of action later on to keep things hopping. My understanding is that this book came as a spin off from another novel or story Andra is writing. I think the well developed world, and characters reflect this. It's clear that there is a bigger story surrounding the events of this story, and we're only seeing a single crisis as part of a bigger conflict. Yet, at the end, I felt well resolved. Maybe still a little curious about other questions beyond the scope of this story, but left satisfied.

Since gay rights is an issue I'm extremely liberally minded about, I wished that issue had gone even further, but that's the biggest complaint I can muster. I don't want to give away too much by saying more. But for anyone like me who may see the word 'Christian' next to Sci-Fi, and be turned away, I can promise that you won't be preached at in this book. Any part that even hints at preachness (and I don't think that is the right word in this case anyway) is never aimed at the reader, and is an itegral part of the story.

Now I've saved the best for last. Recently Andra has started sharing "A Reason to Hope" as a serilized story online. So you can read it for free, but if you read too fast, you'll have to wait for the next chapter. There a a bunch of chapters already posted though to get you started.

Go read it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Proper Order of the Chronicles of Narnia

Until this week, I had no idea there was controversy surrounding the order of the Chronicles of Narnia books. I discovered this by accident.

While learning about Lions, we picked up The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe book on CD from the Library. We enjoyed it enough, that we decided to get the next book. I thought the next book was Prince Caspian, but the CD box at the library told me it was volume four in the series. I trusted the box over my own memory, and so we went home with the CD that told me it was the first book in the series, The Magician's Nephew.

At this point I was feeling very befuddled because I didn't remember The Magician's Nephew at all, and I would have put money on the fact that The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, was the first book. Everyone knows that, right? And yet the box told me otherwise. Maybe, I thought, it wasn't the first, just the most famous or something like that.

Finally, I had to find a written order to get myself oriented again. This whole experience had left me feeling lost, and my understanding of my little world. I needed grounding again, so I turned to my trusty friend, Google.

And so it is that I learned that there are two schools of thought on the chronology of the Chronicles of Narnia. One puts them is order of publication - this is the order that my set of books (and my own memory) used. The other method puts them in chronological order of the story's time line. This reminds me a little of FOX changing the order of the Firefly episodes - why change the way the creator chose to unfold the story?

While I personally really enjoyed The Magician's Nephew , and highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it, I have to say I don't think I would have liked reading it before The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Part of the appeal of it, is knowing what is to come in the future, and it is written in a way that assumes that the reader has that knowledge. I suppose it would be fine if they didn't, but not quite as fun methinks. In the same vein, I think knowing the extensive backstory before The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe would have been just too much information, and taken away most of the mystery.

This isn't the only change in order, but it's just the one that has affected me personally thus far. Actually the only book the two numbering methods agree on is The Last Battle as the last book. I think I'll go by the author's ordering system and ignore the CD boxes from now on.

Out of curiosity, if you've read any of the Chronicles of Narnia, what order did you rad them in, and do you have an opinion on it?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Interrobang ‽

Isn't that a great word?

I finally got caught up on all my back episodes of Grammar Girl, and by far my favorite tid bit that I picked up was from an episode on punctuation that introduced me to the Interrobang.

The interrobang apparently is used for punctuating questions that are asked in a "surprised manner". Since technically, using two punctuation marks isn't good grammar, the interrobang is a combination of an exclamation point and a question mark.

Isn't is cool‽

But I have to admit, I mostly just love the name. I think the next pet I get, I'll be very tempted to name it 'Interrobang'.

So is anyone with me? Can we revive the poor forgotten interrobang?