WWW Wednesday 3-5-2014

WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading.

by Brenda W. Clough

• What are you currently reading?

Bryan Greene’s The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. Tough sledding, but I really do need to know about quantum physics and string theory. Because my hero does. He is actually doing and manipulating this stuff (with a heavy authorial hand on the scales) and so I need the words to describe what he’s doing. Once, the late great Ann Crispin told of being accosted at a signing by an energetic young Star Wars fan. What was her authority, he demanded for the Rebel Alliance’s superweapon that defeated the Empire in her novel? She leaned in and said, “I made it up.” Yep, that’s what I’m doing. But it’ll sound better if my hero makes authoritative noises. greene

• What did you recently finish reading?

Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages by Phyllis Rose. Again, research. A Victorian hero has to sound and think Victorian, yes? And, OMG, this is such a great book. Rose juggles five widely assorted couples of the period, all of them moving in the same arty/literary circles. What a great cross-section of the human and sexual condition. We are so lucky in this modern age to have decent laws for property, marriage and divorce! There were some powerfully unhappy Victorians, and they were creative with it to a degree that you will not believe! The saga of Charles Dickens’ complicated relationships will make your head spin.

dickensAnd that brings me to The Invisible Woman, by Claire Tomalin. Which digs much deeper into Dickens crazy love life. The power of guilt and social pressure on people of this period is just amazing. You have no idea, unless you read these books. This particular book, BTW, was just made into a movie, starring Ralph Fiennes — well worth seeing.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I can’t stand it, any more physics or period marital problems. I am going to read a Vertigo graphic novel, The Unwritten: Vol. 1, Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity. This highly-regarded series is all about creativity and writing.  Irresistible! unwritten

The ebook version of my novel How Like a God is now available from Book View Cafe.

How Like a God, by Brenda W. CloughMy newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out from Book View Café.

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About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.

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WWW Wednesday 3-5-2014 — 22 Comments

  1. Read:
    Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones
    Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War by Richard Ellis Preston Jr
    Reading:
    Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke
    At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
    To Read:
    Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock
    The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle

  2. The Victorians themselves can be fascinating about their marital issues. Wives and Daughters is one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century, and for a male view, Diana of the Crossways. To name two.

    • I may have WIVES & DAUGHTERS on my Ipad, but lack the time to read it. But I probably have to, drat it. I derived great benefit from TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL.

            • Hmm. My next book is going to revolve around bigamy and murder -and- divorce, so I have to read it. Damn, there are just too many books to read for research purposes. WIVES AND DAUGHTERS is huge, it’ll take me weeks!!

            • Why is divorce the big no-no? Seems to me there was a time when all so-called literary fiction was about divorce. Is it just a no-no in some genres? (Have spent a few years helping people get divorced for a living, I find the subject painful myself, so I can’t say I seek it out in fiction.)

              • The inability to divorce (except by Act of Parliament) was a huge driver of misery and also fiction in Victorian England. I forget when they loosened up the law, but before that point you married a guy and you were stuck together, for ever. Which is why the books about Victorian marriages are SO fascinating. The contortions people like Dickens went to were fantabulous. This forced all the cases where they actually did divorce (or annul) to be stupendously scandalous. Google on Ruskin’s marriage to see what I mean. When the wife has get a panel of (male) doctors to testify that she is still a virgin after five years of wedded life…

                • And in the poorer classes, you had ‘divorce by posting a newspaper announcement’, if that–Moll Flanders and her various husbands all had varied methods of regulating their marital lives.

                • Ah. I came in mid-conversation and hadn’t realized we were talking about earlier times. Sherwood is right about divorce and women’s rights; in fact, ‘ll have to do a legal fictions blog post on that. Prohibition figures into all that, too. Back when it was difficult to get divorced, women who were married to drunks wanted to make it harder for them to drink. A bad idea legally — Prohibition never kept serious drinkers from drinking — but not irrational when seen in that light.

              • Divorce is all tied up with women’s rights. The upper crust could get divorces more easily than anyone, though it took an act of Parliament. The cost, of course, was the woman’s social standing, no matter what the cause.

                Reading Victorians dealing with these subjects is fascinating; they were not nearly as monolithic as people today assume.

                And yes, writing about divorce became popular in the twenties and thirties, it was so daring and modern.

                • I was fascinated, reading about the rackety love live of George Eliot, to learn that if your wife commited adultery you could divorce her, of course, and hang onto all the kids and all her money. BUT, if you didn’t move briskly on it — if you let it slide for several years — it was assumed that you were cool with adultery, and you could no longer divorce her. Even if you met Marianne Evans and decided you wanted to marry her, you were stuck.

  3. What I just finished–INTO THIN AIR, by Jon Krakauer. Extreme mountain climbers are *different* even if they’re getting enough oxygen, which on Everest, they aren’t. But offers some interesting behavior patterns to model for other people getting hypoxia under extreme circumstances (and shows that idiots who shouldn’t be there, all too often, are).

    Am just started re-reading SPANGLE by Gary Jennings. Mmm….circuses in space! Yes, yes, I’ve read the Barry Longyear books, too, but there’s so much that could be done with the topic.

    I also read far too much Harry Potter fanfic. But what if you had the Dark Mark equivalent created by a virus (or why you can’t slice it off)? What if you combine nanotechnology with a really teeny 3-D printer? (I would love to have Borg nanoprobes keeping my arteries etc. clean, as long as they didn’t turn on me. What if someone hacks their programming?).

  4. Pingback: Legal Fictions: D-I-V-O-R-C-E | Book View Cafe Blog