Daily Archives: March 11, 2012

Early Medieval History of Britain Online

Fabio P. Barbieri, whom many of us know as an interesting historical maven, commenter, and Livejournal guy, has a nifty set of website pages — practically a book — all about very early medieval Britain.

He’s got tons of interesting Arthur stuff, tons of St. Gildas, tons of everything.

He even brings St. Patrick into the mix (presumably because young Succoth, aka Patricius, was a Briton).

So check it out!

UPDATE: Link fixed.

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Top 10 Weirdest SF Books

Mmmm, I don’t think these are really the top ten weirdest sf books.

OTOH, I own and like two of them (The Tzaddik of the Seven Wonders and The Butterfly Kid), and I own several books by Phyllis Gotlieb about alien judges (usually they’re cats and dragons). So I’m not sure if I’m really a good judge of weirdness here…. :)

The thing you need to know about Chester Anderson books is that they all starred him, and his roommate and co-writer, Michael Kurland. Probably their best book was Ten Years to Doomsday, the one where they worked for a galactic federation as secret first contact guys. This book totally ripped up and destroyed Star Trek’s Prime Directive, but mostly it’s a great adventure read. The Unicorn Girl and The Butterfly Kid are (if I remember correctly) elaborate multi-world fiction about fans, but it was the Sixties and early Seventies so there’s hippie Greenwich Village stuff. (Kurland is actually a military and espionage buff, though.) There’s supposed to be a third one, The Probability Pad by the late T.A. Waters (aka Tom Waters), but I’ve never run across that one at all.

I’ll have to look for that Gotlieb book.

UPDATE: I just found it! And there’s a comment from 2001 by Gotlieb herself!

As a satisfied customer I’d like to thank you kindly for including my own book in your list of recommendations for me. I can say without reservation that after three years of hard work wwriting it I have already read it many times.

Yours faithfully

Phyllis Gotlieb

UPDATE: Link fixed. WordPress hates me.

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Read an Illuminated Antiphonary with a Chant Music Director

Hendrik Vanden Abeele of the group Psallentes, wants to show us the contents of an antiphonary from Ghent, page by page and song by song, through 2 minute YouTube videos. Big project, but very cool if he can do it.

There are 9 antiphonary videos, so far.

Via the Chant Cafe.

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Scottish Deerhound Animation Alert!

Forgot to say that Disney ran a trailer for Brave in front of John Carter of Mars, yesterday.

Scottish deerhounds! Beautifully drawn, beautifully colored, realistically animated deerhounds!

!!!!!!

Now, I could be gloomy about the not particularly accurate portrait of Scottish medieval culture* (not that this is why you go to a Disney fairy tale movie!), and I can be appalled that idiots who think of dogs as accessories will now try to get hold of Scottish deerhounds, just like every other breed featured in a movie.

But I can’t help being happy that the Disney artists were able to understand the beauty, humor, and soul of Scottish deerhounds. Not only do they steal the show, but they ground the movie’s silly fun in just a tad bit of medieval reality.

* Re: medieval culture, it’s actually fairly realistic to have a queen from another royal culture trying to shape fashion and her children. And the great kilts are pretty nice. It’s the whole archery thing that’s freaking me out. Archery is just not an aristocrat thing in Irish and Scottish society, not that I ever heard. Sure they did it for fun when hunting; but if you were having fairy tale trials and ordeals, it was swords or spears or feats with horses, not shooting bows. If you wanted an archery story with Celts, it should be about medieval Welsh farmers with longbows. (And I love archery flicks, so I’m just saying!)

Also, I’m fairly sure Disney doesn’t realize that this would be taken as “princess wants to be a nun, and obviously God agrees” in any real medieval culture. But given the “backwoods tattoo and/or woad guys in the year 1200″ thing, I’m pretty sure we’re not going to hear all about a saint’s struggle to be allowed to serve God on her knees!

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