Living in the 88% range of totality for today’s eclipse, and thrilled by yesterday’s forecast of clear skies, I awakened today to . . . fog. Not the partly cloudy that I secretly expected, that we typically experience here on the north coast—oh no. Dense, smothering fog. Of course. Fate in action. “Expected to clear by 11:30 or 12:00.” Yeah, after the eclipse.
But it’s okay; I’m old. I’ve seen eclipses. And as the eerie twilight fog darkened, the grosbeaks and house finches disappeared from the feeders, doubtless thinking they’d just lived the shortest day of their lives. As I gazed upward into . . . drizzling mist . . . I thought about how brief, how rare these astronomical events are.
Not as brief, but perhaps rarer, is a newly discovered author.
Today’s eclipse has been eclipsed by a newly discovered author. (Yep, you knew I’d get around to books and writing eventually.) And not a newbie writer, but someone who’s been prolific for years, someone that oblivious me would never have heard about if I hadn’t been a fan of Diana Wynne Jones.* DWJ admired the work of Patricia Wrede (another good author), which then led me to:
Lois McMaster Bujold. She writes science fiction, as well as some fantasies. (She’s won the Hugo multiple times.) Some of you will know that I’m not generally a fan of science fiction,** being more fantasy-oriented, and so I shimmied up to Bujold via her “World of Five Gods” series. These are character-driven, profound stories, with plot twists and brilliant surprises akin to any DWJ book. I thought I’d give the first book in her scifi “Vorkosigan series” a try. And it’s of course just as character-driven and propulsive, depending not on techno-jargon and space battles, but on individuals who face the same fears and joys that we face. And ooooh, Bujold has written lots of these books, and yet more fantasies. My autumn reading list is fat.
So go on (partially) shining somewhere far above the fog, sun! Eclipses occur once in a while. Great books occur much more often. Dear readers, go and read one.
* DWJ is my hero, author of many fabulous fantasies. If you take nothing else from this post, go and check out her works.
** In the past, I’ve enjoyed Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Bradbury and even Le Guin’s take on scifi, but I’m not really into the techno-gadgetry shoot-em-ups of post-Apocalyptic, dystopic futures. Not feeling it. (But also check out Hal Clement, Alexei Panshin and Stanislaw Lem for more good scifi.)