Book Review: The Maneaters of Kumaon

Corbett, Jim. The Maneaters of Kumaon (Kindle edition, Merwin Unwin Reprint)

I grew up being told stories from Corbett and Capstick, and Bell, and other hunters and naturalists. So I knew the stories before I read them. That doesn’t change the heart-racing effect of reading this book, however. Corbett was a great story-teller as well as naturalist and hunter.

I needed a complete brain break. This was the perfect book for that. Short, intense, and beautifully written. Continue reading

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Saturday Shikari: Shapes on the Ground

Rigi woke at dawn, then lay still, listening to her husband’s breathing and the sounds of camp. The air felt cool, and smelled a little of smoke, crushed grass, and dust, the normal scents of Shikhari. Thank you, Creators of all made things, of the worlds and stars, thank you for normal.

As she dressed, Rigi heard Tomás waking and snarling. Well, she amended her morning prayer, perhaps not all normal things. She speed-laced her boots and hurried out of his way, Martinus close behind. She strolled to the meal tent and found Rigel almost finished, and Tamara working her way through hot stewed grains. Salmae kept a close eye on both, and lightly spatted Rigel when he tried to drink his milk in one long gulp. “You are not a droop-nosed lump-head, Master Rigel.” Continue reading

Wednesday – with Wombows: Shikari 5 Excerpt

In which our intrepid illustrator ventures into the wilds… with children and spouse in tow. Look out world!

The children and Salmae had dozed off. Rigi allowed herself to relax, leaning her head against the headrest. Rigel had threatened to bounce out of his safety harness with excess energy, while Tamara waited until they were past the half-way point to their fuel-stop before falling prey to flight-induced quease. Makana contented himself with watching the land and skies around them. Brown extended as far as the eye could take in, past the curve of the planet, with cloud streaked blue above. If she twisted and craned her neck, Rigi could see the first clouds of the wet season beginning to mass behind them. They’d left long before dawn for that very reason. No one dared fly at the start of the Wet, not east of the Kenusha Plains, unless they were in a specially modified military aircraft.

The weather had turned cool the day after the dance. Tomás had turned cool as well. Not to Rigi and the children, no, but he and Kor worked longer and longer, and he spoke less when he did come home. Rigi had seen that the males ate and rested, and shouldered all the household tasks herself. Well, not by herself. Salmae, Makana, and Nahla had done far, far more than they should have. The Day of Rest had come as a blessing for all the house, human and Staré alike. Martinus seemed unconcerned, but then the few things that upset him could be swiftly dealt with. Granted, they often required a great deal of firepower to deal with, but lost wombeasts did not require diplomacy, tact, or truth-to-deceive.

Rigi opened her eyes. “How are you?” she asked Tomás.

“Hm? Fine, dear.” He kept his eyes on the instruments. “Please look at the map and see if we are, indeed, twenty kilometers east from the headwaters of the Kenusha.” Continue reading

The Sins (?) of Our Fathers

“Mark Twain was racist!”

“Robert Heinlein was sexist!”

“Jane Austin supported the patriarchy!”

“Dickens was a … he’s just boring.”

If all you read of Dickens is Bleak House or Ye Old Curiosity Shop then I’ll grant the last one. But otherwise, demands that people not read certain books because they do not meet the standards of the last five minutes serves as an example of the painful presentism of the modern censors and regulators of moral purity. Continue reading

Self Censorship and E-mobs

By now the story of Amelie Zhou and the YA Twitter storm are fairly well known. Other commentators have posted their thoughts on the matter, some safe for work, others rather blunter. Zhou has asked her publisher to pull the book, and as of Sunday evening, it is no longer available at Amazon, B&N, or Powells. The author has confessed to her ‘crimes,” which seem to be daring to write about slavery that does not take place in North America. There have been two accusations of plagiarism, both referring to scenes and tropes that are found in lots and lots of other books, going back to Tolkien and before.

Guess what? There were a whole lot of places that practiced—and still practice—slavery, sometimes in ways that resemble North America, other times rather differently. The practice was supported by law in some cases, custom in others, but pretty much every culture has had some sort of slavery-like system of unfree labor at some point in its history. However, that’s not my point. My point is the power of the e-mob, especially in the Young Adult category. Continue reading

Book Corrections

Howdy.

If all goes well, over the course of the next week I will be uploading corrected files for several books – typos, spacing quirks, and so on. If you are looking for a title and it doesn’t seem to be available, that’s what’s going on.

You Rang, Madame?

A Familiar story ambushed me the other night, at least part of it did… This is very much a rough draft, and I have not done any continuity checks yet.

Morgana glanced out the kitchen window and choked, eyes tearing up. Ted was so thin, clothes hanging off of him, wearing a jacket even though it was early summer. Damn cancer, eating him from inside in ways no magic could cure. He stopped beside the garden, looking out towards the woodlot. Morgana blinked hard and looked back at the pile of herbs covering the table. And if she did not get this basil cleaned and frozen, it would turn into something not even useful for a curse, let alone pesto! She took out some of her frustration by ripping the leaves off the stems.

Her husband came in not long after she finished reducing the pile into a manageable mound. He smiled and pecked her on the cheek. “It smells like an emergency at Lake Lugano,” their favorite restaurant. Continue reading