Friday, February 20, 2009

In This Distracted Globe...

Some Bellairsian inspired ephemera found around web:

Seeing some of Thomas Doyle’s globes reminded us that Bellairs’s characters were often fond of the little worlds within globes – be it the crossroads in a green glass paperweight, a purple spark in a sphere fastened to the handle of a magic umbrella, or the magical snowscape created by Mattheus Mergal in The Hand of the Necromancer.  (I think we've touched on this before.) That, and be careful if you walk in on the group from 'The Reprisal'.

Some fans are writing some fan fiction, including this one called The Metal From the Stars:
On a cold winter day in 1957, Lewis Barnavelt was happily sprawled across his uncle’s sofa, a bowl of popcorn in his lap and a baseball game on the television. The television was black-and-white, of course, but Lewis’s Uncle Jonathan, who was a wizard, had worked some magic on it that made baseball games come through in color. Jonathan wasn’t a very good wizard, though, so the teams were wearing the wrong colors as often as not, and once the Yankees’ pinstripes had mysteriously changed to polka dots.
The author has some commentary, too:
I had thought that everybody had read John Bellairs as a kid. Apparently that’s not the case, because when I was looking desperately for a beta I found out that nobody I knew had even *heard* of the Lewis Barnavelt series.
And now we'll lend this fan a hand, yes?
"I read about this magical device in John Bellairs’ The House with a Clock in its Walls, where [it] plays an important part near the end of the book. Since the book is a work of fiction full of wizards and magic, I assumed that the 'hand of glory' was made up for the book to add color. But it turns out that such a thing is real, or at least, based on a real myth. Supposedly one can create a candle which will cause paralysis in all who look upon it, which would be especially useful for burglars."
We once read that someone became interested in the works of John L. Stoddard after reading The House with a Clock in its Walls. That made us wonder how much of John’s work has inspired younger readers to explore the works of the different authors that John (and later Brad) mentions throughout his fiction.  The above would seem to indicate someone decided to check into that magical device called the Hand of Glory after reading about it in House, too.

Whoever removes these things…does so at [her] own peril….
"I’ve heard some good things about John Bellairs, but when I tried one of his books once, I didn’t finish it because I wasn’t hugely in love with it."
Jenny had “heard some good things about John Bellairs” but when she tried one of his books, she didn’t finish it because she wasn’t in love with it. But now, as Jenny says, “if you like John Bellairs, you may profit from my guilt.” It’s sort of like a contest. Check it out.

And we depart this post with some words about the works of M.R. James from the Guardian:
The “ominous thing” in James’s stories, written between the 1890s and 1930s, might be a sheeted ghost (Oh, Whistle, And I’ll Come to You, My Lad), a corpse crawling from its grave (The Mezzotint), or something grotesque and tentacular (The Treasure of Abbot Thomas). Whichever form it takes it will be malevolent and capable of killing. There are no Caspers to be found here. Much of James’s skill as a writer resides in his talent for evoking a sense of place - particularly when writing about the East Anglian countryside he knew as a child – and an often perfect judgment of what to reveal and when. The stories thrive, too, on their scholarly depth and his knowledge of folklore. His characters are for the most part antiquarians who, through intellectual curiosity, stumble into the unknown. Frequently James will wrap a web of quotations, footnotes and references to historical documents – both fictional and real – around his stories (he begins one with a block of Latin), giving them not only an air of authenticity but also an essay-like quality, so that the expertly handled intrusion of horror arrives all the more powerfully.

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