Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Time-out for Pocket Watches!

Brer's PowerOfBabel blog has a few words on the fantastic pocket watch:
Pocket watches have been around, surprisingly, almost as long as printing itself; it is not surprising, then, that they keep popping up in works of fiction, and perhaps especially fantasy fiction. Read or view a work of Fantasy (and I include under that unfortunate rubric Horror and Science Fiction as well as works dealing with Magic) and sooner or later characters of a certain port or gravitas will haul out a chronometer to consult. I would like to consider several examples and and explore the uses to which the fantastic pocket watch has been put.
Included in the list of literary figures and their timepieces are Roger Bacon, who has:
"...a turnip-shaped gold watch on a long twisted chain. The large ticking bulb was covered with glassy warts, crystal-domed dials that told lunar eclipse dates, the rate of rainfall on the third planet out from Alpha Centauri A, and, incidentally, the time."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

47th Annual Historic Home Tour

For 47 years the Historic Marshall Home Tour has been called the Granddaddy of Midwest Home Tours and is famous all over the country for its traditions and heritage. Marshall's Home Tour was voted the Best Home Tour by the readers of AAA's Michigan Living magazine.

This year's tour will feature seven homes and will include seven historic museums covering diverse specialties such as unusual architecture, antique home furnishings, Civil War memorabilia, a restored antique post office, Michigan's largest collection of magic memorabilia as well as two art centers. To close out the tour's twenty structures will be one business from Marshall's well-maintained historic business district.

When: September 11-12, 2010
Time: Saturday 9:00 to 5:00, Sunday 10:00 to 5:00

For more information, including cost, please contact the Marshall Historical Society. Visit the Bellairsia forum to learn about other events.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fidgeta, Patron Saint of Facilitators

Ralph Brown, a consultant based in the Minnesota area, wrote us this summer to say he happened upon our site's praise for John's first book, Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies. Brown read the Fidgeta story in its original form, the 1965 edition of the Critic, and tells us he found it "roll-on-the-floor hilarious."

Though he admits to not having seen the story in decades, he still pays tribute to the tiny saint in his own way.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Don’t Give Up Your Day Job

In a review of Greg van Eekhout’s Kid Vs. Squid, Elizabeth Bear shares her memories of children’s books growing up:

When I was a kid, children’s books that had magic in them almost always seemed to end with the kids giving up the magic because they had earned their character growth and could be adults now. At the time, I thought this was bogus and lame, and it’s a good part of the reason I liked Oz and John Bellairs so very fiercely.
John Bellairs never made anybody give their magic up to hold down a day job.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Top 10 Awesome Illustrations

As we prepare for the tenth anniversary of Bellairsia, we’re using our wonderfully eclectic Twitter feed to share some memorable moments and commentary in the form of Top Ten lists.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Goreyana: The Secret of the Underground Room

Notes from Goreyana about The Secret of the Underground Room:
  • This is one of Mr. Gorey's disjointed dust jacket covers where the image from the rear panel does not flow smoothly into the front. The outdoor scene on the back makes an abrupt change at the edge of the book's spine, with the front cover showing "the underground room". Even so, the front cover portion is one of my favorite paintings created for this book series. The masterful work has only hints of colors, but the mood evoked by the tones fits the story perfectly. Edward Gorey is quoted as saying he painted in "mushroom colors", and this is a perfect example.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hark! A Vagrant does Bellairs

Hark! A Vagrant is a web comic created by artist Kate Beaton. It often features literary and historical references and it’s something that John probably would have gotten a kick out of (amateur cartoonist that he was, too). Beaton has done a few series involving Edward Gorey illustrations: old book covers drawn by Gorey are augmented by new art by Beaton that further tells the story of what’s seen on the cover. For example, she recently had some fun with Bellairs’ 1990 Johnny Dixon adventure, The Secret of the Underground Room, and injecting some mislaid humor into what is actually a terrifying scene from the book.