Travel Light – Chapters One and Two

Mon 15 Aug 2005 - Filed under: Free Stuff to Read, Novel Excerpts | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Chapter 1
The Bears

Travel LightIt is said that when the new Queen saw the old Queen’s baby daughter, she told the King that the brat must be got rid of at once. And the King, who by now had almost forgotten the old Queen and had scarcely looked at the baby, agreed and thought no more about it. And that would have been the end of that baby girl, but that her nurse, Matulli, came to hear of it. Now this nurse was from Finmark, and, like many another from thereabouts, was apt to take on the shape of an animal from time to time. So she turned herself into a black bear then and there and picked up the baby in her mouth, blanket and all, and growled her way out of the Bower at the back of the King’s hall, and padded out through the light spring snow that had melted already near the hall, and through the birch woods and the pine woods into the deep dark woods where the rest of the bears were waking up from their winter sleep.

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Travel Light

Mon 15 Aug 2005 - Filed under: Books, Peapod Classics | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

978-1-931520-14-0, trade paper · 978-1-61873-006-0, ebook
First printing: August 2005
Second printing: November 2016

Read an interview with Naomi Mitchison from April 1989.

Read the new Introduction.

Read the first two chapters.

Travel Light is a short, fabulous book that transports readers from a cave in the forest to a dragon’s lair to the wonders of early Constantinople. It is dense yet light, happy, deep, sad, amazing, and short enough that once it’s read all at once you’ll have time to read it again.

The second novel in our Peapod Classics reprint line is Travel Light, the tale of a marvelous journey by the late Naomi Mitchison. We’ve been fans of both the author and this novel for years — although we never got to meet her. Back in June 2001 (long before this reprint line was ever imagined) Gavin J. Grant wrote a short piece for F&SF on Travel Light:

“… a wonderful story that will transport you into Halla’s world where a basilisk might be met in the desert, heroes are taken to Valhalla by Valkyries, and a fortune might be made with a word to the right horse.”

Reviews:

Travel Light is the story of Halla, a girl born to a king but cast out onto the hills to die. She lives among bears; she lives among dragons. But the time of dragons is passing, and Odin All-Father offers Halla a choice: Will she stay dragonish and hoard wealth and possessions, or will she travel light?”
—Amal El-Mohtar, NPR, You Must Read This

“A 78-year-old friend staying at my house picked up Travel Light, and a few hours later she said, ‘Oh, I wish I’d known there were books like this when I was younger!’ So, read it now—think of all those wasted years!”
—Ursula K. Le Guin, author of A Wizard of Earthsea

“The enchantments of Travel Light contain more truth, more straight talking, a grittier, harder-edged view of the world than any of the mundane descriptions of daily life you will find in … science fiction stories.”
— Paul Kincaid, SF Site

“A gem of a book.”
— Strange Horizons

“Every page is full of magic and wonder….well worth seeking out.”— Rambles

“Combines the best of Rowling and Pullman, being full of magic and fantasy with the hard edge of reality sharp at its edges.”
— The New Review/LauraHird.com

— Genevieve Valentine

“Disarmingly familiar, like a memory only half-recalled. You will love this book.”
— Holly Black (Valiant, The Spiderwick Chronicles)

Praise for Naomi Mitchison:

“No one knows better how to spin a fairy tale than Naomi Mitchison.” — The Observer

“Mitchison breathes life into such perennial themes as courage, forgiveness, the search for meaning, and self-sacrifice.”—Publishers Weekly

“She writes enviably, with the kind of casual precision which … comes by grace.” — Times Literary Supplement

“One of the great subversive thinkers and peaceable transgressors of the twentieth century…. We are just catching up to this wise, complex, lucid mind that has for ninety-seven years been a generation or two ahead of her time.” — Ursula K. Le Guin, author of Gifts

“Her descriptions of ritual and magic are superb; no less lovely are her accounts of simple, natural things — water-crowfoot flowers, marigolds, and bright-spotted fish. To read her is like looking down into deep warm water, through which the smallest pebble and the most radiant weed shine and are seen most clearly; for her writing is very intimate, almost as a diary, or an autobiography is intimate, and yet it is free from all pose, all straining after effect; she is telling a story so that all may understand, yet it has the still profundity of a nursery rhyme.”
— Hugh Gordon Proteus, New Statesman and Nation

Publication history

First published in the UK by Faber and Faber in 1952.

Reprinted: Virago Press, 1985; Penguin, 1987.

About the Author:

Naomi Mitchison, author of over 70 books, died in 1999 at the age of 101. She was born in and lived in Scotland but traveled widely throughout the world. In the 1960s she was adopted as adviser and mother of the Bakgatla tribe in Botswana. Her books include historical fiction, science fiction, poetry, autobiography, and nonfiction, the most popular of which are The Corn King and the Spring Queen, The Conquered, and Memoirs of a Spacewoman.

Read the New York Times obituary — including this hilarious correction: “An obituary on Saturday about Naomi Mitchison, the British writer and early feminist, misspelled the surname of the Labor Party leader at whom she once threw a half-plucked partridge. He was Hugh Gaitskell, not Gaitskill.”

A little more on Mitchison (This is somewhat dated as it first ran in Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop’s Annotated Browser newsletter):

Naomi Mitchison was born in Scotland in 1897 and died at the age of 101 in 1999. In the USA she isn’t too well known, but I recommend her, even if you have to search for some of her books. Judging by the number of times it’s been brought back into print, the most popular of her historical novels is The Corn King and the Spring Queen. Soho Press have put it out under their Hera Series which includes novels by Cecilia Holland and Gillian Bradshaw.

If historical fiction isn’t your thing, don’t turn up your nose quite yet, she also wrote science fiction (Solution 3, [Feminist Press], Memoirs of a Spacewoman), some of the most enjoyable autobiographies I’ve ever read (You May Well Ask, Small Talk), children’s books (including the wonderful Travel Light), plays (with Lewis Gielgud), poetry, essays, short stories, and biographies; over 70 books in all.

Mitchison was born in Scotland because her mother wanted a woman to attend her at the birth which was difficult to find outside Edinburgh. Despite her proto-feminist leanings her mother never managed to get beyond her Tory beliefs and it wasn’t until Mitchison was older that she realized that she shared her deep Socialist views with her father. Socialism has a long and respectable history in Scotland and does not carry the same negative connotations that the media and populace seem to fear in the USA.

From an early age Mitchison seems to have been very self aware. Excerpts from her early diaries in The Nine Lives of Naomi Mitchison (Virago, 1997) by Jenni Calder and in her own autobiography show her as a learned companion to her older brothers as they study science and try to keep up with their father’s work. Her family lived well. Her father, J.S. Haldane, was a respected scientist and her uncle, Richard Haldane, a cabinet minister during World War I. She lived variously in Scotland and England until moving back to Scotland in 1937 with her husband, the politician Dick Mitchison. She was politically active all her adult life and came to the USA in the 1930s to see how the working class, poor and minorities were faring. She also was well-connected in the arts and political world and put her time into campaigning in support of her beliefs. She believed in sexual freedom, women’s rights and social justice. She was successful enough in her own lifetime to be consistently published but despite that and her family, money problems plagued her well past the usual retirement age.

 



Storyteller: Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop

Mon 8 Aug 2005 - Filed under: Books | 2 Comments| Posted by: intern

Locus Award Winner
Hugo Award Winner

Read Excerpts:

  1. Can Writing Be Taught?
  2. Trivia Vs. Writing Real Stories now available at the Online Writing Workshop.
  3. My Silent Partner at SF Site.

Writers on Clarion

For 27 years, Kate Wilhelm and her husband, Damon Knight, taught at the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, an intensive and ambitious six-week writing program for novice writers, known to participants as “boot camp for writers.”

Part memoir and part writing manual, Storyteller is Wilhelm’s affectionate account of the history of the program and her years there with Damon as mentors and instructors. She relates how Clarion began, explains why workshop participants fear red pencils* and rejoice at the sight of water guns, what she learned, and how she passed a love of the written word on to generations of writers. Storyteller is a gift to all writers from this generous and acclaimed teacher. It includes a special section of writing exercises and advice.

* See page 121 for the origin of “The Red Line of Death.”

Reviews:

“There are many books of writing instruction out there, but what sets Storyteller apart is the sense that Wilhelm really knows students and knows how to teach them to craft a professional story.”
The Oregonian

“A useful, compact, and entertaining guide to writing that is neither bound to a particular genre or market.”
Locus

“This book should be on the reference shelf of every aspiring writer. Not only is it a gift of insight and experience of a wonderful writer but it’s also a fine story of the growth of a renowned writing workshop. Highly recommended.”
SF Revu

“Teaching writing is a balancing act between compassionate encouragement and firm, blunt criticism. Kate is a master of it. The book uses reminisces about the founding, development and running of Clarion to frame a series of practical, plainly stated lessons for the beginning (and professional) writer. I learned a great deal reading it — something that can be accomplished in a deceptively short time, for Kate is also a master of simply and clearly setting out complicated, muddy issues, a skill honed both in her award-winning fiction (Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang is a personal favorite) and in her long years of teaching.”
— Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing

“Oh, but this is a lovely book…. Wilhelm fills Storyteller with lessons about how to write, and just as important, how not to write.”
Strange Horizons

“Its strength, I think, lies in some of the pointers she offers to beginning writers as to help them shorten the time it takes to get published.”
— New Pages

“If you are a budding writer, please spend $16 on this book before raising the money needed to attend Clarion. You’ll get much more out of the workshop if you do.”
— Emerald City

“For such a short book — just barely 192 pages — there is a lot here, and a lot that I’ve never found in other writing books, and it’s all on-point. It’s also delivered as part of the story of one of the most significant institutions in the history of science fiction and fantasy, as told by a true storyteller.”
— Green Man Review

“Satisfying in its own right, presenting an informative, and entertaining, blend of history, memoirs, and writing lessons.”
— Steven Silver

“This book should be on the reference shelf of every aspiring writer. Not only is it a gift of insight and experience of a wonderful writer but it’s also a fine story of the growth of a renowned writing workshop. Highly recommended.”
— SF Revu

“Full of pithy, relevant advice for writers, amusing recollections of the field’s current giants during their early days, and the fullest published account to date of how a revered program was established.”
Scifi Dimensions

Listen to an interview.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • In the Beginning
  • Years Two and Three
  • Two New Homes
  • Those Cryptic Marks
  • Supporters
  • Delegations and Confrontations
  • Let the Wild Rumpus Begin
  • Who Is That Masked Man?
  • Where Am I?
  • What’s Going On?
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Body Count
  • Please Speak Up
  • Beyond the Five W’s
  • The Days
  • Notes and Lessons on Writing
  • Writing Exercises

In 2005 we donated $5 from each sale of Storyteller through our website to the Clarion Foundation. In early 2006 we sent in a check for $850 — thank you readers for helping us help future Clarion Workshop attendees.

Reviews for Wilhelm’s previous books:

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang:

  • Hugo Award Winner
  • “Richly deserves the praise it won. . . . It richly deserves to be read—or read again—for its insights that remain startlingly fresh.” —L.D. Meagher, CNN.com
  • “As well-crafted and sympathetic as it is scientifically rigorous.”—Nalo Hopkinson, scifi.com
  • “The best novel about cloning written to date.”—Locus
  • “Wilhelm’s cautionary message comes through loud and clear.”—The New York Times

About the Author

Kate WilhelmKate Wilhelm was born in 1928, is the author of more than thirty novels including Where Late the Sweet Bird Sang andThe Unbidden Truth. Her work has been adapted for TV and film and translated into twenty languages. She has been awarded the Prix Apollo, Kurd Lasswitz, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. In 2003, she was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Her short fiction appeared in landmark anthologies such as Again Dangerous Visions, Orbit, The Penguin Book of Modern Fantasy by Women, and The Norton Book of Science Fiction.

A cofounder of the Clarion Writers’ Workhops, she continues to host monthly writing workshops in Eugene, Oregon.

Photo by Richard B. Wilhelm
Download for print.

An alternate selection of the Science Fiction Book Club.

Links

Clarion. Clarion West.

Credits

Cover image © Corbis.
Download for print.

Previous Readings:

July 8-10, 2005 — Guest of Honor: Readercon, Burlington, MA

May 26-29, 2006 — Guest of Honor, WisCon, Madison, WI



Kate Wilhelm

Mon 8 Aug 2005 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Kate WilhelmKate Wilhelm was born in 1928, is the author of more than thirty novels including Where Late the Sweet Bird Sang andThe Unbidden Truth. Her work has been adapted for TV and film and translated into twenty languages. She has been awarded the Prix Apollo, Kurd Lasswitz, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. In 2003, she was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Her short fiction appeared in landmark anthologies such as Again Dangerous Visions, Orbit, The Penguin Book of Modern Fantasy by Women, andThe Norton Book of Science Fiction.
A cofounder of the Clarion Writers’ Workhops, she continues to host monthly writing workshops in Eugene, Oregon.

Photo by Richard B. Wilhelm
Download for print.



Storyteller – Reviews

Mon 8 Aug 2005 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

StorytellerStoryteller: Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop
Kate Wilhelm

* Hugo Award Winner for Best Related Book.
* Locus Award Winner
An alternate selection of the Science Fiction Book Club

Clarion“There are many books of writing instruction out there, but what setsStoryteller apart is the sense that Wilhelm really knows students and knows how to teach them to craft a professional story.”
— The Oregonian

“A useful, compact, and entertaining guide to writing that is neither bound to a particular genre or market.”
— Locus

“Its strength, I think, lies in some of the pointers she offers to beginning writers as to help them shorten the time it takes to get published.”
— New Pages

“If you are a budding writer, please spend $16 on this book before raising the money needed to attend Clarion. You’ll get much more out of the workshop if you do.”
— Emerald City

“For such a short book — just barely 192 pages — there is a lot here, and a lot that I’ve never found in other writing books, and it’s all on-point. It’s also delivered as part of the story of one of the most significant institutions in the history of science fiction and fantasy, as told by a true storyteller.”
— Green Man Review

“Satisfying in its own right, presenting an informative, and entertaining, blend of history, memoirs, and writing lessons.”
— Steven Silver

“This book should be on the reference shelf of every aspiring writer. Not only is it a gift of insight and experience of a wonderful writer but it’s also a fine story of the growth of a renowned writing workshop. Highly recommended.”
— SF Revu

“Teaching writing is a balancing act between compassionate encouragement and firm, blunt criticism. Kate is a master of it. The book uses reminisces about the founding, development and running of Clarion to frame a series of practical, plainly stated lessons for the beginning (and professional) writer. I learned a great deal reading it — something that can be accomplished in a deceptively short time, for Kate is also a master of simply and clearly setting out complicated, muddy issues, a skill honed both in her award-winning fiction (Where Late the Sweet Birds Sangis a personal favorite) and in her long years of teaching.”
— Cory Doctorow,
BoingBoing

“Oh, but this is a lovely book…. Wilhelm fills Storyteller with lessons about how to write, and just as important, how not to write.”
— Strange Horizons

“Full of pithy, relevant advice for writers, amusing recollections of the field’s current giants during their early days, and the fullest published account to date of how a revered program was established.”
— Scifi Dimensions


Reviews for Wilhelm’s previous books:

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang:

  • Hugo Award Winner
  • “Richly deserves the praise it won. . . . It richly deserves to be read — or read again — for its insights that remain startlingly fresh.”
    — L.D. Meagher, CNN.com
  • “As well-crafted and sympathetic as it is scientifically rigorous.”
    — Nalo Hopkinson, scifi.com
  • “The best novel about cloning written to date.”
    Locus
  • “Wilhelm’s cautionary message comes through loud and clear.”
    The New York Times

And the Angels Sing:

  • “An outstandingly fluent, sensitive writer.


Storyteller Excerpt: Can Writing Be Taught?

Mon 8 Aug 2005 - Filed under: Free Stuff to Read, Novel Excerpts | 1 Comment| Posted by: intern

StorytellerClarionOne of the questions Damon and I returned to often was simply: can writing be taught? There are many writers who say emphatically that the answer is no. I see their point. High school and college creative writing classes are too often a joke, taught by non-writers without a clue about the real world of publishing and what makes for a publishable story in contemporary markets. For most writers struggling alone, the learning curve from the first attempt to write to becoming an accomplished writer is very long; years in many cases. And all the while they are being taught by rejection slips, by trial and error; they are learning what works for them and what doesn’t. Even after they have published a few stories, often they can’t see why one story was accepted and not another.

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