Full disclosure. The axe is royalty free clipart because I don't have time or energy right now.
Well, lots has happened since the last update, no? The world is on fire, people are dying, we're all stuck in our homes trying to mitigate; there's fear, distrust, anger. So much unknown, no end date in sight. It's a lot, guys.
I've thought a lot about how the post-apocolyptic, dystopian fantasy has become popular in the last couple decades, along with an overall trend toward a sense that the future is inevitably bleak. It's almost like humanity needs calamity and crisis, and in the absence of anything that challenges the entire globe (since in our myopic vision the horrors that happen in other countries are things we can mostly ignore) we invent them. Given that attitude, it's almost surprising how hard it is to believe in what is happening.
I wonder if after this is done, we'll see a resurgence in old-fashioned happy endings, in stories of hope, where virtue triumphs, where heroes really are heroes and do all kinds of hard-but-right things. Not that these stories have been totally absent. Just...sometimes mocked as the fantasies they are.
Turns out we need those fantasies. And so I'm here, and I'm keeping on, as much as I can. In a world full of death, we need to believe there are High Kings more than ever.
Stay well, my friends. Hold on to hope. Stay connected. We are in it together.
Sometimes fantasy is more real than overly fussy and cynical attempts at "realism."
I'm relieved you posted! Didn't know where to ask "Are you okay?" in a place where you'd see it. Or if you'd see it. ... Carry on, then. =)
I get notifications of my comments here. :) There's also the facebook page, my instagram...I've everywhere bro. Hope you are doing ok.
It's nice to see an update from you. With the way things are in the world right now, I hope everything is as good as can be for you. It's tough right now.
Since I last posted on here, my son and I have read The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, and Taran Wanderer. We've got The High King ordered from the library, but with the way things are, I have no idea when they will be getting books in. We've enjoyed all of them. Thank you for introducing us to the Chronicles of Prydain.
Of all of them Taran Wanderer has stuck with me the most through the years.
I thought Taran Wanderer was a great book. The evolution of Taran's character from the beginning of The Book of Three all the way through Taran Wanderer has made for some very compelling reading. It's been quite a journey watching him grow and mature.
Oh wow you guys have been cruising! I am so glad to have introduced you to this world! As for The High King...in the days before amazon, I could only find the first four books in the local bookstore, and it was a full year before I found the last and could finally read the end! :) So I feel the pain. It'll be worth the wait.
Gotta go catch up on Candralar. Good to be back in community.
That would have sucked to have had to wait a whole year before you could finish the series! It's kind of funny to think of things as Before Amazon. My son wants an Alexa so he can listen to whatever music he wants to anytime. He says it will be quicker than looking songs up on Youtube. I think I blew his mind when I told him back when I was 11, we used to have to just wait for the song to be played on the radio. :)
This talk of trying to find the books made me want to tell this story. I guess I've never told this to anyone before besides my kids, and it's kind of sad, but now I will tell it to a bunch of anonymous folks on the internet, who might actually understand why I did what I did. I was so desperate to have the books when I was twelve, I stole them from my middle school library. I had checked them out so many times that it was embarrassing, and no one else seemed to be checking them out, so one day I dropped them all out of the library window and went around outside to pick them up. All but Taran Wanderer, which I had already read from the Public Library, but which the middle school didn't have. I have them to this day, the Castle of Llyr a bit dog chewed from my german shepherd from those days, and I completed the collection with a paper back version of Taran Wanderer many years later. I guess for a kid that in many ways didn't have much else good or inspiring in his life besides a good Mom and a good dog, they were a sort of Bible, and I had no other way of actually owning them. I kept them hidden from my Mom, who certainly would have made me return them, and I felt bad later on that I had possibly deprived other kids from enjoying and learning from these books, but what was done was done. These are the original LIbrary editions with the Evaline Ness covers (wife of Elliott Ness of the Untouchables fame, for those of you that don't know that story). And I've never liked any of the subsequent cover illustrations as much as these. So now you all know.
Oh my goodness. This is so heartbreaking, Sky. Obviously none of us would condone theft but neither can I condemn it. I wish I could go back to 12-year-old you, and give you a set. I've given away a lot of them, donated to classrooms and friends' kids. And I myself have done something not-technically-legal with them, so I'll tell that story too.
One of my fans is a young lady in Iran. Due to their extreme restrictions on internet, the only way she can access this work at all is via Instagram, which is where she initially found me while searching for fanart from the Disney film, which she loved. When she found out it was based on books she began searching for them, but they haven't been available there for years. In fact I don't know if an official Persian translation has ever been done - the images she sent me of the covers of the books that were apparently printed there used several pieces of my own art and that of others, stolen from online and badly collaged in photoshop. I have no doubt any printer that unethical would have also printed unauthorized translations of the books. But in any case, even those were no longer available anywhere, and she was absolutely wild with desperation to know more about these stories.
We tried for weeks to figure out how I could gift her the books, but it's not easy to ship things to Iran, and I would not ask a minor (she was fourteen) for her address in any case. Several possibilities were floated and rejected, and finally I realized the only way to get her a book would be to photograph every page and send it over Instagram messages.
So I did. A few chapters at a time I sent her all of The Book of Three. She printed every page and bound them into her own book, and sent me a picture of it. She was ecstatic.
This was a year or two ago; her IG account has changed several times as the country cracks down and then loosens its restrictions, but she always comes back and finds me again. I'm halfway through sending her The Black Cauldron now, and actually am reminded just now that I need to go upload the next chapter.
I am conflicted about the legalities of sending copyrighted material for sure. I would certainly prefer to send her actual books, legally purchased. But in the end, I think Lloyd would want the stories to be accessible to anyone, and especially young people in her position. These stories are meant to be shared.
You are such a special lady. And I'm sure LA would be proud of you, and would have done it himself if he could.
I believe there's actually a "Samizdat" exception to most Western nations' copyright law. The Christian subtext would certainly get these books banned by the mullahs, though they usually allow used books to circulate freely, as did the Reds, soemtimes even in mainland China, Cuba (presently out of soap for the next two months - talk about timing, eh?) or North Korea.
Besides, you're not reproducing it for profit. It's almost "by way of review".
Could not find Taran Wanderer anywhere when I first started looking. Then I finally found it only to see that the preface said Eilonwy wasn't in it, so I sulked and wound up not getting past book three for the next fifteen years. :p
It is indeed a bitter pill to swallow. It's a shame, because it's arguably the best book in the series from a growth perspective. I wish he'd found a way to include her.
Wow such heartwarming stories here! Let me add one of myself. The local library had the full serie minus Book of Three. I think i read the other books mixed up the first time, depending on availability. BoT took a long time to arrive through other libraries. I hardly dared to reserve the title. At one point i started to copy The High King, manualy. I think i cpuld do the first chapter. I got 'caught' by my mom who told as a kid she also tried to copy a book. Of course i made up a story i needed to write something for school...
Skyboy i also got the feeling at one point i was the only one renting the books! Very familiar feeling! And of course around tge Mariot hotel everything is quiet like everywhere...
Nice to hear from you, yeah I'm sure it is so eerie and a first time experience to see the streets of Amsterdam as quiet as they probably are now. I saw where the Netherlands is trying a "herd immunity" strategy to fight the coronavirus, it sounds strange but maybe you will turn out to be geniuses. Hope it works and the death rate is not too high.
Hi Skyboy, group imunity is not the direct goal, but a side effect. There was put too much weight on it aftwr a speech frome the prime minister. We are basically flattening the curve, like most countries try. There are first small hopes some things start to work a bit here. Don't stare blind on the numbers in Europe, every country has a different measurement system, but they try to keep clear what numbers they post. We hope to see some effect later during the comming week. There are also soo much cultyral differences in Europe. But as long as there is no medicine (let alone a vaxcin), what can you do better than to try to keep the hospitals running and not too much overcrouding, and some parts of the economics running. We all have to see.
I hope I did not sound critical, on the contrary I am glad that the Netherlands actually has a plan, which is more than can be said for the US - unless constantly fighting with each other and acting like children counts as a plan these days.
No problem Skyboy! As a matter of fact I am very worried about US. But if you want to talk more about that it might be better to cummincate in private through fanfic, i have an account there but not here...
In re plans - that's sort of by design. The police power is something reserved to the states, except in federal territories and military bases. Can you imagine trying to administer "a plan" for a country as big as the USA centrally? So far our biggest problems have involved shortages of non-biological swaps and testing solutions for the machines that we have had to date, and we're actually testing a lot of folks, at least if my consumption of Canadian, Czech, and Slovak news in addition to the local stuff and talking to the health-care professionals I know in those locations is anything to judge from.
Actually I can easily see a central plan for control and distribution of critical resources, like ventilators, and the military is trained and staffed for this sort of command and control. There are areas of the country that could easily be providing that sort of equipment to the hard hit urban areas right now; and it could be redistributed back to those areas after the wave passes in the urban areas. And the problem isn’t the testing we are doing now; it’s the testing we should have been doing two months ago, as was being done in places like Singapore and Tokyo, where they actually got ahead of this thing.
I've wondered often about the number of apocolyptic fantasies also, and hoped fervently that their bleak view of the future isn't what will happen, for the sake of my kids and their kids, and everyone else's kids. But looking at earlier stuff like Brave New World and 1984, that stuff is happening, just a little later than predicted, although we still have better choices we can make. And sometimes I wonder if this virus isn't at least a big warning...nature still has a say in our lives, and maybe it's the earth's way to get rid of some of what it sees as its own infection (us) :-(
On a happier note, so glad to see you posting, and I hope you're right about the resurgence of hopeful stories. If you haven't noticed, I'm caught up and looking forward to the next chapter of Daughter of the Sea! And I like the axe, although maybe a tad long in the handle for Doli. ;-)
I've so appreciated your commentary at fanfiction.net. I'm sorry I've not responded to every one. It's been hard to keep up with everything, but I really, really love how much you've gotten into the story and your heartfelt and thoughtful reactions. I'm sorry you're having to wait now, lol. It'll be a challenge, as the chapter that gets posted tomorrow is the last one I have ready to post, and I am so brainfogged right now that I do not know when I'll be able to focus enough to write. I know it sounds fatalistic, but I have this sense that I've got to survive the pandemic at least long enough to finish the story!
Good to hear from you. I hope you and your family are doing as best as possible in these crazy times.
I can't complain. We've got an income (for now) and everyone is well. You can't ask for a lot more than that just now, can you? Hope you are ok too.
Family is doing ok. We are both working from home for the time being. The kid is "bored." Season 6 of the webseries is on hold but fortunately I had a spinoff "mini-series" in the works that I wanted to launch and just needed a reason to do it. The downside is this is not the "reason" I was looking for in any way shape or form.
You don't know what a treat it was to see this update today! :D I found your graphic novel a couple of weeks ago through TVTropes, just before all the craziness started in my area. I don't know what prompted me to click the link, as I rarely read fan works, and I've never before left a comment on any that were not done by a real life friend. But I'm so glad that I did follow the link, as your artwork here--and the comments below--have been my “comfort food” both before and after my job in the newly dubbed "hero" industry (i.e., I work in a grocery store). It’s a good thing that the Prydain Chronicles prepared me at an early for the truth that the life of a hero is not glamorous, because I sure don’t feel like a hero right now; I just feel tired.
No, wait: I also feel grateful. Reaching the last page had certainly been disappointing, but also motivating: I just HAD to leave the talented person behind this piece of art a message saying how much I had been enjoying it, and although my words would be inadequate in portraying how I felt I hoped that posting at all would bring at least a little cheer into her life in a pretty cheerless time. I knew I would have to resist the temptation to beg for more pages in the process, so I let my response stew for a day or two while I proved to myself that I could continue on even without new pages to read. But then here you go posting a new chapter title page and saying you’re about to continue! :D So thank you, thank you again for the obvious passion you have put into this.
Oh my. This just brought tears to my eyes and though I know the stress of the last two weeks is partly to blame, making me instantly emotional at the slightest provocation, I really am so moved.
Thank you for clicking the link. Thank you for reading and for commenting and for reaching out; this is why I do this and why I post and why I love the fan community that has pulled together under the "banner of the white pig" in this obscure corner of the web. This is why I will continue even though I am tired, and depressed, and anxious, and about to lock my kids in their rooms and myself in the closet with a bottle of vodka....no, just kidding. Sangria will do. I don't know how long it will take me to do the next page or the next chapter, but I will plug away and I will keep going as long as I live, so pray for this bug to stay away from my family, because I need to breathe to draw.
Thank you for keeping on. In my experience, heroes never feel like heroes. They are mostly ordinary people who continue to quietly do what must be done, and it's a shame it takes a calamity to make society realize how crucial they are.
I'm so glad my words could reach you, Saeriellyn--although I'm sorry for the tears. You're right though: every emotion is being heightened during this calamitous time, and that includes my gratitude for both your work and your reply to my comment! :)
Crescent Moon, you sound like the kind of hero that I would like.
And Saeriellyn, you are no doubt a hero, by Taran's own definition. Because you do more for others than for yourself alone.
It's nice to be in the company of true heroes.
Thank you for your kind words, Skyboy! :)
I hope I didn't come across as asking for some praise, but let me say that just saying the right thing at the right time to someone can have as big an impact on that someone's life as a more overtly heroic act! :)
Or, in Saeriellyn's case, 245 pages (to date) of a webcomic (and countless comments to her followers below!) :)
Heroic fantasy isn't realistic, but neither is any other kind of literature. Romance, adventure, mystery, tragedy - it's all acting out some form of escape. Even tragedy casts a veil of meaning over the base fact that life and death are meaningless, or at least offers a lesson. Desdemona perishes so that some real man might not follow in Othello's footsteps.
Heroic fiction also teaches a lesson, and offers guidance and models of rectitude that are deficient in real life, especially now with social media devouring any kind of standards. In former times, this role was filled by war fiction or (long ago) hagiography. It's an indictment of our culture that we seem to have scant desire for heroes, even in our imaginations.
While I don't necessarily agree that life and death are meaningless, I do agree with the sentiment of most the rest of your commentary. Social media has it's uses and positive notes, but they are drowned is a sea of ugly. Sometimes I quietly (or not so much) wish that it'll be a passing fad, but I'm pretty sure it's here to stay, though it'll likely evolve in different ways in the future.
Kudos to you, Crescent Moon! I'm always grateful for those who work in the service industries, because most jobs are NOT glamorous, but they are NECESSARY. I too work in an industry that's considered essential, so for me it's been a grounding place during all this craziness, but I'd be lying if I said it felt like normal. Work is busier, more tiring and just as important as ever, but now it feels like there's an edge to it, biting at my heels and making me painfully aware of how critical a sense of financial security is during a crisis. We'll make it through this together, but we're in for the long haul and it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Thank you for going to work every day, essential people! For all our sakes, I hope life returns to "normal" (for a given value of normal) soon, but hopefully better.
Stuff happening in Wales today...
I saw this. I love it. Medwyn gonna take back the earth.
I think we have recently seen an increase in happy endings, at least in a way. The modern prevalence of superhero movies makes me think so, at least. Escapism and morality in one package. Anyways, great work so far!