The most recent Writing Excuses podcast episode starts a new “Project in Depth” series where Mary, Howard, Dan, and I take a project that one of us has completed and grill the creator about it. These episodes necessarily contain spoilers. The first one covers Howard’s Hugo-nominated Schlock Mercenary volume Force Multiplication. In future episodes (not all in a row) we’ll do THE WAY OF KINGS, GLAMOUR IN GLASS, and THE HOLLOW CITY. Check the first one out here.
This week’s ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS annotation covers the Alivened attack. Those are the big monsters made from bad romance novels.
Today I’m highlighting two pieces of fan mail I received recently, the first related to ALCATRAZ and second to ELANTRIS.
Here’s the first one, from the dinosaurs.
Declaration of the library
We the people of the Hushlands worldwide have grown to see the evil the library imposes on kids. The taxation, limitation, and selectiveness coupled with such high requirements to check out books is outrageous.
First there is taxation, where if the book is one day late it costs a whole 25¢ which is a lot for kids. I mean that’s like 10 hours of work and then it adds an extra 25¢ per day which can add up until buying the book would be cheaper. This was made to keep kids working forever to pay off their fines. And then we only are allowed to choose some books and can be turned down for books at your whim.
We have tried to turn them in on time but sometimes there’s no way to get there in time, because of natural disasters or if we’re delayed by parents whom we are scheming against. We have tried to explain this but you don’t understand it’s not always possible.
To protect our freedom and avoid taxation we must find a way out of this through talk. If not, more drastic moves may be needed, such as boycotting or abandoning the library altogether. Then your plot to take over the Free Kingdoms would be over. The Smedrys would win, and you would be shown that knowledge wins only when it is free.
Before we are forced to leave due to lack of freedom I would like to explain that knowledge should be free no matter how stoopid you are, with no limitations, and nothing that needs to be kept or taxed.
Here’s the second one, from a teacher. (Last names have been removed for privacy.)
My ninth grade English students read Elantris this year. I only had four major questions for them that spanned the length of the text, but we did do some other activities. One of them was called Found Poetry. We used lines from Elantris to make poems. Some of them are quite good. Here is a sampling. I thought you might be interested.
My rage was like a river
The pain swelling with each passing day
I stared absently with morose eyes
At the trees that sparkled like jewels
In the winter daylight.
My forlorn voice rose and fell
Like a well written symphony
As leaves floated slowly
Spinning in a hazy circle
Around a column of narrow-dust filled light.
Something within my heart healed
As I remembered to be my own master,
Finally discovering the simple explanations
For what I had sought for so long.
I hate them
Beasts made of Gods
Foul, loathsome creatures
Thinking of them makes my heart sick
My mind feels tainted
Chaos, killing, riots, and panic
They used people as slaves
They lied to us
They are unholy
We listened to them for centuries
But we were rewarded with impotence
I hate them
They gasped in wonder at its beauty
The creature growled at it
It was lined with delicate spiraled arches
And crafted of pale, white marble
It was something large
Something impossibly immense
The air bled at its light
Dissolving into pure whiteness
It brought bumps to her arms;
And a sent a shiver through her body.
It’s a chapel.
City (A Haiku)
The city of the Gods;
Elantris was beautiful.
Then the earth shattered.