Sunday, November 09, 2008

Books Within Books

The weather was exceptionally beautiful today. It's been an unusually warm November in the Regions - almost like October all over again, though it's hard to believe we could be that lucky. October is always too short. People have written songs about it.

Even the Vanister Museum, probably my favorite building in Hamjamser that isn't a library, couldn't compete with the mountain around it. I didn't feel like walking around inside all day. Instead, I walked around Vanister and the surrounding forest all morning, sketched a few things here and there, bought a tin of lemon cookies at the Rinkler Bakery, and brought them - and a book - to the old standing stones uphill from the town. I like to sit and read under the one shaped like a platypus.

I think I've mentioned before that all the books I own are ambiguous novels. When you travel all the time, you can't carry a lot of books around with you, and libraries won't always be in the same place by the time you've finished a book and want to take it back. Ambiguous novels are the only good way to read new books on the road.

Recently, I've discovered yet another favorite author in Iliev Machinel, whose books have been showing up in one of my novels with rather alarming regularity. I just hope they continue to do so. I love them. Between Iliev Machinel and Inian Gleam - the book's current favorite authors, apparently - I feel like I've spent half of the last few months in strange places beneath the streets of Golgoolian.

Ambiguous novels, from what I've heard, are generally made by mixing up pages from seven or more different books inside one cover. This makes the book so confused about its own contents that it gives up and starts copying other books instead. It generally goes after books similar to the ones used to make it, though nearly every ambiguous novel gets bored and tries something else occasionally.

Reading ambiguous novels takes some practice. Once someone has seen the last page of a story, that's it; the book will have a different one the next time it's opened. I've had to track down over a dozen books at various libraries, having glimpsed the last page too early and missed the ending.

One of mine always contains fantasy, of nearly any kind. That's the one that's been obsessed with Gleam and Machinel lately. It's also the book that got me started on Ramer Oswelt, Tratch R. Pettery, Lena Tithe, Milici Trappilack, H. T. Garnix, and even Oswina Dennenjay. Another mixes fantasy and science fiction, and seems to have a particular fondness for Inry Varnel, Curl R. Hatcreak, and the unlikely technologies of Herbert G. Welleger. The third - put together, apparently, from a wider variety of books - alternates fantasy with murder mysteries (mostly by Trachia Ghastie), obscure works of biology and cryptozoology, and the occasional rather silly romance.

The fourth contains only graphic novels, which it seems to choose completely at random, but occasionally fills itself with what look like ancient Rampastulan hieroglyphs. I don't know where it gets them. They must be written somewhere - ambiguous novels don't invent their own words - but I've loaned the book to several Rampastulan archaeologists, and none of them had ever seen these particular hieroglyphs before. They were delighted to have them. All I can think is that the book has found some old ruin near Rampastula, probably buried deep underground or lost in the heaps and layers of architecture that make up the city, and is copying the occasional interesting wall. Maybe hieroglyphs and graphic novels don't look all that different if you're a book.

Completely unrelated to anything else, Mr. and Mrs. Dreefel - the fortune-teller and her husband - celebrated their son's negative second birthday today. Mrs. Dreefel says he'll be born in exactly two years. They had a party in the Train's dining room, with their friends and a few random strangers that are apparently going to be their friends someday, and divided a cake with two candle-shaped holes in it.

I love living on the Train.

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Blogger MLight said...

I love reading about the Train, but those authors will drive me nuts.

6:26 PM  

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