Today it is our extreme pleasure to have author Marie Brennan on the blog, whose Voyage of the Basilisk is now available as a shiny new paperback! Brennan is here to talk about her favorite episode of The Librarians – but first…
A necessary pause for some very necessary fangirling over Brennan’s entire Memoirs of Lady Trent series. This five-part series follows the adventures of a female adventurist and naturalist who studies dragons (basically – imagine if dragons were real and Charles Darwin was a woman.) The series began with A Natural History of Dragons, and has continued with The Tropic of Serpents, Voyage of the Basilisk, and In The Labyrinth of Drakes. One more novel is planned and we really can’t recommend these books enough. Smart, feminist, and displaying a joyous excitement for academic discovery that is positively infectious: The Memoirs of Lady Trent are a treasure. Fans of Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist History series will particularly find much to love – as you can see from this delightful video of the two authors together.
Also: that cover art. #swoon
The thrilling adventure of Lady Trent continues in Marie Brennan’s Voyage of the Basilisk . . .
Devoted readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoirs, A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents, may believe themselves already acquainted with the particulars of her historic voyage aboard the Royal Survey Ship Basilisk, but the true story of that illuminating, harrowing, and scandalous journey has never been revealed―until now.
Six years after her perilous exploits in Eriga, Isabella embarks on her most ambitious expedition yet: a two-year trip around the world to study all manner of dragons in every place they might be found. From feathered serpents sunning themselves in the ruins of a fallen civilization to the mighty sea serpents of the tropics, these creatures are a source of both endless fascination and frequent peril. Accompanying her is not only her young son, Jake, but a chivalrous foreign archaeologist whose interests converge with Isabella’s in ways both professional and personal.
Science is, of course, the primary objective of the voyage, but Isabella’s life is rarely so simple. She must cope with storms, shipwrecks, intrigue, and warfare, even as she makes a discovery that offers a revolutionary new insight into the ancient history of dragons.
Check it out!
The Voyage of the Basilisk – now available in paperback
I love a good period drama — think the kind of thing HBO has done so much of — but a year or so ago, I found myself craving stuff that was brighter, more energetic, more . . . cheerful. All at once I got hooked on a slew of new shows: Agent Carter, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Galavant, and a TNT offering called The Librarians, which is a spinoff of some made-for-TV pulp adventure movies starring Noah Wyle. About the latter, I will say that The Librarian: The Quest for the Spear is a better Indiana Jones movie than either Temple of Doom or Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. About the former, I will say: this is a show for NERDS.
Because the heroes of the series (the eponymous Librarians, plus their ass-kicking Guardian, who protect the world from magic) don’t generally save the day with fists or guns. They save it with math, with computer hacking, with their knowledge of nineteenth-century American frontier architecture. They save it with trivia. They save it with their brains. This is a show where being smart is a superpower — but not all-powerful; they also need teamwork and ethics and a healthy dose of luck.
It’s so hard to pick a single episode! But I think I have to go with “And the Fables of Doom,” in which the protagonists investigate a small town where fairy tales are coming true. The magical effect that’s causing it takes hold of them gradually, so that the charming thief Ezekiel Jones starts having the outrageous luck of a Jack figure, while his fellow Librarian, art-historian-cum-oil-rig-worker Jacob Stone is suddenly wearing a flannel shirt . . . and then starts carrying an axe . . . and where did that giant hawk on his arm come from? But it doesn’t all go in expected directions: Cassandra Cillian, the synaesthetic mathematician with an amazing ability to visualize equations, turns into the story’s Prince Charming figure, with ladies hanging off her at every turn — including Eve Baird, their Guardian, whose role as the fairy-tale princess has more to do with her blonde hair than her background as a NATO counter-terrorism expert. Watching their various reactions to these transformations is hilarious (Ezekiel takes it as his natural due; Eve is disgusted with her own increasing helplessness) . . . but not as hilarious as when somebody takes control of the stories and starts revising them in unexpected ways.
Pretty much every episode of The Librarians is great; I almost chose the one with Bruce Campbell as Santa Claus, or the one where the heroes have to defeat the supernatural threat by telling a whole lot of unexpected truths, or the one with the characters stuck in a computer game where Ezekiel is the only one who can remember each previous iteration. But “And the Fables of Doom” really fires on all cylinders at once, playing off each character type in ways both expected and unexpected, and then wrapping it up with an honestly touching bit of heroism from a side character in the episode. Every trivia-loving nerd in the world should be watching this show.
Check it out
Marie Brennan is the World Fantasy Award-nominated author of several fantasy series, including the Memoirs of Lady Trent, the Onyx Court, the Wilders series, and the Doppelganger duology, as well as more than forty short stories. More information can be found atwww.swantower.com.