Free Is Good; Latin Is Good; Chalk Is Good

A couple of free e-texts I learned about in the past couple days:

1.) Pyr–an imprint with very sound judgement–has decided to make Sean Williams’ The Crooked Letter available as a free e-book. Although the book has cover art so beautiful it makes you want to buy it (I speak from sad experience), the book itself is so engaging that reading it makes you want to buy the second one (repeat above parenthesis), so it’s a great choice for a “first hit is free” marketing approach.

2.) Priscian’s Institutiones Grammaticae is now available, in something like its entirety, at a great site The Logic Museum. This either sets your pulse pounding wildly or it doesn’t. But he has lots of interesting stuff there, including a bilingual edition of Francis (“No-I-Have-Never-Been-Taped-To-John-Scalzi’s-Cat”) Bacon’s Novum Organon. I was reading down the aphorisms, thinking how central these are to scientific thinking, so much so that no one thinks about them anymore… then I thought, “You know, you could write some pretty interesting fantasy by turning these aphorisms on their heads and assuming the opposite.” It also seems to me that Aphorism 35 partially explains why so many disputes burst into futile flame wars these days: People are using weapons instead of chalk.

It was said by Borgia of the expedition of the French into Italy, that they came with chalk in their hands to mark out their lodgings, not with arms to force their way in. I in like manner would have my doctrine enter quietly into the minds that are fit and capable of receiving it; for confutations cannot be employed when the difference is upon first principles and very notions, and even upon forms of demonstration.

Dixit Borgia de expeditione Gallorum in Italiam, eos venisse cum creta in manibus, ut diversoria notarent, non cum armis, ut perrumperent. Itidem et nostra ratio est, ut doctrina nostra animos idoneos et capaces subintret; confutationum enim nullus est usus, ubi de principiis et ipsis notionibus, atque etiam de formis demonstrationum dissentimus.

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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3 Responses to Free Is Good; Latin Is Good; Chalk Is Good

  1. peadarog says:

    I downloaded The Crooked Letter last week. I will see if you’re right some time over the coming month. Nice art-work, all right.

    • JE says:

      The artist, Greg Bridges, has been around for a quarter-century, apparently, but he was new to me.

      I probably won’t have any time to read the sequels to The Crooked Letter for a while, because of the Great Nebulation of 2009. I’m going to make a great push to read all the Nebula-nominated stuff I can before the deadline for voting. This effort is guaranteed success, because whatever I manage to read will be what I can read. (I’m proposing new Nebula Awards in Rationalization and also in Pointless Kvetching, although I’ll probably have a lot of competitors for that second one.)

      • peadarog says:

        Well, of the nebulees, I’ve read:

        Brasyl — great!
        Lamplighter — light and really lovely, but read the first in the series before you start (Monster Blood Tattoo).

        Enjoy, oh, enjoy!

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