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I am very happy to announce that speculative fiction webzine Abyss & Apex #66 is up,
with an extensive poetry TOC:

Introduction to Poetry Issue 66 by John C. Mannone
“The Song of Unknown Night” by Hongri Yuan
“To Watch the World Burn” by Jason Harris
“Rebellion” by Genevieve DeGuzman
“A City Built On Bones” by Ann Schwader
"Oatk Ash, and Crow" by Rebecca Buchanan
“The Honored” by WC Roberts
“Paul Bunyan and the Whirlwind Mountain” by Gabriel Ertsgaard
“La Belle a la Bête” by Brittany Hause
“Tea Leaves” by Hilary Biehl
“Zojaj” by Sheikha A.

My villanelle "A City Built On Bones"
was inspired by the 2017 earthquake in Mexico City, plus a healthy helping of Atzec mythology.
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The King Must Die (Theseus, #1)The King Must Die by Mary Renault

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This lyrical retelling of the legend of Theseus manages to add a sense of realism (circa 1958 archaeological evidence) without sacrificing the essential magic of ancient Greece. The gods may or may not manifest themselves; but they are fully real to the characters, and they behave as such, often with far-reaching consequences.

Renault does not give the reader modern sensibilities in ancient clothing, but truly ancient ways of thinking -- which can be disturbing at times. Theseus’s perception of women is the most notable case of this, though Medea and the pre-Classic Goddess cults are also active in his world. For archaeology and ancient history enthusiasts, Renault includes an Author’s Note explaining her approach to Theseus’s story, a short but useful bibliography, and a solid version of the legend itself.

I took far too long getting through this book, because there is so much to savor – and the prose, though sparely elegant, is very rich. Renault does know how to keep the pages turning during a bull-dance or a battle, however! I’ve already got The Bull From the Sea (this book’s immediate sequel) loaded on my Kindle.

One side note: Hunger Games fans who haven’t read this book yet should treat themselves as soon as possible. Theseus and his Athenian companions were the original Tributes, and their adventures in Crete are some of the most entertaining in the novel.

View all my reviews
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The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient CodeThe Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code by Margalit Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a highly readable introduction to one of archaeology's most notable mysteries, the "Minoan" script known as Linear B.

Journalist Margalit Fox -- who is also a linguist -- organizes her narrative into three biographical sections. The first covers Victorian archaeologist Arthur Evans, who first discovered the script. The second (and possibly most fascinating) deals with Brooklyn College classicist Alice Kober, who did the lioness's share of sorting out the intricacies of Linear B before her untimely death in 1950. The last features English architect Michael Ventris, the gifted/obsessed amateur who finally deciphered the script in 1952. An epilogue to this final section explains what Linear B actually reveals about the civilization that used it.

Fox also provides a clear listing of the signs of Linear B (a few of which are still mysteries!), plus comprehensive references and notes. Her prose is clear and engaging, and she has a talent for storytelling sadly lacking in much nonfiction. I found a few of the more technical sections on sorting out the script tough going, but that may reflect my own lack of background.

Readers interested in ancient Greece, archaeology, code-breaking, or women's history might all find this book well worth their time.

View all my reviews
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My SF poem "Cave Bear Dreams" is up this week on the webzine Strange Horizons.

Although this poem was inspired by science & archaeology, there's a definite undertone of the weird here . . . I think.  YMMV.

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If it's spring -- well, almost -- it must be raining haiku. 

Veteran online journal The Heron's Nest & newcomer A Hundred Gourds have new issues up this month, and I'm happy to report that I have work in both of them.  Find my single haiku in the Nest here.  Check here & here for my haiku in AHG

Both these journals offer opportunities for poetry fans to increase their knowledge of haiku & other short Asian verse forms.  The Nest is strictly haiku, but includes extensive commentary on one Editors' Choice poem per issue.  AHG features tanka, haiga, haibun, & renku in additon to haiku, & also includes articles.

Graphic novel enthusiasts might be particularly interested in a special feature this time around, The Graphic Haibun of Linda PapanicolaouIn addition to the archaeologically-themed piece "The Bone Flute," this section has links to several other graphic haibun by this innovative poet, as well as an interview with her.  Speculative poetry folks are likely to find this section intriguing as well -- I certainly did!
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In honor of International Women's Day -- and my own fascination with archaeology involving women -- here's a link to's online feature article about a "Dynasty of Priestesses" in Iron Age Crete.

This feature is less a single article than a fascinating collection of articles, interviews, videos, and links related to the necropolis of Orthi Petra at Eleutherna on the island of Crete.   The possible priestesses were found in pithos (large ceramic jar) burials. 

I could add something here about a well-urned rest, but discretion is the better part of blogging . . . 

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Archaeology's latest e-update includes a link to a short but fascinating article from the Archaeology Institute of America's Online Editorial Director, Mark Rose.  He seems to have a few problems with the AMA press release, though he hopes that some of his questions will be resolved by the full article:

Tut:  Disease & DNA News

This article also includes a link to the full text of the magazine's March/April cover story on "Warrior Tut," plus a couple of related links.     Interesting info from good sources, here -- your key to a little one-stop Tut-Tutting.
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According to an article which will be published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the 19 year old King Tutankhamun (Dynasty 18, around 1323 BC) died from a combination of injury & infection, though some of his underlying trouble was very likely genetic. 

The Associated Press has a detailed article:  A frail King Tut died from malaria, broken leg

Thanks to recent DNA testing, this article has quite a lot of chewy information -- and some speculation -- about Tut's parentage, as well.

I've been fascinated by Egyptology for years,  but much of the material here is new to me.  I'll be sure to post again as more of this (continuing) Amarna mystery is unraveled by science & peer-reviewed journals.

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. . . as I suspect a lot of people reading this already know.  However, I can't resist passing on good news one more time!    This issue, guest-edited by [ profile] time_shark , offers 16 poems by 18 poets.  In addition, there are 9 narrations and a very special "Mischief" item.

Check out the TOC here -- or, perhaps, start with my dark archaeological haibun "Mount Pacho."   I've posted about this one before, but anyone else curious about its inspiration can find the Archaeology article here

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Just found out over the weekend that my dark fantasy / mythological haibun "Mount Pacho" has been accepted by guest editor [profile] time_shark for the next issue of Goblin Fruit.

I'm particularly happy with this sale, because "Mount Pacho" is one of the longest (4 haiku included) and most heavily researched speculative haibun I've ever done.

Thanks also to Archaeology Magazine, and the Nov./Dec. 2008 article which inspired this whole thing.
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For those who crave a more scientific approach to Halloween, Archaeology Magazine is now offering a special online feature page: Uncanny Archaeology

Divided into sections for Halloween, Vampires, Witches, Zombies, and Magic & Curses, this page contains links to several previously-published articles -- some surprisingly morbid (Celtic human sacrifice?), one a spoof.  Great inspiration for dark poetry, art, or other flights of fancy.

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The April 09 issue of   [ profile] ericmarin 's Lone Star Stories is now live, with short fiction and poems by Patricia Russo,  Nicole Kornher-Stace , Josh Rountree,  Sonya Taaffe,  Amal El-Mohtar and Nicole Kornher-Stace, and Yours Truly.

My contribution, "Bones of the God,"  is actually a haibun.  Remember all that commotion back in February about about giant snake fossils being found in Columbia?  Well . . . they're baaaack.

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OK, once again this is definitely a "related remarks" post -- but Andie Byrnes' fascinating Egyptology News blog for Feb. 10th is offering some very current information (with links and photos!) on the recent discovery of around two dozen mummies in a 2,600-year-old tomb at the necropolis of Saqqara, located south of Cairo.

The tomb is at the bottom of a 36-foot deep shaft.  So far,  twenty-two mummies have been found in niches along the tomb's walls.  There are also eight sarcophagi, only one of which has been opened so far.  That one did have a mummy in it.  The tomb itself has been dated to 640 B.C. during the 26th Dynasty.  However, the tomb was found at an even older site which dates to the 4,300-year-old 6th Dynasty.

Andie's blog entry includes links to five other news sites, plus some lovely close-up shots of a sarcophagus.   Definitely worthwhile reading for any spec fiction writer or poet fascinated by the continuing story of ancient Egypt.   

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Or was that the other way around?  At any rate, today's offering from [ profile] ancienthistory is too marvelously morbid to ignore.  If you follow through a couple of links, you'll learn more about Mayan human sacrifice than you may have really wanted to -- & view some great Mesoamerican artwork, as well.

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