Sunday, September 22, 2019

Favorite quotes from AN ECHO IN THE BONE

Today is the 10th anniversary of the publication of Diana Gabaldon's novel, AN ECHO IN THE BONE, Book 7 of the OUTLANDER series, which was released in hardcover on September 22, 2009.

In honor of the occasion, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some of my favorite quotes from that book.

All of the quotes below are taken from AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon. Copyright © 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.

* * * SPOILER WARNING!! * * *

If you haven't read all of the OUTLANDER books, you will find spoilers below! Read at your own risk.

Chapter 5, "Morality for Time-Travelers"
“You can teach kids not to cross the street alone,” Bree had pointed out. “Surely you can teach them to stay the heck away from standing stones.”

He’d agreed, but with substantial mental reservations. Small kids, yes; you could brainwash them into not sticking forks in the electric outlets. But as they became teenagers, with all that inchoate yearning for self-discovery and things unknown? He recalled his own teenaged self much too vividly. Tell a teenaged boy not to stick forks in the outlet, and he’d be off rifling the silverware drawer the minute your back was turned. Girls might be different, but he doubted it.
Raising kids who happen to be time-travelers poses unique challenges, to say the least! I think Roger is right to be concerned about it.

Chapter 16, "Unarmed Conflict"
“Would you care to explain to me exactly which aspects of plant inspection require a penis?”
I love this line. Go Bree!

Chapter 18, "Pulling Teeth"
“For a long time,” [Fergus] said at last, “when I was small, I pretended to myself that I was the bastard of some great man. All orphans do this, I think,” he added dispassionately. “It makes life easier to bear, to pretend that it will not always be as it is, that someone will come and restore you to your rightful place in the world.”

He shrugged.

“Then I grew older, and knew this was not true. No one would come to rescue me. But then—” He turned his head and gave Jamie a smile of surpassing sweetness.

"Then I grew older still, and discovered that, after all, it was true. I am the son of a great man."

The hook touched Jamie’s hand, hard and capable.

“I wish for nothing more.”
One of the best Fergus moments in the entire series. Just wonderful!

Chapter 32, "A Flurry of Suspicion"
I’m not dead. Wish I were. Bath is vile. I am daily wrapped in canvas and carried off like a parcel to be sunk in boiling water that smells of rotten eggs, then hauled out and forced to drink it, but Minnie says she will divorce me by petition in the House of Lords on the grounds of insanity caused by immoral acts if I don’t submit. I doubt this, but here I am.
This is one of my favorite Hal quotes. He really has a way with words!

Chapter 62, "One Just Man"
“How dare you do that to me? You think I haven’t got anything better to do with my life than trot round after you, sticking pieces back on?” I was frankly shrieking at him by this time.

To my increased fury, he grinned at me, his expression made the more rakish by the half-closed eye.

“Ye’d have been a good fishwife, Sassenach,” he observed. “Ye’ve the tongue for it.”

“You shut up, you f*cking bloody—”

“They’ll hear you,” he said mildly, with a wave toward the party of Continental soldiers making their way down the slope toward us.

“I don’t care who hears me! If you weren’t already hurt, I’d—I’d—”

“Be careful, Sassenach,” he said, still grinning. “Ye dinna want to knock off any more pieces; ye’ll only have to stick them back on, aye?”

“Don’t bloody tempt me," I said through my teeth, with a glance at the sword I had dropped.
I love it when Jamie teases Claire. But it's that last line that makes me laugh out loud.

Chapter 68, "Despoiler"
“Ever heard of coup de foudre, Sassenach? It didna take me more than one good look at you.”
This is a terrific line. I hadn't heard the term before I read ECHO, but having looked up the definition, now I'm sure I won't ever forget it. Boy, is that ever appropriate!

Chapter 78, "Old Debts"
“If you find out who she’s sleeping with and don’t tell me, I will kill you.”
Claire to Jamie, just before he goes to see Laoghaire. A reminder (as if we needed one!) that Claire is not a woman to be messed with, ever.

Chapter 84, "The Right of It"
“Where d’ye think he is now?” Jenny said suddenly. “Ian, I mean.”

He glanced at the house, then at the new grave waiting, but of course that wasn’t Ian anymore. He was panicked for a moment, his earlier emptiness returning--but then it came to him, and, without surprise, he knew what it was Ian had said to him.

On your right, man.” On his right. Guarding his weak side.

“He’s just here,” he said to Jenny, nodding to the spot between them. “Where he belongs.”
I just LOVE this bit, with the deliberate "echo" of Ian's line in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, which has long been my favorite Ian quote of the whole series.

Chapter 94, "The Paths of Death"
Like forgiveness, it was not a thing once learned and then comfortably put aside but a matter of constant practice--to accept the notion of one’s own mortality, and yet live fully, was a paradox worthy of Socrates.
At the time ECHO was published, Diana Gabaldon suggested that a possible one-word theme of this book is "mortality". I don't think that theme is stated as succinctly, or as eloquently, anywhere else in the book.

Chapter 103, "The Hour of the Wolf"
“Thee is a wolf, too, and I know it. But thee is my wolf, and best thee know that.”
How wonderful for Ian that he's found a woman who loves and appreciates him for who he is! Rachel is a terrific character, and I thought this was just the right note on which to end the book.

What about the rest of you?  What are your favorite lines or scenes from AN ECHO IN THE BONE?

Congratulations to Diana Gabaldon on ECHO's 10th anniversary!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Vote for OUTLANDER in the People's Choice Awards!

OUTLANDER has been nominated as "The Bingeworhty Show of 2019" in the 2019 People's Choice Awards!

Voting ends October 18. Go here to vote.

You can see the full list of nominees here.

Monday, September 2, 2019

What are you doing to pass the time during #Droughtlander?

Waiting for Diana Gabaldon's next book, or the next season of the OUTLANDER TV series, is always hard. For many fans, this #Droughtlander can seem endless, and we all have different ways to cope with it.

I'm curious about what you've been doing to pass the time while we wait. Are you reading (or re-reading) the OUTLANDER books? Watching the DVDs? Constantly scanning social media for the slightest mention of Season 5 news? Or are you taking a break from OUTLANDER fandom for a while?

I've been relaxing and focusing on other things, but of course I'm still "herding the bumblebees" in Diana Gabaldon's section of (formerly the Compuserve Books and Writers Community).

What about the rest of you? Please take a moment to vote in the September poll, and feel free to leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page, letting us know how you voted or sharing your favorite coping strategies for getting through #Droughtlander. Thanks!

The Gaelic expression shown above, "Fuirich agus chi thu", means "Wait and see", and it's one of Diana Gabaldon's favorite phrases.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

August poll results

Here are the results of the August poll, which asked the question, "What's your favorite way to enjoy OUTLANDER?"
  • 15.07% - Reading the books in hardcover.
  • 13.89% - Reading the e-books.
  • 12.84% - Reading the books in paperback.
  • 11.01% - Watching the OUTLANDER TV series.
  • 9.70% - It depends on the situation, or what mood I'm in.
  • 9.57% - Listening to the audiobooks.
  • 1.57% - Listening to the audiobook and following along in the text at the same time.
  • 21.63% - All of the above.
  • 4.72% - Other
There were 763 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!

Please take a moment to vote in the September poll, which asks, "What are you doing to pass the time during #Droughtlander?"

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Season 5 will premiere on Feb. 16!

It's official: Season 5 of the OUTLANDER TV series will premiere on STARZ on Sunday, February 16, 2020!

Season 5 will be 12 episodes long, so it will run from mid-February until early May.

Please note, this announcement is for the US only. I have no information about premiere dates in other countries.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Outlandish Observations is 11 years old!

Outlandish Observations turns 11 years old today!!

Wow. That's hard to believe, even for me. Eleven years?! But it's true.

I started this blog on August 28, 2008, with two goals in mind. The first was simply to learn about blogging. The second was to create a central repository for news and information for OUTLANDER fans, a place where people could go to find answers to commonly asked questions, links to other OUTLANDER-related sites, and the latest information on Diana Gabaldon's new and upcoming releases.

To say that this blog has succeeded far beyond my wildest imaginings is a severe understatement! In the beginning, I never expected anyone to visit my site except a few dozen of my friends from the Compuserve Books and Writers Community (now and the Ladies of Lallybroch fan-site.  I didn't talk about it on Compuserve for the first couple of years, because I was very reluctant to draw attention to it where Diana Gabaldon could see -- which seems silly in retrospect, but it's true.  Suffice it to say that I did get over that shyness, eventually. <g>

Special thanks to all of my followers on the Outlandish Observations Facebook page! Last year at this time I had 10,876 followers on Facebook. Today that number is 11,345, an increase of 4.31%. I'm delighted that so many new people have found my site over the past year. Welcome! I hope you take some time to look around and see what else is available here.

Outlandish Observations was one of the first successful OUTLANDER-related blogs. These days there are innumerable fan-sites, Facebook groups, and so on. The more the merrier, as far as I'm concerned! <g> I'm proud to be a part of such a thriving, creative, and enthusiastic worldwide community of fans, united in our passion for these books and characters and this amazing story Diana Gabaldon has created, that is now being brought to life on TV.

Speaking of which...I'm delighted to see so many new people discovering OUTLANDER as a result of the TV series!  Thanks to all of you who've enjoyed my episode recaps for Seasons 1-4. I plan to continue posting them for Season 5 when the time comes.

And of course I can't wait for GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Book 9 of the OUTLANDER series. We don't yet have a publication date, or cover art, or pre-order links, but as soon as I hear anything definite, I will post it here.

Many, many thanks to all of you who've visited Outlandish Observations over the past eleven years. It's been an amazing journey, and I'm so glad you've come along for the ride.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Diana Gabaldon talks about the shape of BEES

As some of you may know, Diana Gabaldon says all of her books have a "shape" to them.
All my books have an internal geometric shape that emerges in the course of the work, and once I’ve seen it, the writing goes much faster. I may have no idea exactly what happens, what’s said, etc.--but I do know approximately what the missing pieces look like (e.g., I need a scene here that involves these three people, and it has a sense of rising tension and a conclusion that will lead into that scene over there …).

These internal shapes are normally invisible to the reader--who isn’t looking for them in the first place--but if pointed out, the reader can certainly see them.

(From THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION Volume 1 (Revised and Expanded), Copyright© 2015 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
If you have access to the OC Volume 1 (Revised and Expanded Edition) or the OUTLANDER 20th Anniversary Edition, you can read the full explanation in an essay called "The Shape of Things". If not, you can read a version of it that Diana posted on her blog in 2008.

Naturally, as Book 9, GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, gets closer and closer to completion, many fans are curious about what the shape of BEES will turn out to be. For some time now, Diana has described it as a honeycomb, a six-sided structure, because there will be six major storylines.

Well, today she said something completely new and unexpected on Twitter, when someone asked about the shape of BEES.

A snake?? My first reaction on reading that was, "What an intriguing image!"  And it is. But then someone asked about it on (formerly the Compuserve Books and Writers Community), the online forum where Diana hangs out.

Diana made the following comment:
"Honeycomb" refers to the six main characters (or pairs) whose stories we're following through the book; the internal, cellular structure, if you will.   "Snake" is the overall shape of the book. It glides, it coils, it slithers, it climbs (and then drops out of a tree on you), it turns back on itself at the same time it goes forward, it has occasional bulges where it's swallowed something large...and it has fangs.
I love this description on so many levels, but that "it has fangs" strikes me as a warning to all of us, in much the same way that the painfully sharp spikes on the caltrop on ECHO's cover (representing its shape) were a warning, of sorts, to her readers.  Snakes are dangerous and unpredictable and sometimes deadly, and I think we'd all do well to keep that in mind. <g>

This description of the shape of BEES is making me really excited about this book! It sounds like it's going to be a very entertaining and suspenseful roller-coaster ride, with plenty of twists and turns -- but watch out for the snakes!

If you'd like to join in the discussion on TheLitForum, you can find it here. You have to sign up to read or post on the forum, but it's free.