Tuesday, April 27, 2010

International book covers

I found out this week that Carmen has updated her gallery of international book covers of the OUTLANDER and Lord John books. Thanks very much to Carmen for going to the trouble of collecting all of these cover pictures in one place! I think they're very interesting to look at.

You can see the collection here:

OUTLANDER series book covers

Lord John book covers

Some of these are really beautiful, and some are just bizarre. (Why do so many of the Lord John covers feature a woman? Don't any of these cover artists actually read the books? Or at least have some idea of what the book is about? <rolling eyes>)

I like the new Finnish cover for AN ECHO IN THE BONE, which Carmen says she will be adding to her gallery soon. This is clearly Bree at Lallybroch, reading one of the letters from Jamie and Claire. Very appropriate!

I think the Italian covers are pretty good. Fascinating to see the Japanese covers (the one for THE FIERY CROSS is unmistakable, even if you don't read Japanese at all). And I like the matched set of Lord John covers from the Netherlands.

What about the rest of you? Have you seen a particular international book cover design that you really like? One that you don't like at all? Which ones from Carmen's collection are your favorites? If you know of other international book covers of Diana Gabaldon's books that are not included in Carmen's collection, please post a link here and I'll pass the information on to her.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Suggestions for the new Diana Gabaldon web site

Diana Gabaldon is in the process of redesigning her official web site, and this morning she posted the following question on Compuserve:
Since the new website is, after all, meant to appeal to _you_ guys <g>, I though maybe I'd ask for suggestions: both links to websites that you personally think are cool or striking, and also, if there's anything specific that you'd like to see (or see handled differently) on the new www.dianagabaldon.com site.
The thread on Compuserve is here, if you'd like to tell Diana what you think.

I know that not everyone is comfortable posting on Compuserve. If any of you have a suggestion or a comment that you'd like me to pass on to Diana on your behalf, please feel free to post it here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fun with Scottish accents

Here's some Scottish humor (or should I say "humour"?) to start off your weekend, courtesy of the lasses at My Outlander Purgatory. Thanks, Carol, for spotting this one! I think it's hilarious.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The beginning of Master Raymond's story

For those of you who are not excerpt-avoiders, here is something interesting that Diana Gabaldon posted on Compuserve yesterday: the beginning of the Master Raymond book!

Diana introduced it as follows:

Here's the beginning of Master Raymond's first book--I'm not _working_ on it, mind; it just decided to pop up yesterday while I _was_ working on something else. <g>

Please note: I have not actually peeked at this excerpt myself, except for the first sentence, which I'd seen some months ago. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to read this excerpt or not. If you want to comment on the specifics of this or any other excerpt from one of Diana's unpublished books or stories, you can post on Compuserve, or on the LOL Excerpt Board. Thanks.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Culloden quotes

Here are some quotes from the OUTLANDER books in honor of the anniversary of the battle of Culloden, which took place on April 16, 1746.

Major MacDonald, who fought on the English side at Culloden, sounds remarkably idealistic for a career soldier:
"And those gallant gentlemen who have flocked to our cause--and who will come to join us--bring with them both their own weapons and their courage. You, of all people, must appreciate the force of the Hieland charge!"

Jamie looked up at that, and regarded MacDonald for a long moment before replying.

"Aye, well. Ye were behind the cannon at Culloden, Donald. I was in front of them. With a sword in my hand."

(From A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 111 ("January Twenty-First"). Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I can't read this next quote, or even think of this, without an overwhelming sense of tragedy and impending doom.
Rations had been short when I was captured by the English a month gone; matters had plainly gone from bad to worse. The men we saw moved slowly, many of them staggering with exhaustion and starvation. But they moved stubbornly north, all the same, following their Prince's orders. Moving toward the place the Scots called Drumossie Moor. Toward Culloden.

(From Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 46 ("Timor Mortis Conturbat Me"). Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Any soldier today who treated prisoners of war the way the English did the Highlanders at Culloden would be guilty of war crimes. Horrible.
Here and there, a small flat crack sounded on the moor. Gunshots. The coups de grace, administered by those English officers with a sense of compassion, before a tartan-clad wretch should be stacked on the pyre with his luckier fellows. When Jamie looked up, Duncan MacDonald still sat by the window, but his eyes were closed.

Next to him, Ewan Cameron crossed himself. "May we find as much mercy," he whispered.

(From Voyager by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 1 ("The Corbies' Feast"). Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I've never been to Culloden myself, so I very much appreciate the descriptions in the books of what it looks like. (And if you haven't already seen it, take the time to read Diana's very moving account of her visit to Culloden in April 2008.)
"This is the place they call the Well of Death." Roger stopped by the small spring. Barely a foot square, it was a tiny pool of dark water, welling under a ridge of stone. "One of the Highland chieftains died here; his followers washed the blood from his face with the water from this spring. And over there are the graves of the clans."

The clan stones were large boulders of gray granite, rounded by weather and blotched with lichens. They sat on patches of smooth grass, widely scattered near the edge of the moor. Each one bore a single name, the carving so faded by weather as to be nearly illegible in some cases. MacGillivray. MacDonald. Fraser. Grant. Chisholm. MacKenzie.

(From Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 4 ("Culloden"). Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
As much as I would love to know what happened to Jamie on that fateful day, I think it's a blessing, in many ways, that he doesn't (yet?) remember.
"D'ye not recall the day, man?"

Jamie's face changed subtly, and I felt a small tremor of unease. The fact was that Jamie had almost no memory of the last day of the clans, of the slaughter that had left so many bleeding in the rain--him among them. I knew that small scenes from that day came back to him now and again in his sleep, fragments of nightmare--but whether it was from trauma, injury, or simple force of will, the Battle of Culloden was lost to him--or had been, until now. I didn't think he wanted it back.

(From The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 7 ("Shrapnel"). Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
And finally, here is the entry from the journal of Lord Melton (aka Lord John's brother, Hal) that proved that Jamie survived the battle.
I will confess that my spirit was lightened to see the man removed, still living, from the field, as I turned my own attention to the melancholy task of disposing of the bodies of his comrades. So much killing as I have seen these last two days oppresses me.

(From Voyager by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 7 ("A Faith in Documents"). Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Unusual words found in ECHO

I have always been fascinated by Diana Gabaldon's use of obscure or unusual words in her writing.  Here are a few of my favorites from AN ECHO IN THE BONE, in no particular order:

contumely - p. 281
stultiloquy - p. 323 (this one is my favorite new word from ECHO)
inanition (twice, first on p. 348, then on p. 617)
bibulous - p. 471
dubiety - p. 561
mephitis - p. 211
perfervid panegyric - p. 371  (and I just LOVE the combination of these two in a single phrase - sort of "two for the price of one" <g>)
abatis - p. 573
palimpsest - p. 386
cocking a snook - p. 523

What about the rest of you?  Is there a particular word or phrase that you encountered for the first time in ECHO?

For more examples of unusual words from Diana Gabaldon's books, look here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Facebook page!

Outlandish Observations now has a Facebook page!  Go here to see it.

I noticed that the other OUTLANDER fan sites that I follow all seem to have fan pages on FB, so I thought it was about time I set one up, too. <g>

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Updates (and a new story!)

Lots of "breaking news" today....<g>

1) It appears that the graphic novel, THE EXILE, may be released on September 21, 2010 (a week earlier than we thought). Diana said she would check with the publisher to be sure, so this is still subject to change, but Amazon is now listing September 21 as the release date.

2) Diana posted a bit today on Compuserve of a new story (as yet untitled) that she's working on:

[It's] for another George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois anthology called "DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS," and is supposed to involve a detective story with a fantasy element.

Note: If you haven't finished Part 6 of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, you may want to wait until you do, before you read this excerpt!

3) Diana says she is also planning to work on the "Lord John and the Plague of Zombies" story over the next few weeks.

I haven't yet begun that one--partly because I'm not sure where in his lifetime it falls--but I know a few things about it.

4) Diana posted a picture of the cover of the SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH anthology on Compuserve today. This is the anthology due out November 16, 2010, with the story about Roger's parents, "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows", in it. Very cool-looking cover!

My reaction to the new excerpt is below:









I was surprised and intrigued to see that this story is told from Joan's point of view. She has a very distinctive "voice", which I liked very much. (Despite my rather strong personal disagreement with that opening line! <cough>) Diana says she's "Really Opinionated, too" <g>, which strikes me as a good thing.

Very pleased to see Michael again, too. I wonder if we'll hear whether he believed Claire's story about the time-traveling?

I will post here as more details become available about this story, but it sounds like a very promising start!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Video of Diana reading from ECHO

I found this video on Diana Gabaldon's YouTube channel yesterday, and thought it was worth sharing.

Don't watch this unless you've read ECHO Chapter 12 ("Enough").

I've heard Diana do humorous readings before; when I attended her book-signing in Columbia, MD, in September, she read the "squidgy" scene from ECHO, which is very funny. But this is the first time I've heard her read a more emotionally intense scene, and I thought it was really well done. She captured Claire's emotions very well.

This video comes from Diana's recent German book-tour. Enjoy!

Friday, April 2, 2010

THE EXILE cover art

Here's something many of us have been waiting a long time to see: the cover art for Diana Gabaldon's upcoming OUTLANDER graphic novel, THE EXILE.

What do you think? I love the vibrant colors, the very dramatic action scene shown here -- and the fact that it's unmistakably a familiar scene from OUTLANDER. <g>

THE EXILE will be published September 28, 2010. Click on the picture to go to Amazon's pre-order page.

UPDATE 4/3/2010 7:25 am: If you want to tell Diana what you think, there's a thread on Compuserve here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

March poll results

March Poll Results

Here are the results of the March poll:

What aspect of the OUTLANDER series do you like best?

  • 47.0% - Jamie and Claire's relationship
  • 15.4% - Diana's wonderful writing, her use of imagery, etc.
  • 12.5% - The relationships between all of the major characters
  • 6.6% - The immense amount of detail, which makes the books stand up very well to re-reading
  • 2.4% - Learning about 18th century history, and about the way people lived back then (food, clothing, customs, etc.)
  • 2.4% - Sex scenes
  • 2.4% - Time-travel
  • 1.8% - Intricate plots
  • 1.8% - Watching the characters change over the course of many years
  • 1.8% - All Things Scottish (including men in kilts!)
  • 5.9% - Other (this category includes "all of the above" <g>)

I definitely agree with the plurality on this one! The time-travel/historical fiction angle was what made me pick up OUTLANDER in the bookstore in the first place, but Jamie and Claire's relationship is what got me hooked.

There were 168 votes in this month's poll. Thanks to all of you who responded!

New Poll for April

Several people complained that the March poll was too difficult, so here's an easier question: Which of Diana Gabaldon's books are you currently reading or listening to?

I'm approaching the end of a "re-listen" of DRAGONFLY IN AMBER this week (bracing myself to go through the farewell scenes all over again -- I always end up in a soggy heap by the end of it) and was just curious which of Diana Gabaldon's books the rest of you are currently reading.

If you're in between books at the moment, it's perfectly OK to respond with the last one that you read/listened to. Or the one you're about to start.

Pictures from Diana's German Tour

Diana has updated her blog with pictures and a long account of her various misadventures in Germany during her recent book-tour. Check it out! And you can see many more pictures from the tour on Barbara Schnell's web site. (Barbara is Diana's German translator, and an excellent photographer, as you'll see from these photos.)

Happy Holidays!

I hope those of you celebrating Passover and Easter this week have a wonderful holiday!