Tag Archives: West Oversea

A day in the bunker

Day One of the Festival of Nations is done. This was the easy day – 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tomorrow and Saturday will be roughly 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday wraps it up for good at 6:00 p.m.

Today and tomorrow morning were/are student days. The place rings with the laughter of children, and the ennui of teens.

When I say “rings,” I mean it. The River Centre is part of a complex (adjective) complex (noun) comprising the Excel Energy Center, the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, and probably a couple other institutions I never noticed. What the River Centre appears to be – mostly – is the basement of the whole thing.

I am not a sun worshiper. I wear a hat for shade when I go outside, and never wear shorts. In general, I prefer to spend my time indoors, away from the sunburn and insect bites.

But a day in the River Centre drives me to consider nudism.

(Not really.)

It’s not only the artificial light – I expect they replaced all the fluorescents with LEDs long ago – but the sound of the place. The reverberations of noise off the bunker walls. I’m too old for this.

However, I recently invested in a stock of Viking Legacy (the paper version is available from Saga Publishing, even though Amazon only carries the Kindle version. For some reason). I’m eager to recoup my expenses. Even at the expense of voluntary incarceration.

Sold 3 copies today, plus one of West Oversea. I consider that OK for student days at the Festival. I don’t expect to sell a lot of copies to kids.

Tomorrow should, I hope, bring serious sales. I seem to recall I’ve had good sales in the past (it’s been a few years).

One high school guy came by and told me he already owned the book. And he hadn’t bought it from me.

I didn’t ask him what he thought of it.

Trailer fever. Like trench foot, but more fun!

I’ve been getting a fair amount of link love for the West Oversea trailer recently. I hope I’m not forgetting somebody in this list… Probably am.

Sam Karnick at the American Culture linked it here.

“Floyd” at Threedonia linked here (link defunct).

Pastor Paul T. McCain of Concordia Publishing gave me this (link defunct).

And just today, Rachel Motte posted it at Evangelical Outpost (link defunct).

Thanks to all. If I’ve overlooked you, let me know and I’ll remedy the situation.

By the way, if you’d like to link it yourself, here’s another option at Blazing Trailers. It has the advantage of including an ordering link (also defunct).

In other news, commenter Nigel Ray posted a comment on my “Apologetic of Story” post, which merits a promotion to the top of the page.

I had a similar experience. I was raised to be a rational atheist, with the philosophy that truth had to be sought in the world. Evil was explained as mistakes that people made, that they could be educated out of. But the older I got, the more evil I saw, until I couldn’t accept that, and had to switch to nihilism and the idea that the world simply was meaningless and thus evil.

But reality occasionally showed me actual goodness, as well, and in a evil world there would be no goodness (hence the argument that everything is really done for selfish reasons, for example). And so I was troubled.

And then I saw an X-files episode where a character, trying to defend himself against the charge that he was selfish, said, “I have love in my heart!” And the reply given him was, “you have love like a thief has money.” And I realized that the love I saw in the world must come from outside it, and this led me to Christ, who reconciles the contradiction of an obviously evil world that yet contains love.

I’m always excited and gratified when authors show up themselves to comment on our reviews of their books. We just got a comment from Jeffrey Overstreet on my review of Auralia’s Colors. I fear he wasn’t entirely happy with what he found here, but it was nice to have a visit from him anyway.

Eat like a Viking, regurgitate, repeat

In case you’re wondering how I’m doing on the Virtual Book Tour I’ve been working on for my publisher, I think I can say it’s been going well. I’ve finished one blog post and several interviews for various literature-related blogs. And yes, I’ll let you know where to look for them, once they appear (assuming I find out myself).

I’m nearly finished with the first batch of interviews. I understand more are coming. Today the publicist asked me how I felt about writing a food-related post for a blog that talks to authors about their favorite recipes.

Now on the surface that doesn’t make much sense, me being a certified microwave-dependent bachelor (though I do make a mean scratch chocolate chip cookie when the fit is on me). But the idea of writing about Viking food, and relating it to West Oversea (buy it here) is intriguing. I’ve decided to do it, and I’ve made arrangements to borrow a recipe from a reenactor friend.

(And yes, in case you wondered, I will give her credit for it.)

I feel confident I can produce a post unlike any this particular blog has seen before. A hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners exposé of genuine Viking cuisine, featuring such delights as rotten shark (a delicacy in Iceland which reportedly made that Chef Gordon Ramsey throw up), and sheep’s head (also popular in Iceland. The eyeballs, I’m told, are especially relished). Many is the joke that’s been made about lutefisk over the years, but the Norwegians’ beloved lutefisk is just a pale, ghostly remnant of the true Nightmare On Elm Street mealtime horrors of the Scandinavian past.

Because we’re talking about a marginal economy, where taste places a far distant second to survival.

People sometimes ask me whether I wish I had been born in the Viking Age.

My answer is no, for three reasons.

One, I was a sickly child who would in all probability have been exposed on a hillside for the wolves at birth.

Two, the plumbing was awful.

Three, the food was inedible to the modern palate.

I’ve written a time travel book (still unpublished at this date) in which a father and daughter get the opportunity to go back to Viking Age Norway and stay there. She points out that if they did, they’d never get to eat chocolate again.

I call that an excellent point.

West Oversea, by Lars Walker

I’m hesitating a bit on how to review Lars’ latest adventure. You’ve seen several other reviews both light and heavy on details, so a straight-forward review like the last one I wrote isn’t appropriate. It would not advance the storyline, as it were. I’m also tempted to write something very silly such as a long-winded ramble about my daily life, barely touching on the book itself, or a review promising full spoilers and offering none. I don’t care to write either of those.

West Oversea by Lars Walker If you are not already convinced by reading it yourself, Lars has written a darn good story in “Westward Ho” (see, I can barely stop myself). It begins strong; the conflict which prompts Erling Skjalgsson to sail west comes upfront. New problems emerge along the way, both small and large, and just when you start to wonder if the heroes will ever return home, the battle flames hot again. But this is what you already know. Let me write about other things, making this a review supplemental (though you already got some of that in the Q&A we posted before).

West Oversea is written within a beautifully rich framework. It is like an actor who does not break his character, even when everyone else goes off-script. Several decisions the characters make are not fully explained to the modern reader, making the story more believable and less of a teaching tool. So many Christian works of fiction seem to want to teach more than tell stories, but if they were to follow Shakespeare’s example, much as West Oversea does, their stories would be better and their readers may have more to talk about. I’m thinking of how Hamlet dies at the end of his play, not because it’s more dramatic for him to bite it along with the others, but for the sake of justice. He had murdered Polonius, therefore his life was justly forfeit—a life for a life unjustly taken, the essence of capital punishment. Does Shakespeare ever spell that out to us? No. Continue reading West Oversea, by Lars Walker