Introducing A Seriously Pajiban Book Club
Steven Lloyd Wilson: Over the summer, Joanna and I tried to write a review of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but ended up in a back and forth email conversation about the story rather than ever converging on any cohesive review of the text. Which was disappointing, both because the conversation was fantastic, and because if we don’t deliver articles, Dustin’s children don’t eat, and they get bloody mean when they’re hungry.
An idea emerged though from the wreckage of this never-finished article, that when it comes to books, the conversation about them can be more rewarding than a static review written by one or more of us. And so we lit upon this new feature, in which we conversate instead of bloviate. We’ll let you know in advance what we’re going to be reading and discussing, so that you can read said book and join in conversation in the comments. Like a Socratic dialogue sort of thing. Jo?
Joanna Robinson: So Steven and I, ever eager to share the things we know and love with you all, hope you’ll join us in two weeks, on Friday, November 8th, for a discussion of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean At The End Of The Lane. We picked that book not just because it’s the one we tried (and failed) to write about earlier this summer and not just because Steven and I worship the gothic ground Gaiman walks on, but because it’s a quick read (only 181 pages), we know many of you have already read it and it’s right up your collective Pajiban alleys.
We really do want to create a discussion-friendly community with this project so please feel free to send us your suggestions for future book club selections as well topics or questions you’d like to see addressed. You can reach Joanna here or Steven here. You can get the book in any number of places either at the library, your local bookshop or, most conveniently of course, online. We ask that if you get the book on Amazon, you click here as a portion of the proceeds will then go to a cause near and dear the hearts of the literary Pajibans: The American Cancer Society.
Oh yes! And we’ve given our little club a name. Steven, do you want to give the kids a little historical background? You do the professorial thing so well.
SLW: Ahem. So back in the 1930s there was a little writer’s club that met at Oxford University named The Inklings. You may have heard of a couple of their members: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, in the days before they’d made their names. They’d meet occasionally, read their in-progress works aloud (including The Lord of the Rings), and discuss and criticize them at length either in Lewis’ rooms or a local pub. It was at one of these meetings, during a reading of a new chapter of Tolkien, that Hugo Dyson famously yelled out from the back: “oh fuck, not another elf!”
And so it’s in that spirit that we are shamelessly hijacking their name and hitching an adjective to the front in order to distinguish ourselves from everyone else who has tried to take what we are rightfully stealing. Thus, The Faintest Inklings.
JR: The tentacular name is also supposed to recall the original Pajiban deity who has, of late, fallen into disuse. But as any Gaiman fan knows, the Old Gods never die…they wait. So, my little Inkpots, please join us in this literary endeavor. We promise not to lead you astray.
SLW: Yeah, I am not making that promise.