Book Meme: ‘Psichore’s Day Twenty-Eight

The Book Meme Challenge: Favorite Title

Three titles I quite like of books I have read, but refuse to elaborate upon, muahaha:

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue – John McWhorter
This Present Darkness – Frank Peretti
An Abundance of Katherines  – John Green

Titles of books which I’ve never read, but desire solely because of their titles:

Something Rich and Strange – Patricia McKillip
It’s far from the only Shakespeare phrase out there, but perhaps one of the most evocative.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
– Robert Heinlein
Given what I’ve read of Heinlein’s short stories, this is probably much less numinous and more scientifictiony than the title would suggest.  Then again, in a novel, the line might blur between them.

Paladin of Souls
– Lois McMaster Bujold
Thanks to the Westerns CCA, “Paladin” brings Have Gun – Will Travel to mind rather than the peers of Charlemagne’s court.  Either way, a fascinating character concept.

The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula LeGuin
I have no idea what this book might be about, but as a leftie I find myself intrigued.  Also I feel obliged to point out (no doubt due to my just having reread Till We Have Faces) that the darkness might have quite lovely hands and all that.

The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline – Isaac Asimov
You might wonder what this is doing here, as a) it may not look very interesting to you and 2) have I ever run across it in a shop and iii) what just happened, anyway?
Well.  First of all, I ran across the title in Asimov’s bibliography, which impresses me given not only its length, but its breadth.  Therefore I have determined that I really ought to read some part of his oeuvre posthaste.
Second, this title strikes me as a good title to put on the book that really opens up to reveal a space holding a key, or the book pulled out of the shelf to open the secret door in the shelving, or the book that, erm, acts as a Portkey or some other sort of artifact.
But third, there’s a story behind this story.  Thiotimoline is wholly fictitious, and the paper written on it is a spoof, citing fake articles in nonexistent journals.  This, you understand, is not standard practice when submitting one’s research to a journal for review by one’s peers.  I think Asimov was brushing up on his academic prose.  Anyway, the notable thing about thiotimoline, far more interesting than its failure to exist, is that two of its four chemical bonds lie in normal space and time while one projects into the future and another into the past.  The chief effect seems to be that thiotimoline begins dissolving before actually coming into contact with water, which has a number of interesting implications should there be a dearth of water near the compound.

The Wood Beyond the Worlds – William Morris
Now for the other extreme: a story which reminds me awfully of The Wood Between the Worlds in The Magician’s Nephew.  I have no idea what happens in it, but I quite want it. Besides the title, this is why:


3 thoughts on “Book Meme: ‘Psichore’s Day Twenty-Eight

  1. Lots of excellent titles there, though I haven’t read any of the books. I’m interested in LeGuin, but wary. Her Earthsea trilogy was fascinating, but also a bit alarming — she’s quite pagan in her outlook, as I remember. Maybe even aggressively so.

    However, that’s some beautiful woodworking for Morris’ story.

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