The only two sites that appear to still be operational or at least that I could still find were Ms. Gabaldon's own site which of course has a new URL with her own name as the domain , and the Ladies of Lallybroch. However, their site could use a major design overhaul to bring it into the 21st century. On a side note, I very much enjoyed the author's story of meeting the Ladies of Lallybroch in Canada along with the 'Scottish' stripper they'd hired.
As a writer, I find the prospect of doing research rather daunting, and consequently, it's my least favorite part of the writing process. Therefore, I really enjoyed reading this part of the book, because Ms. Gabaldon gave me a new perspective on it by showing me that it doesn't have to be so scary. Next is an explanation of the author's research into herbal medicine. I found it particularly amusing how the UK publisher actually included a disclaimer in their edition of Outlander , which basically said, "Don't try this at home.
Lastly is a complete thread from the Compuserve Writer's Forum where the author was asking for feedback regarding her use of penicillin in an excerpt from The Fiery Cross. IMO, it was very much indicative of a typical online discussion i. Gabaldon came up with the titles for her books. The second part of this section is the Gabaldon Theory of Time Travel, which is utterly fascinating to the geek in me.
I'm sure I've read parts of her theory before, but this presentation was very detailed.
The Outlandish Companion (Revised and Updated)
She has obviously put a lot of thought into how this time travel thing would work if, indeed, it were real. Consequently, I was a little confused by it, as it seems to just be a collection of random excerpts from the books, along with a couple of anecdotes and some illustrations. I guess the purpose was to highlight various objects of importance from the stories, and perhaps to set the scene. Many of these I'd seen before, but there were some new ones that I found intriguing, especially those relating to the writing craft and character motivations.
It's always interesting to hear straight from their creator what certain characters are thinking or feeling at a given moment in the story, because it can really help the reader to better understand them. In it, Ms. Gabaldon shares her reasoning behind the inclusion of various elements in the story, which some readers have found offensive.
This includes sex, language, homosexuality not surprisingly, this section was the most extensive , abortion, wife-beating, and a couple of other minor issues. I thought all of her responses were extremely articulate and well-thought-out, as well as presenting a well-reasoned defense for the inclusion of such potentially controversial material.
I couldn't have agreed with her more on all points, and it was nice to know that I've always been on the same page with her regarding these things. The only tiny thing she didn't address in the wife-beating part was Jamie's off-handed admission that he kind of enjoyed it. The actual beating never bothered me much, as I took it in the historical context in which it was intended, but his words after did, as it seemed a slightly sadistic thing to say. However, it was such a small part of the story, it never detracted from my overall enjoyment of Outlander , and I'm also willing to admit that maybe I took it the wrong way.
Perhaps if I re-read that scene again with the enlightenment of Ms. Gabaldon's other remarks, it will provide more clarification. For readers who do enjoy this, it includes an excerpt from The Fiery Cross and "Surgeon's Steel," which I read elsewhere in the book was originally published as a short story in an anthology but is included in its entirety in A Breath of Snow and Ashes which at the time this book was written was titled King, Farewell.
I did, however, read The Cannibal's Art , which was a wonderful sneak-peak into the busy every-day life of a best-selling author. I'm not even a best-seller, and this sounded a lot like most of my days. That made me feel so much better about not getting much writing done some days. Then again, we writers are always writing even if it's just in our minds. It's a pretty comprehensive list of the books Ms. Gabaldon used for research. This would be very helpful to any writer who might be considering writing a novel set in approximately the same time and place as the Outlander books.
It would also be useful for culture and history buffs or those who simply want to learn more about the settings, cultures, medical practices, etc. The first, Errata, details all the errors which readers have brought to her attention. Some of them are mere typos, others are actual errors, and still others are simply perceived errors that aren't actually errors at all, accompanied by an explanation of why they aren't.
I was quite impressed that it was a relatively short list for four monster tomes. It just goes to show what a skillful writer Diana Gabaldon really is.
Next, is a list of Gaelic resources for readers who might be interested in learning to speak Gaelic. Then there are the full texts of various poems and quotations that are used in the books, followed by A Brief Primer on Genealogical Research that includes a number of resources for readers who may have been inspired by the books to look into their own family history. After that is A Brief Discography of Celtic Music for anyone who would like to add relevant background music to their reading material, and a list of foreign editions of the books, along with descriptions of their covers.
Under the Cover
- Protein Interaction Networks: Computational Analysis.
- Pearls of Discrete Mathematics (Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications).
- Introduction to Probability and Stochastic Processes with Applications.
- Control and Automation in Anaesthesia.
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