Pry as a “novel”

nov·el  /ˈnävəl/  noun

1. a fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.
2. new or unusual in an interesting way.
Poet Ezra Pound once wrote, “The artist is always beginning. Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, or a discovery is of little worth.” The very word “novel” implies innovation; in fact, the first printed novels were thus named for their specific cutting-edge contemporary style of writing. The novel itself (which was different from the other books available at the time of their invention, which included but were limited to *mostly* Bibles, ancient plays or works of poetry, or books of science or history) has gone through many iterations over the years, evolving from Gothic romance stories of the 19th century to modern series’ and now experimental novels.
This work Pry, though it is digital literature, can be considered [a] “novel” by some, in the way that it is taking the tradition of storytelling via literature and “making it new” (“novel” here meaning new, as well as a book) .

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Authenticity of Voice in People of Paper: A Close Reading

Salvador Plascencia’s debut novel The People of Paper raises questions regarding authorship and voice in a work. Blurring the lines between author and speaker, the work leaves readers questioning who is really getting to tell the story.

In a world where the victors of war (colonizers, or Saturn) dictate written history, The People of Paper offers a novel wherein the colonized (members of E.M.F.) have the opportunity to dictate their own point of view. This novel forces readers to question the authenticity of what they are reading; how much of the story has been fabricated, misrepresented, or mistold? This novel requires readers to glean their own understanding of truth by sifting through various sides of the same story. Continue reading

Digital Humanities: A Conversation with DHC

The student committee for Digital Humanities held an event addressing the idea of “What is Digital Humanities?: A Conversation” in Love Library last Thursday. The student branch is a network of DH scholars, researchers, teachers, and students at SDSU and in the region that seeks to study digital technologies, employ conceptual practices in research, and reflect upon the impact of the digital. Dr. Pam Lach, Dr. Adam Hammond and Dr. Nathan Rodriguez comprised a panel of experts on Digital Humanities here at SDSU and their presentations shed some light on the growing field of Digital Humanities. This was the first in a series of events the Digital Humanities Collaborative (DHC) plans to hold over the course of this school year.

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House of Leaves, V: Digital Annotation


pg. 41:

For me, Danielewski’s work exemplifies the idea of multi-vocality and demonstrates it for readers in a variety of ways. I am most intrigued with the idea that we are “all standing on the shoulders of giants”; in other words, the idea that we reference authors of the past by reworking their texts or by embedding ancient characters and plots into modern contexts.

Many of the ideas in the book can be considered as echos of past authors. Myths are retold, ancient languages are translated, and authors are constantly referenced and cross referenced throughout the manuscript and footnotes. There is blatant evidence of Danielewski’s sources and inspirations, and it is clear that he leans heavily on works of the past. Continue reading

The Star-Touched Queen

star-touched-queenRoshani Chokshi’s debut novel The Star-Touched Queen is an adventure, taking the reader through far-away otherworldly lands on a journey of self-reflection and self-discovery. Driven to enchanted bazaars and palaces of another time, racing on horseback across barren fields and wild jungles, the story engulfs the reader, allowing readers to become one with the character Mayavati as she bites into fairy fruits of sapphires and pearls and wears a crown of stars in her hair.

Told in horoscopes and embedded in myth, this story captivates and entrances the reader, lulling them with dreamlike images of golden honeycomb archives and gem-laden palace hallways, inviting readers into a world of fantasy, fairytale, lore and beauty. Spoken in riddles, the novel itself encourages deep thinking. Reminding us that “everything is a matter of interpretation” (112) the book promotes thoughtful decision making. Urging readers to practice “a different way of seeing” (143). But reader beware: The Star-Touched Queen bears virtue and valor, but also loses herself to impulsivity and falls victim to rumor. Like any other mortal, Maya must overcome her past in order to triumph in her future. Following her trials the reader learns from her mistakes, understanding as she does the importance of logic, reasoning, and fairness. Her lover Amar helps her in (re)discovering herself, gently encouraging her strengths and challenging her weaknesses, while simultaneously doing his best to protect her from her those who might try and ruin her.

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An Interview with Morgan Rice

The Wanderer was given the opportunity recently to interview Morgan Rice. In the past two volumes of our literary journal, we have reviewed both of Ms. Rice’s newest novels in the Kings and Sorcerers series. Books full of action and adventure, centered around a young heroine who is easy to root for, Ms. Rice took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions that we thought readers would like to know. If you haven’t read the reviews for her two novels as of yet, go read them here and here.

Here is the interview:

Q: Ms. Rice, you are a highly successful author, with 32 novels written. You recently just released the second book in the Kings and Sorcerers series, does it feel any less nerve wracking now, as a #1 bestselling author, than it did when you began? Are you just as nervous for fans to read your work?

A: No matter how many novels I write, or how well they may do, I always feel as if I am starting from scratch each time I embark on a new book. I always want a new book to be better than the previous one, to be as fresh and original as possible, and to give fans something special each time. Every time I embark, I am staring at a blank page, and it gets no easier. If anything, the pressure becomes greater, because you want to be as original as possible and you don’t want to disappoint. When writing a 17 book series, there is also the challenge of keeping all the details of the prior 16 books fresh in your mind. So yes, the pressure is always on. But in some ways, you want the pressure to be on. It keeps you intense and focused, and it makes you never take your readers for granted.

Q: You have four series out now, with two being epic fantasies, a vampire series, and a dystopian fiction trilogy. You clearly have a love for the fantastical, whether it’s in the real world setting, a world you create or even the shadows that some of us wish were real. What was your inspiration? Especially regarding your Kings and Sorcerers What drove you to create such vivid worlds for readers to get lost in?

A: I have been a lifelong fan of fantasy and spent countless childhood years devouring everything in the genre. When conceptualizing my series, I felt driven to create a series that was different from everything else in the genre, and that did not put such an intense burden on the reader. I wanted to captivate from page one and let the writing disappear—as opposed to calling attention to itself. The goal is to allow readers to get lost, and to create page turners. The other goal is to inspire and empower readers, especially women and especially young adults. Empower is the word I live by most when writing. It is a high mission. I’ve come to learn that sometimes, fantastical worlds and characters can be more empowering for readers than just about anything else.

Q: You have an amazing following on your social media feeds, does the encouragement and love you receive for your books ever make you feel nervous? As a writer myself, I get self concious when my writing is praised, how do you handle the praise? And what advice do you have for aspiring writers who will eventually get negative feedback alongside the positive?

A: On any given day there may be readers who say my writing is better than Tolkien and just as many readers who insist it’s the worst thing they’ve ever read. The praise is great and the criticism is painful, of course, but you have to learn to try to shut it all out. Both can distract you. For some reason, when you try to create something new in this world, there are often people who will arise from the woodwork and tell you that you can’t do that, for whatever reason, an army of people who will try to stop you or keep you down in any way they can. You can’t let them win. Because if they do win, then you are depriving the equally valid army of people who can draw inspiration from your work. Each day you have to make a choice of who to listen to, who to believe. Ideally, it’s best to listen to yourself, to follow your own inner guidance, block out the outside world and make your writing the best that you personally know it can be.

Q: The Wanderer has reviewed both the first novel in the Kings and Sorcerers series and now has released a review of the second novel of the series in this new volume. You seem to have titled them perfectly, with the prophecy “There would come a rise of the dragons, followed by a rise of the valiant”. Can you share any tidbits regarding where the war will lead in the following novels?

A: Thank you. I can’t give away too much right now, but you can look forward to the plot lines converging and the various characters’ stories intersecting and impacting each other; an epic battle as the various armies converge; an invasion by Marta; and a dragon war.

Q: Your range of characters in both Rise of the Dragons and Rise of the Valiant are beautiful. From Kyra, who is a fierce warrior in her own right, to Merk who we still wonder about as he makes his way to Ur. It seems as though Merk and Kyra will soon meet, but will Alec and Marco eventually make their way to Kyra? Also, as the book goes on, their strengths and weaknesses are revealed in their adventures. Do you  have a reason behind each of their specific weaknesses? Such as Merk’s self-loathing?

A: A big part of my novels is the internal (and external) journey of the characters, their rise and fall and rise again, their vulnerabilities, and their struggles to overcome those vulnerabilities. I strive to make them not only about people physically questing and reaching certain places, but, perhaps more importantly, about people changing as people.

We asked Ms. Rice if she could give us any sneak peeks into her next novel in the Kings and Sorcerers series and she declined, which is both a good and bad thing. Good because it gives the readers more time to stew over the second novel in the series and because it leaves them wanting more. But bad because it makes us readers sad since we would love some kind of juicy detail about the next novel.

Keep an eye out for her next novel and for us to make a review for it also. We thank Ms. Rice for her lovely interview, we truly enjoyed it.


An Interview with Margaret Larlham


Margaret Larlham is a director and playwright at San Diego State University. Her scripts are adapted from children’s literature have a strong focus on physicality and cultural diversity.

Larlham was born and educated in South Africa, and taught in the Speech and Drama Department at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa prior to moving to San Diego in 1986. Continue reading

The Adventure Continues in ‘Rise of the Valiant’

Rise of the ValiantFans of Morgan Rice, are you ready for another action packed adventure? If you are, then buckle your seat belts and hold on tight, because her newest novel in the Kings and Sorcerers series Rise of the Valiant is a wild ride. Filled with non-stop action, this sequel is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat from cover to cover, as you continue to follow Kyra and her friends through Escalon, fighting for their freedom. Continue reading