Character names in A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle

The plot of A Swiftly Tilting Planet requires the characters and the reader to discover the genealogy of the dictator Mad Dog Branzillo. His lineage is filled with people whose names are different spellings and arrangements of the same handful of names.

I have made a giant family tree chart to illustrate the relevant relationships.

DO NOT ASK me how long it took to do this. I have no idea. Waaaay too long. But please do let me know if you think I’ve got any of the lines in the wrong places. I have the source files and thus can update this thing if necessary.

I also made a PDF of the characters in A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

I listed the characters and described their relationships below, coding the most important good ancestors and helpers +green and the most important bad ancestors and antagonists -red.

Continue reading Character names in A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle

Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quartet: Various Awesome Covers!

2 Unknown + 2 by Rowena Morrill

I have not been able to identify the artist responsible for the Wrinkle in Time and Wind in the Door paperback covers that I remember from when I was a kid. The name of the artist is not anywhere on or in the paperbacks themselves, and the internet doesn’t seem to know!

A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, 1976 Dell paperbacks (ISBNs 0440998050, 044098761X, 0440901588, 0440952522)

Someday hopefully someone will recognize the artist’s work by the work itself, and publish a statement online somewhere. (Mysterious artist! Whoever you are! I am nostalgic for your art! Come forth!)

The covers for A Swiftly Tilting Planet and Many Waters are by Rowena Morrill. And here’s her original sketch of Charles Wallace on the unicorn, which was not a thing I at all expected to be floating around on the internet. (Thanks, internet! You’re awesome.)

See below for other cover art for L’Engle books in my collection.
Continue reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quartet: Various Awesome Covers!

We Love Tiong Bahru by Urban Sketchers Singapore

Want to see inside? There’s a link to a PDF sample on the publisher’s page for We Love Tiong Bahru.

Thus far, Urban Sketchers Singapore and Epigram Books have produced books of sketches of:

  1. Toa Payoh (November 2012)
  2. Tiong Bahru (February 2013)
  3. Bedok (April 2013)
  4. Queenstown (September 2013)
  5. Katong (April 2014)
  6. Little India (Sept 2014)
  7. Chinatown (May 2015)
  8. Geylang Serai (January 2016)
  9. Serangoon Gardens (January 2017)

The first two are sold out at the publisher.

When and Why I Read We Love Tiong Bahru

This is an attractive locally-produced book.

Genre: non-fiction (art)
Date started / date finished:  12-Jun-18 to 12-Jun-18
Length: 96 pages
ISBN: 9789810736255 (paperback)
Originally published in: 2013

Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle

I believe I read Many Waters once previously (it’s not in my records, which go back to 1999), but I don’t think I liked it then either.

Yes, that’s Noah’s ark on the front. Sandy and Dennys, the twin younger brothers of Meg Murray, the central character of A Wrinkle in Time, accidentally travel back in time to the days before the Biblical flood, a time when people were shorter, and angels, fallen angels, and mythical creatures roamed the scorching desert.

The twins both fall for the same local girl, but apart from mild feelings of envy, their coming-of-age story mostly seems to involve recovering from sunburn while waiting for God to send the inevitable flood, hoping that a way home will eventually present itself—which it does, as you know if you’ve read A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

When and Why I Read Many Waters

First, there was just A Wrinkle in Time. Then it had a companion book, A Wind in the Door. Later, there was a follow-up book, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, set a decade later, and the three were marketed as a trilogy. This fourth book actually happens between books two and three of what was marketed as a quartet. Lately a fifth book is being said to belong to the series, but I think of the series as 3+1 at the very most.

Genre: fiction (children’s fantasy)
Date started / date finished: 30-May-2018 / 03-Jun-2018
Length: 310
ISBN: 0440227704
Originally published in: 1986
Amazon link: Many Waters

Mobile Phone Protective Case

After I bought a Samsung S7 from a friend, I immediately bought a rubbery (thermoplastic polyurethane) case for it at the nearest mobile phone accessory kiosk. (Throw a rock in any direction in downtown Singapore and you’ll hit ten such kiosks.)

The text on the package is hilarious…

Continue reading Mobile Phone Protective Case

A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle

A Swiftly Tilting Planet, the third book in what is sometimes called L’Engle’s Time Quartet, is a bit like Cloud Atlas in how people and their actions are connected across large expanses of time.

Charles Wallace Murray, a precocious child who is saved by his older sister Meg in A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door, is a teenager in this book. Watched over telepathically by his sister, he rides the unicorn Gaudior to different eras and mentally inhabits a series of people. By influencing their decisions for good, and using an ancient Irish Christian prayer taught to him by his sister’s mother-in-law, he hopes to avert the nuclear apocalypse that is likely to be kicked off by an insane South American dictator whose Welsh ancestors migrated from the American town where the Murrays live.

I remember being confused by A Swiftly Tilting Planet when I was younger, but even as an adult I found the plot hard to follow. The bits I remembered best were about the unicorn (which is invariably shown on the cover).

See below for a chapter-by-chapter summary of the book as well as specific comments on what I liked and didn’t like about the book.

Continue reading A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle

In the first half of A Wind in the Door, the companion to the Newberry Medal–winner A Wrinkle in Time, Meg Murray hones her powers of discernment with moral support from a somewhat conceited conglomeration of dragons (which is invariably shown on the cover). It’s memorably gratifying when Meg recognizes the inner goodness in her little brother’s mediocre school principal, but when she does, there’s still, alas, a whole third of the book left!

The finale takes place in a sub-microscopic realm that’s hard to picture and introduces a new character who’s hard to care about, even though he’s somehow the key to winning the climactic battle between good and evil. Good luck ever turning this one into a movie, Disney.

When and Why I Read A Wind in the Door

When I recently read A Wrinkle in Time, some scenes seemed missing. I assume they are in the sequel.

Genre: Fiction (children’s fantasy)
Date started / date finished: 29-May-2018 / 29-May-2018
Length: 203
ISBN: 044098761X
Originally published in: 1973
Amazon link: A Wind in the Door

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (again)

A Wrinkle in Time is undoubtedly a strange children’s novel, but well worth reading, no less now than fifty years ago.

When and Why I Read A Wrinkle in Time

I just read this book recently, but then I read a whole lot of other things before I had the chance to read the books that follow it, so I’m just starting over.

Genre: Fiction (children’s fantasy)
Date started / date finished: 27-May-2018 / 29-May-2018
Length: 198
ISBN: 0440998050
Originally published in: 1962
Amazon link: A Wrinkle in Time

Deadpool 2 (2018)

This M18/R-rated movie carries a warning about “violence and coarse language”. You might think that’s standard boilerplate for any action movie, and maybe it is, but in this case, they’re really not kidding.

In case you missed the first Deadpool movie, Deadpool is a basically immortal, literally scarred super-anti-hero in a skin-tight red-and-black suit that, like Spider-Man’s, covers his whole head and eyes, and unlike Spider-Man’s, has two long swords attached to the back. Deadpool’s human name is Wade Wilson. The name “Deadpool” refers some kind of bet about who was going to die soonest, which turned out to be not Wade, obviously.

Deadpool spews a steady stream of pop-culture references, curses, and insults, often talking directly to the audience about how he’s in, like, the mother of all superhero movies. The Deadpool movies are thus not just violent, coarse fantasy/action movies, they’re parodies: each one is a sustained self-reference joke, complete with ironic use of 80s light-rock hits. (The 80s are so trendy these days!)

The second Deadpool movie, as Deadpool himself tells us, is not for kids, but is nevertheless “a family movie”. As becomes clear towards the end of the movie, he’s not talking about the genre of the movie, he’s talking about the theme of the movie. The movies in the Fast and Furious series were also “family movies” in this sense: the characters consider each other family because they derive their identity from their strong bonds with each other.

What group of people/mutants could Mr. Pool possibly belong to? Is he talking about starting a literal family with his girlfriend (who will never not look like Inara from Firefly to me)? Is he joining the largely but not entirely absent team of X-Men? Is he forming his own superpowered vigilante crew? How about all of the above? Yeah, kinda!

Here’s an article about the entirely irrelevant official plot summary. See below for my plot summary (with SPOILERS) in the form of a beat sheet in the style described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.

Continue reading Deadpool 2 (2018)