Quote of the day, June 6 2011 — a succinct description of what it’s like when you see the beginnings of a disaster of someone else’s making

‘Pritchard did not have to see the specialist’s expression to know it for one he had worn often enough, when it was about to drop in the pot and you could only hope the splash would miss you.’

Across the Stars, by David Drake, pg 287. Copyright 1984, ISBN 0-671-57821-9

While I haven’t read all of David Drake’s books, he has written some of the ones I consider to be my favorites & go back to re-read every couple years.

 Ironically, Across the Stars is not one of my favorite books, in large part because it’s based on The Odyssey and The Odyssey has never been one of my favorite books overall. But in both The Odyssey & Across the Stars, I do like reading the end where after a long journey the central character at last comes home and has to retake his home from usurpers who have tried to seize it in his absence — and in the process the central character has to win the confidence and trust of those he left behind and ascertain whether “home” is still “home” and still worth saving.

In Across the Stars, David Drake had an afterword titled “Where I Get My Ideas”, which has a few paragraphs also worth quoting (pg 307 & pg 309):

‘My undergraduate double major was history and Latin, and I continued to take Latin courses while I was in law school in a laughable attempt to stay sane. Reading Latin centers me. (Note “laughable” in the previous sentence.)

A story doesn’t depend on the language in which it’s told, and a story that’s been around for several thousand years is likely to be a very good story.

. . .

Not all of my plots come from classical (or even historical) sources, but most of them do. That’s not only because of my personal taste, but because I believe (with Shakespeare) that literature which survives the buffeting of time is worth a second or thirty-second look.’

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