Meet the Editor: Randolph M. Petilos, Assistant Editor

October 20th, 2017

Assistant Editor

Subjects: Medieval studies; poetry in translation
Series: The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe, Phoenix Poets

If I’m honest, I’d expect that most people1 would be appalled by my early reading history—but what the Hell.2 My formative years (read: misspent youth) were consumed by endless summer3 with sand between my toes most of the time. And when I couldn’t be swimming in the Pacific, I spent way too many solitary hours with graphic narratives (read: comic books).4 It’s so cliché, I know, but, in between foosball and bowling,5 I learned everything I needed to know about truth, justice, integrity, honor, and courage from sci-fi, fantasy, and sword and sorcery stories. So many hours with Tolkien in Hobbiton6 and Mordor7 in grade school, then on the farm8 and in 1984 (weirdly, the year I graduated from high school) with Orwell, also Huxley by the time senior year rolled around and I was suffering from a serious case of Rock Fever and just had to escape to brave new worlds9 far from The Islands.10 College introduced me to David Gerrold and Orson Scott Card,11 and eventually grad school brought me to Chicago and the likes of Steve Perry’s Matador12 series (which I like to revisit every few years or so), as well as David Brin’s Uplift Universe (which, sadly, exists in but two trilogies).13 I re-read Laurell Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Executioner,14 series every few years, as well as her Merry Gentry fairy-detective volumes,15 especially when new books appear in those series. (I believe I actually purchased the latest Anita Blake book at 57th St.) Lately, though, I’ve been enjoying Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles.16 A new volume (Scourged, I think) is scheduled for April next year. Maybe some kind soul at SemCoop or 57th St. will reserve a copy for me, and let me know when it comes in so I can scurry over and start devouring it. I’m anxious to find out what happened to Oberon and Orlaith’s17 puppies.

[1] My coworkers, esp., will be horrified.

[2] “…is other people.” From Jean-Paul Sartre, Huis clos (1944).

[3] Eighty degrees and sunny’s not all it’s cracked up to be, trust me—not eighteen continuous, monotonous years of it, anyway. (See also n10, below.)

[4] Exempli gratia, . [Wish fulfilled: I always wanted to write something where I needed to include an illustration in the notes.]

[5] I never really learned to defend very well. (I kept forgetting to tip up my one-man to prevent angle blasts at the goal, but by the end of middle school my pull-kick from the three-man was unstoppable.) I also never learned how to pick up a 7-10 split, at least not consistently.

[6] Has anyone actually been to the Shire in New Zealand? Planning my next vacation (sigh) . . . .

[7] Just FYI--not a real place. (No New Jersey jokes, please.)

[8] Seriously, we didn’t actually live on a farm, but, till the end of grade school, I could scent the cow, pig, and chicken farms near our house, depending on which way the wind was blowing.

[9] I still have my book report on this, believe it or not.

[10] Wai‘anae, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. NB: the unicameral consonant Polynesian glottal stop (‘okina) is distinct from an apostrophe (’), which curls toward the end of the sentence, with the dot at the top of the curl, rather than the bottom of the curl. Accept no ASCII approximations. (See also n3, above.)

[11] I thought the film version of Ender's Game was adequate.

[12] The Matadors (here, bodyguards, not bullfighters) exist in a dystopic universe where humans go to the stars and find no other intelligent life. So, what do we do if there’s no other species to kill? We kill each other, of course.

[13] Does anyone have pull with David Brin? I desperately want a sequel to the Uplift Universe. His notion of humans stumbling upon the billion-years-old practice of genetically raising pre-sentient creatures to fully recognized Galactic citizens capable of flying starships remains for me the best conceit in the genre. I love how fully realized his alien species are, their penchants and tendencies, and how each species fits in with the society of the Five Galaxies. I also love how he gives each of the species that humans have uplifted (chimpanzees, dolphins, and gorillas) unique characteristics and, thus, unique relationships, as species and as individuals, with humans.

[14] Interestingly, vampirism and lycanthropy in the world of Anita Blake, whether she’s hunting in Seattle, the Smokey Mountains, in Ireland, or at home in St. Louis, MO, becomes an analog for how we treat people with AIDS. As a federal marshal, Blake needs to uphold US law, but she is constantly challenged to see the human side of the infected people she’s tasked to capture or execute. The world depicted in these novels brings into specific relief just how intolerant and quick to blame certain more conservative factions in our own society can be, not just toward innocent people who may’ve contracted a blood disease, but also to other minority groups, and to non-traditional sexualities.

[15] Another thing I like about Hamilton’s novels is that they’re mixed genre stories, in the case of the Merry Gentry, aka, Princess Meredith NicEssus of the Fae, the books depict a gritty, contemporary Los Angeles, CA, rubbing up against the fantastic Sidhe (SHEE) mounds in Cahokia, IL. Because Meredith is of mixed bloodline, half Seelie and half Unseelie, and she chooses to live outside the world of the Fae due the constant threat on her life from rivals to the Fairy throne, this allows Hamilton to write stories where human law and Sidhe law come into fascinating conflict.

[16] Seriously clever and entertaining writer. The pantheons of all world religions mix and mingle with mayhem ensuing. Who knew a thousand-year-old Druid bent on saving the environment could get into so much trouble?

[17] Don’t be fooled by the spelling of Irish words. There are usually a couple of consonants, and at least one vowel, that are completely superfluous to the proper pronunciation of a given word, e.g., “Orlaith” sounds like OR-luh (or huh?), and “Saoirse” becomes SEER-shuh (seriously). Scáthmhaide—nope, not even going to hazard . . . . (See also n15, above.)

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