A charming blog post, Walk Like an Egyptian, talks about the connection between novelist and travel writer Amelia B. Edwards and the development of modern Egyptology.
After Edwards visited Egypt in 1873 and wrote A Thousand Miles up the Nile, she founded the Egypt Exploration Fund, which supported the efforts of Flinders Petrie, the founder of modern, scientific Egyptology. (Howard Carter, who discovered King Tuthankamen’s tomb, was a student of Petrie’s.)
The blog points out that women novelists and Egyptology go arm-in-arm. For instance, Agatha Christie (Death Comes as the End, Death on the Nile) and Elizabeth Peters (the Amelia Peabody novels) both spent time excavating along the banks of the Nile. In fact, it’s clear that Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody is based on Amelia B. Edwards, and the action in the first Amelia Peabody book, Crocodile on the Sandbank is based on Edwards’ voyage as told in A Thousand Miles up the Nile.
A Thousand Miles up the Nile is still available in various editions. My very own Norton Creek Press edition is, in my opinion, the best available, because it’s an exact reproduction of the lavishly illustrated second edition, with the whole story in one volume, will no illustrations omitted. (Some editions are only the first volume of a two-volume edition, and most omit the illustrations.)
A Thousand Miles up the Nile is a leisurely and well-written narrative of her time in Egypt, detailing both the ancient monuments and the contemporary people she encountered. As with all Victorian travel writing, it’s a product of a vanished age. But in this case it’s a product of a vanished age talking about another, much older vanished age. The dual perspective casts intriguing shadows!
In the years after I wrote Through Dungeons Deep: A Fantasy Gamers’ Handbook, one thing that’s surprised me is how well the old-school role-playing games have held up, and how few important changes have been made in the newer editions. One thing that surprises me is that tabletop role-playing games are still done almost entirely by hand, with little in the way of apps to assist with the mechanics, dice, and table lookups. It’s still 1980 that way. But that’s okay. 1980 is a great vintage for role-playing games.
In the New Yorker article, it mentions that some people are using role-playing games therapeutically, especially with kids, building a variety of skills more or less incidentally to the fascinating play. I’ve actually done a little of this, hosting several sessions at Corvallis’ Social Communications Clinic, with a group of middle-school kids. It was exactly as much fun as a barrel of monkeys!
Though dating from the early Eighties, Through Dungeons Deep is back in print, through the miracle of, “it’s my company and I can publish what I want.” But it still gets excellent reviews. So check out Dungeons & Dragons, Through Dungeons Deep, or both!
People still love Ruth Stout’s no-work, no-dig, permanent mulch gardening methods, as described in her book Gardening Without Work. Here are some recent blogs posts from people who use Ruth’s methods in their own gardens: