Thursday, July 24, 2014

OUTLANDER World Premiere at SDCC!

To those of you who are going to San Diego to attend Friday's OUTLANDER world premiere at SDCC: have a wonderful time, and the rest of us will be with you in spirit! <g>

In the meantime, here's a new photo that Diana Gabaldon posted on her Facebook page.

I love this! Sam Heughan really IS JAMMF! <g>
A Highlander in full regalia is an impressive sight--any Highlander, no matter how old, ill-favored, or crabbed in appearance. A tall, straight-bodied, and by no means ill-favored young Highlander at close range is breath-taking.

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 14, "A Marriage Takes Place". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

ABC's of the OUTLANDER TV Series

Some of you may recall my ABC's of Jamie Fraser and ABC's of Claire Fraser posts from several years ago.  I thought it would be fun to do a similar post for the OUTLANDER TV series.  Hope you enjoy it!

A for the Anticipation among OUTLANDER fans all over the world, and the immensely talented Actors who are bringing the TV series to life.

B for Breathtakingly Beautiful views of the Scottish Highlands.  I'm sure the scenery will be magnificent! 

C for Caitriona Balfe (she's going to be wonderful as Claire!), and also for the Casting, which has been superb!

D for Diana Gabaldon, for creating this amazing story in the first place.  Diana's enthusiastic support of the project from the very beginning has helped immensely to reassure the fans that it's being done with the highest possible quality.

E for the hundreds of Extras involved in the filming.

F for Frank Randall, who will be getting a bigger role in the TV series than he had in the book.

G for Graham McTavish and Gary Lewis, aka the Brothers MacKenzie (I still think it's amazing that they cast a pair of actors who actually look like they could be brothers!), and for the Gaidhlig used on the show.

H for Heughan's Heughligans and all the other fan sites that have sprung up online in the last year or so, helping to spread the word and generate enthusiasm for the TV series among OUTLANDER fans around the world.

I for International.  The OUTLANDER fan community really is an international one.  Let's hope that the TV series is shown in as many different countries as possible!

J for James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, of course!

K for Kilts, and the rest of the 18th-century costumes used on the show.

L for Lallybroch.  More than just the place where Jamie grew up, Lallybroch is critical to understanding who Jamie is and what motivates him, and I can't wait to see it on screen!

M for the Music. I'm looking forward to hearing Bear McCreary's score for the TV series.

N for all the Newcomers, people who are just now discovering OUTLANDER for the first time as a result of the TV series.

O for OUTLANDER fans everywhere who have been waiting for this for so many years!

P for the Props -- everything from 18th-century dirks and broadswords to the candles in the wall sconces at Castle Leoch -- that will make us believe that we're really in the 18th century.

Q for the million Questions the fans have been asking since the moment the TV series was first announced.

R for Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and "show-runner" of the OUTLANDER TV series. As he said in June 2013, "Put simply, our goal is to realize Outlander, not reinvent it."

S for Sam Heughan. We really could not have asked for a better choice to play Jamie, and he seems to be taking his newfound fame with good humor so far.

T for Tobias Menzies (I really can't wait to see him in BOTH his roles on the show!), and for the immensely successful fan-based Twitter campaigns, like #WorldwideTVNeedsOUTLANDER.

U for Unexpected. I really never imagined that they'd make a full-length TV series out of OUTLANDER, let alone with such high quality.

V for all the Videos (trailers, interviews, "How to Speak Outlander" lessons, etc.) that we've been seeing in recent months.

W for the Writers, who had the very difficult job of adapting Diana Gabaldon's words for the medium of TV while keeping most of the Good Stuff intact.

X for eXtremely eXcited fans, and the production team's eXtraordinary attention to detail, which is eXceeding our eXpectations. <g>

Y for the many Years that we hope this TV series will continue to run. <crossing fingers>

Z for Zero. The probability that this show will not be a success!

For more information about the OUTLANDER TV series, see my FAQ page here.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #9

Here are this week's Friday Fun Facts about Diana Gabaldon's books. This is a collection of some of my favorite items from previous FFF posts. I hope you enjoy them!

1) This photo, from Wikipedia, shows what moveable type slugs for an 18th-century printing press looked like. Click on the photo for a bigger view.  The object in the foreground, where the letters are formed into words, is called a composing stick.
"I ha’ fought wi’ sword and dirk many times, but to every warrior comes the day when his strength will fail him.” He shook his head and stretched out a hand toward his coat, which lay on the floor.

“I took these, that day wi’ Tom Gage, to remind me of it,” he said.

He took my hand and put into it the things he had taken from his pocket. They were cool, and hard to the touch, small heavy oblongs of lead. I didn’t need to feel the incised ends to know what the letters on the type slugs were.

“Q.E.D.,” I said.

“The English took my sword and dirk away,” he said softly. His finger touched the slugs that lay in my palm. “But Tom Gage put a weapon into my hands again, and I think I shall not lay it down.”

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 27, "Up in Flames". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)   

The terms "upper case" and "lower case" that we use today come from the wooden cases used to hold the lead type. I took this photo in the printshop at Colonial Williamsburg in October 2013.  If you look closely at the photo, you can see a diagram showing where each letter belongs in the case. (For more about my trip to Williamsburg and Yorktown, look here.)

Here are some tips for setting type by hand.

2) Claire was surprised to learn in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER that urinoscopy was still practiced at L'Hopital des Anges:
I bent over a pallet at the edge of the floor. A very thin woman lay listlessly under a single blanket, her eyes drifting dully over us without interest. It wasn’t the woman who had attracted my attention, so much as the oddly shaped glass vessel standing on the floor alongside her pallet.

The vessel was brimming with a yellow fluid--urine, undoubtedly. I was mildly surprised; without chemical tests, or even litmus paper, what conceivable use could a urine sample be? Thinking over the various things one tested urine for, though, I had an idea.

I picked up the vessel carefully, ignoring Sister Angelique’s exclamation of alarmed protest. I sniffed carefully. Sure enough; half-obscured by sour ammoniac fumes, the fluid smelled sickly sweet--rather like soured honey. I hesitated, but there was only one way to make sure. With a moue of distaste, I gingerly dipped the tip of one finger into the liquid and touched it delicately to my tongue.
(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 12, "L'Hopital des Anges". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The painting above, by 17th-century Dutch artist Evert Oudendijck, shows a doctor examining a flask of urine.  This was a special type of flask known as a matula, used for urinoscopy.  The wicker basket at his feet was used to carry the flask.

Here is an example of a urinoscopist's color wheel, used to diagnose illness based on the color, odor, and taste of the patient's urine. (This one is from the early 16th century.  Click on the picture for a bigger view.)  For more information about the history of urinoscopy, look here.  There's a collection of historical paintings on the subject here.

3) Here's an example of a pie safe from Colonial North Carolina.  Click on the photo for a bigger view.  I like to think it might have been similar to the one Jamie and Claire had in their house on Fraser's Ridge.
"No!” I said, my voice sounding rather louder than I intended. “I’m not...damaged.”

He said something in Gaelic under his breath, short and explosive, and shoved himself away from the table. His stool fell over with a loud crash, and he kicked it. Then he kicked it again, and again, and stamped on it with such violence that bits of wood flew across the kitchen and struck the pie safe with little pinging sounds.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon,  chapter 29, "Perfectly Fine". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.) 
According to this site, the purpose of a pie safe is to keep mice and flies away from baked goods, while still providing enough ventilation (through the tiny holes in the pierced-tin panels) so that the food doesn't spoil.

The photo above shows a pie safe from the 1820s, made of walnut.

The panels on these pie safes were often beautifully decorated, as you can see from this example.

4) The sculptures shown above are the "Four Humors of Man", from the gardens of Versailles.  (Top to bottom: Le Sanguin, by Noël Jouvenet (1675-1680); Le Mélancolique, by Michel de Perdrix (1680); Le Cholérique, by Jacques Houzeau (1675-1680); and Le Flegmatique, by Matthieu Lespagnandelle (1675-1679).  Photo credit: Nikolai Buryakov.)  Click on the photos to enlarge them.
I paused beside a statue of a half-draped man with grapes in his hair and a flute at his lips. A large, silky goat nibbled hungrily at more grapes that were cascading from the marble folds of the draperies.

“Who’s this?” I asked, “Pan?”

Jamie shook his head, smiling. He was dressed in his old kilt and a worn, if comfortable coat, but he looked much better to me than did the luxuriously clad courtiers who passed us in chattering groups.

"No, I think there is a statue of Pan about, but it isna that one. That’s one of the Four Humors of Man.”

“Well, he looks fairly humorous,” I said, glancing up at the goat’s smiling friend.

Jamie laughed.

“And you a physician, Sassenach! Not that sort of humor. Do ye not know the four humors that make up the human body? That one’s Blood”--he motioned at the flute-player, then pointed down the path--“and there’s Melancholy.” This was a tall man in a sort of toga, holding an open book.

Jamie pointed across the path. “And over there is Choler”--a nude and muscular young man, who certainly was scowling ferociously, without regard to the marble lion that was about to bite him smartly in the leg--“and that’s Phlegm.”

“Is it, by Jove?” Phlegm, a bearded gent with a folded hat, had both arms crossed on his chest, and a tortoise at his feet.

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 9, "The Splendors of Versailles". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

5) Here's a video of the children's counting song, "The Ants Go Marching".
He had a song in his head--again. They sneaked in when he wasn’t looking, melodies singing in his inner ear like sirens from the rocks, ready to dash him in pieces.

Not this one, though. He smiled to himself, as he nudged the bar of the astrolabe and sighted on a tree on the opposite bank. It was a children’s song, one of the counting songs Bree sang to Jemmy. One of those terrible songs that got into one’s head and wouldn’t get out again. As he took his sightings and made the notations in his book, he chanted under his breath, ignoring the cracked distortion of the sounds.

“The...ants one.”

Five thousand acres. What in hell was he to do with it? What in hell was he to do, period?

“ ggetout...atha RAIN...bum, bum, bum..."

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 82, "A Darkening Sky". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Many of you will remember this little song (I certainly did!), but I thought those of you who live outside the US might not be familiar with it.

I hope you enjoyed this 9th installment of the Best of the Friday Fun Facts! Here are the previous collections:

Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #1
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #2
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #3
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #4
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #5
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #6
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #7
Best of the Friday Fun Facts: Collection #8

Look here to see all of my Friday Fun Facts blog posts.

Many thanks to Diana Gabaldon for mentioning Outlandish Observations, and my Friday Fun Facts, in the Acknowledgements to WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD!! I'm thrilled that she enjoys the FFF, too!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Diana's comments about the split season

Diana Gabaldon made some interesting comments on Compuserve yesterday about the decision by STARZ to split the first season of the OUTLANDER TV series in half, with a hiatus of at least three months between episodes 8 and 9.

What Diana said makes a lot of sense to me, and I would encourage all of you to read the whole post.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Kilt Drops 08-09-14!

August 9th in the US.
August 14th in Australia.
August 24th in Canada.

I can't wait!!

For more about the OUTLANDER TV series, see my FAQ page here.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

More news about the OUTLANDER TV series

STARZ made a couple of major announcements about the OUTLANDER TV series yesterday:

1) If you live in the US, you will be able to see the first episode via STARZ On Demand, the STARZ Play app, and various online sites, starting August 2, 2014, a full week before the official STARZ premiere date of August 9, 2014.

From the official STARZ press release:
Approximately 82 million multichannel video households will have access to the premiere episode via additional linear, on-demand and/or online sampling opportunities on select cable, satellite and telco affiliates in the United States as well as online through select websites including, the Starz “Outlander” Twitter page, the Starz YouTube page, Starz “Outlander” Facebook Page and the free STARZ PLAY app for all users in the United States.
I have no further details at this time.

2) According to that same press release, the first season of OUTLANDER will be split in half, with the first eight episodes airing between August 9 and September 27, and the remaining eight episodes to be shown "in early 2015".  (No, I don't know anything more specific than that!  But "early 2015" means there will be a delay of at least three months, possibly longer, between episodes 8 and 9.)

Speaking as a viewer and a fan, I'm not happy about this decision. But I'm sure it makes sense from a business/marketing point of view.  Not only will this delay give them more time to finish the production of those final episodes (ensuring better quality), but it might also encourage some of the viewers who are just encountering OUTLANDER for the first time on TV to read the books during the hiatus and find out what happens next.

Please note, I have absolutely no idea whether this hiatus will also apply to the broadcast of the TV series in Canada or Australia.  As far as I know, this announcement is for STARZ in the US only.

Finally, here's one of the new photos released by STARZ yesterday. I like this one very much!

For more information about the OUTLANDER TV series, see my FAQ page here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Another new video!

Check out this new trailer about the OUTLANDER TV series!

This video contains some new footage we haven't seen before (all of which is terrific!), plus commentary from Diana Gabaldon and Ron Moore.

I thought it was wonderful, and I think the rest of you will, too! Be sure to watch the whole thing. The ending made me laugh out loud.

[UPDATE 7/13/2014 8:40 am: If you are outside the US, try this link instead.  And please note, Diana Gabaldon says the man in the last scene is Angus Mhor, not Murtagh.]

This show is going to be AWESOME!!