May 22nd, 2010

andrew potter

Behind the Cover: Dan Thornberg

Dan Thornberg, a theology and missions major graduate of Bethany College of Missions in Minneapolis, has been the In-house artist of Bethany House Publishers, a leading Christian fiction publisher in the USA, for many years.

He has designed and drawn numerous covers and has taught courses in evangelism and several Bible books including the Book of Job at the college.


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His gifts were discovered years ago by the missions-oriented community, Bethany Fellowship International, in Bloomington, MN who founded the Bethany House Publishers as their ministry arm to spread the gospel around the world.

andrew potter

Best Overall B/T Fiction (1° place): Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories by Sandra McDonald

Also Best Bisexual, Transgender & Lesbian Fantasy (1° place)

First of all Diana Comet and her friends are indeed of the same persuasion of Walt Whitman, but it doesn’t matter really much in the feeling of the novel, if not maybe, since they have a different perspective on life, probably they fight more than other for happiness. They are all love stories, but of all shades of love: partner to partner, parents to son (even if not genetically bonded), friend to friend, and so on.

It’s an alternative universe, Massosoit, a fantasy version of a beginning of the XX century Massachusetts (more or less 1938). Past and future are mixed, antique attractions like the New Liberty wooden pier meld with the imaginary of hot and macho firemen. Pirates and cowboys are on the good side, like in your children story. Indeed this collection of short stories, but all linked together like in a chain, have the feeling of those stories you can read just before sleeping, one per night, like a lullaby to sweet dreams.

There are two continuous stories that I followed with interest: that of course of Diana Comet and her lover, and future husband, James; it’s a nice love story, but indeed poor James is more or less an ornament on pretty Diana; Diana is strong and independent, but nevertheless she loves James with all her own. I can really see a statuesque Diana, at maybe 60 or 70, dragging her husband James to a social party, retelling her past adventures, while James stands by her, silent and strong, with a loving smile on his face.

Then there is Cubby, a little orphan who finds shelter in the body of Graybeard, a wooden ornament of an amusement park on a pier. Graybeard lusts for adventure and Cubby is his means to it; he sends Cubby towards the big unknown, saving regretting losing the only friend he had. But an adult Cubby doesn’t forget his past friend, and he will come back searching for him. That of Graybeard is a sad story, but there is an open to happiness also for him.

Among them, the story of former officer and now hired cowboy Landan, fireman Steven and his fairy mascot Bob, Lieutenant Teague and her lover Lyss… some of them have an happily ever after, most of them are left to the feel of the reader, all of them are very different way to live and love.

At the end of each story, the author leaves to the reader little bit of trivia, some of them are true, some other are fantasy, some are totally unnecessary, and right for that even more interesting and funny. The author’s notes are a whole story themselves, and they made me want to leave the book and open the encyclopaedia, to read more about them, something I always did when I was very young and thirsty of knowledge. When it happens again now, it’s the symptom that the book I’m reading is switching on something in my brain.

Amazon: Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Niki Smith