Let's kick off a brand new tour with author Camille Griep's perfect idea of a fictional dinner party and her top 10 guests:
Table for 10: 10 fictional characters you would invite to a dinner party
I cannot wait for this party: Hours of enthralling conversation over food and wine. The seating chart will be very important, though, and so here’s how I’ll arrange things:
1. Captain Bluebear (from The 13 ½ Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers)
I would invite Captain Bluebear as he would be a delightful conversationalist, explaining what he’s been up to since life 13 ½. Bluebear has navigated worlds from the satirical to the absurd, and because his travels in his fictional universe of Zamonia would undoubtedly take him past The City of Dreaming Books, I would seat him right next to:
2. Wyverary A-Through-L (from The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente)
A-Through-L is a Wyverary (what happens when a library and a Wyvern fall deeply in love) and has an encyclopedic knowledge of anything preceding the letter M. He would be most enthralled by Bluebear’s tales of the Zamonia’s great library, run by the dinosaur, and perhaps mutual friend, Optimus Yarnspinner. Because the Wyverary is comfortable with talking creatures of all sorts, I’d seat him next to:
3. Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-hah (from The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis)
Bree’s sparkling wit and proud history as a Narnian War Charger would make for excellent regalement over hay soup. He might report on life in Narnia after Shasta (Cor) and Aravis saved the day. He might also tell us what his fellow talking horse, Hwin, is up to. Because Bree’s appetite for sarcasm is just about as vast as his appetite for sautéed carrots, I’d seat him next to:
4. Marvin aka The Paranoid Android (from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams)
I resisted the lure of Arthur Dent’s adventures for some time – until I was old enough to appreciate the true absurd hilarity of the book. Inviting my favorite character, Marvin, to dinner would be somewhat disingenuous as he doesn’t eat, but the invitation itself might provide a bright spot in his otherwise trying existence. As to seat him next to a human who is less bumbling than, say, Ford Prefect, I would place his name card next to:
5. Miriam Black (from Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig)
We won’t let Miriam shake anyone’s hand at dinner – we don’t want her to suffer forecasting the death of anyone present over the mushroom ragout. But the table will be held at rapt attention by her measured, yet timely snark. As she has little patience for small talk, and might need someone to sneak outside and smoke a cigarette with, I’d seat her next to:
6. Lou Merriwether (from Vermillion by Molly Tanzer)
A rare night off for Lou, a psychopomp from San Francisco, she might catch us up on her next adventures. Did she ever catch the evil Dr. Panacea? Does she still roll her own cigarettes? Has her mother stopped bugging her about her short hair? Lou’s gender fluidity and graceful ease will be a wonderful addition to our party, and an inspiration to the diner on her right:
7. Petra West (from Beauty Queens by Libba Bray)
Petra, better known as, Miss Teen Dream Rhode Island, owes us a long update on what life has been like since being rescued from the island of surviving beauty queens. I suspect she has her own talk show and is active in support groups for other Transgender youth. When she isn’t talking vintage fashion with Lou, she’ll have a wonderful time chatting with:
8. Yvaine (from Stardust by Neil Gaiman)
How many chances does one get to invite a shooting star to dinner? Yvaine’s glowing personality must be twice as bright now that no one is trying to cut her heart out. (No steak knives at this dinner party!) And she must be exhausted from all the walking she and Tristan had to do. So I’d give her an extra dollop of chocolate mousse and sit her next to a fellow traveler:
9. Biff (from Lamb by Christopher Moore)
I’ll be serving coffee while Biff and Yvaine commiserate about blisters and sunburn. Afterward, Biff will share hilarious tales of his adventures alongside Joshua bar Joseph (aka Christ) from before his ascension. Perhaps he’ll tell the tale of the time they encountered a Yeti, which is why I’ll seat him next to a woman who is familiar with talking snow creatures:
10. Rose (from East by Edith Pattou)
Though Rose is by far the quietest of our dinner guests, she is no less well traveled. Saving her bear prince from the Troll Queen makes her perhaps the most badass of all our dinner guests. She can have some extra port if it will help her do a troll impression or two.
At midnight, when everyone is nodding off in the library, I’ll call a carriage for each of my guests, sending them out the door tucked in furs or magical cloaks and a box of pastries for their morning coffee. I’ll wave goodbye as they depart from the front step, on their way to more adventures, dreamland, home.
ABOUT NEW CHARITY BLUES:In the wake of a devastating plague, two communities emerge as bastions of survival. One is called the City, and its people scrabble for scraps in the wasteland. The other, New Charity, enjoys the bounty of its hydroelectric dam and refuses City denizens so much as a drop of precious water. When City-dweller Cressyda inherits her father’s ranch within New Charity, she becomes intent on opening the dam to all—no matter the cost.
But when Syd reunites with her old best friend, Casandra, a born seer and religious acolyte, she realizes that her plans could destroy the fragile lives they’ve built in order to survive. What’s more, the strange magic securing the dam’s operations could prove deadly if disturbed. Yet when Syd discovers evidence that her father might have been murdered, she is more determined than ever to exact revenge on New Charity’s corrupt.
Pitted against Cas, as well as her own family, Syd must decide how to secure the survival of both settlements without tipping them over the brink to utter annihilation. In this intense and emotional reimagining of the Trojan War epic, two women clash when loyalty, identity, community, and family are all put to the ultimate test.
ABOUT CAMILLE GRIEP: