New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon has captured the hearts of millions with her critically acclaimed novels, Outlander. Dragonfly In Amber, Voyager, and Drums Of Autumn. From the moment Claire Randall accidentally steps through a magical stone that transports her back in time more than 200 years to 1743, and into the arms of Scottish soldier Jamie Fraser, readers have been enthralled with this epic saga of time travel, adventure, and love everlasting.
Now Diana Gabaldon has written the ultimate companion guide to her bestselling series, the book only she could write - a beautifully illustrated compendium of all things Outlandish. As a special bonus for those who are eagerly awaiting the next appearance of Jamie and Claire, she includes never - before - published excerpts from upcoming works in the series. And there's lots more in this lavish keepsake volume for the many devoted fans who yearn to learn the stories behind the stories:
* Full synopses of Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn
* A complete listing of the characters in all four novels, including extensively researched family trees and genealogical notes
* Professionally cast horoscopes for Jamie and Claire
* A comprehensive glossary and pronunciation guide to Gaelic terms and usage
* The fully explicated Gabaldon Theory of Time Travel
* Frequently asked questions to the author and her (sometimes surprising) answers
* An annotated bibliography
* Tips, personal stories - even a recipe or two
* Essays about medicine and magic in the eighteenth century, researching historical fiction, and more
With the insight, humor, and eye for detail that has made her novels such an outstanding success story. Diana Gabaldon here gives her readers the best gift of all--The Outlandish Companion.
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June 27, 1999
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Excerpt from The Outlandish Companion by Diana Gabaldon
Prologue Well, it was all an accident, is what it was. I wasn't trying to be published; I wasn't even going to show it to anyone. I just wanted to write a book--any kind of book. Not actually any kind of book. Fiction. See, I'm a storyteller. I can't take any particular credit for this--I was born that way. When my sister and I were very young and shared a bedroom, we stayed up far into the night, nearly every night, telling enormous, convoluted, continuing stories, with casts of thousands (like I said, I was born with this). Still, even though I knew I was a storyteller from an early age, I didn't know quite what to do about it. Writing fiction is not a clearly marked career path, after all. It's not like law, where you do go to school for X years, pass an exam, and bing! you can charge people two hundred dollars an hour to listen to your expert opinions (my sister's a lawyer). Writers mostly make it up as they go along, and there is no guarantee that if you do certain things, you will get published. Still less is there any guarantee that you'll make a living at it. Now, I come from a very conservative background (morally and financially, not politically). My parents would take my sister and me out for dinner now and then, and while waiting for the food to be served, would point out the oldest, most harried looking waitress in the place, saying sternly, "Be sure you get a good education, so you don't have to do that when you're fifty!" With this sort of nudging going on at home, it's no wonder that I didn't announce that I was moving to London to become a novelist right after high school. Instead, I got a B.S. in zoology, an M.S. in marine biology, a Ph.D. in ecology, and a nice job as a research professor at a large university, complete with fringe benefits, pension plans, etc. The only trouble was that I still wanted to write novels. Now, I have had rather a varied scientific career, featuring such highlights as the postdoctoral appointment where I was paid to butcher seabirds (I can reduce a full-grown gannet to its component parts in only three hours. Oddly enough, I have yet to find another job requiring this skill), or the job where I tortured boxfish and got interrogated by the FBI (they didn't care about the civil rights of the boxfish; it was the Russian exchange scientist grinding up clams in my laboratory they were after). At the time when my desire to write novels resurfaced, though, I was working at Arizona State University, writing Fortran programs to analyze the contents of bird gizzards. This was really an accident; I was supposed to be developing a research program dealing with nesting behavior in colonially breeding birds. However, I was the only person in my research center who had (and I quote the director) "a background in computers." At the time, said "background" amounted to one Fortran class, which I had taken in the College of Business in order to keep my husband company. However, as the director logically pointed out, this was 100 percent more computer knowledge than anyone else in the place had. I was therefore drafted to help with the analysis of ten years' worth of avian dietary data, using punch cards, coding sheets, and the university's mainframe computer. (In other words, this was long before the term "Internet" became a household word.) At the conclusion of eighteen months of labor--which resulted in a gigantic eight-hundred-page coauthored monograph on the dietary habits of the birds of the Colorado River Valley--I said to myself, You know, there are probably only five other people in the entire world who care about bird gizzards. Still, if they knew about these programs I've written, it would save each one of those five people eighteen months of effort. That's about seven and a half years of wasted work. Why is there no way for me to find those five people