So we’ve come to a “break” or a “hiatus” as some call it, the proverbial period of time that the Outlander fans must wait from the moment Episode 8 “Both Sides Now” ended and we get to see Episode 9 “Jamie Stretches His Legs” on April 4, 2015. Six months, 26 weeks, approximately 180 days, whatever you want to call it, its ages.
Some have called it a “break” and so I decided to look it up. The definition of “break” is just the disruption or separation of parts. All true and some fans may think that their innards have become disrupted over said break. Reminds me of Geordie, RIP.
The term “hiatus” is also being used for the gap. My first career was in the medical field, so every time I hear that term, my brain goes back to doing gastrointestinal studies looking for a hiatal hernia (an inguinal or umbilical hernia), or any other place one can develop a hernia; it’s a gap or an opening and my long term memory would rather not go there. Never will the image of a male bilateral inguinal hernia be erased from my mind (think cantaloupe).
Nope, I’m not calling it a hiatus (for obvious personal reasons). What I will call the time between September 27th and April 4th is a “sabbatical.” Why? Because its use in academia suits my geeky scientific side rather well. During a sabbatical, the person/persons take a break, but are still working on a product (in situ or another location). We do know that Ron Moore and his entire team of cast and crew are not “taking a break” for six months. They are still working on the editing of Outlander and the beginning stages of bringing us Season 2: Dragonfly in Amber. They are still working, but what are the bloggers going to do? Dump writing about Outlander? Nah. Rewrite recaps? Not me. Diana has mentioned writing about what happens between the scenes we’ve seen on TV; I personally dig that idea.
We could all reread Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Drums of Autumn…you know where I’m going with this and notice I wrote “reread” rather than “read.” The pre-STARZ fan base have read the books and probably more than once, myself included (most of them anyway).
What about all those new fans that just tuned into Outlander (the TV show) and now want to read the books? They all know about Outlander, but what of the other books? Outlander is a great place to start and this is coming from someone who didn’t read Outlander first. I picked up Dragonfly in Amber in a bookstore while in Ankara, Turkey – and it was in English. Then when I was in Zurich (about two weeks later) at the train station on my way to Lugano, I found Voyager. Score! I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. That book was quickly devoured on the train ride through the Alps. I returned to the US and immediately started combing the internet for Outlander because I could tell I was missing something (read as: Wentworth). This was back in 1999.
Shame on me for not reading them in order, but my Outlander experience hasn’t suffered. I’ve already completed one first-to-last reread in anticipation of the release of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, to include ALL the side stories. I’m on my fifth read of Outlander now and completely enjoying (again) the nuances and feel of the story.
So where do new fans start? While each book can stand on its own, there really is an order and sometimes it isn’t just the end of one book and the beginning of the next. I’m not saying the new fans have to read them in order, but it’s helpful, and even Herself has recommended reading the “Big, Enormous Books” in order. If it were me and I’d just seen eight episodes of Outlander, seen and heard all the squawking about anything and everything, I’d pick up a copy of Virgins, which is a novella included in the anthology Dangerous Women, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.
It’s a short read, covering a span of time when Jamie is in France with Ian Murray (I think we’ll meet him when Outlander returns from sabbatical). I can’t imagine there would be a spoiler in that, but I’m sure someone will come up with something.
Next I’d pick up a copy of The Exile, the graphic novel by Herself.
Apparently for many fans, The Exile is a love/hate relationship. I happen to reside on the love end of the spectrum. Maybe because it’s a comic book, maybe because it’s told from Murtagh’s persective (Murtagh fan here!), maybe I don’t have a real reason why, but it’s a definite favorite of mine.
The Exile is a small book, comparatively speaking, but you need to pay attention to the characters as they look similar. Read Chapter 1, then five pages of Chapter 2 and STOP. Here is where you pick up Outlander and read it. Since we already know she travels through the stones, read through that part and pick up The Exile again. You can then figure out where to stop and start on your own.
If you want to see Diana’s description regarding the chronology, click here. I’ll be revisiting The Exile next week and one lucky fan will have the opportunity to win a copy in a contest that will be open to anyone.
So I ask you, what are you doing during the sabbatical?
I chose this page because the, ah, nude character (not Jamie) is asking…”Now what do I do?” Unless someone spills the beans, find a copy of The Exile to find out.
Disclaimer: All views are expressly my own. I’ve tried to separate the use of the TV series/fandom by not italicizing “Outlander” from reference to any of the books, which are italicized. I do not know what Episode 9 is titled, I used that term because he will be, in our minds, crouching in the window for six months.