A few words about Bearland
Dean Wesley Smith on books as (non-)events

Extreme Book Tour: Day 2, Waterbrownbear

Author D.W. Frauenfelder has embarked on a book tour of the Continent, the here-now, gone-tomorrow piece of land on which his novel, Skater in a Strange Land, is set. Braving long flights to and from the Continent, and the risk of phase shifts, Frauenfelder will be reading from his novel in three cities in Bearland, two in Anvoria, and three in Borschland before flying home November 11, just in time for the release of the second book in the Borschland Hockey Chronicles, The Skater and the Saint.



That's the word to use after my reading at the auditorium hastily arranged after it was clear that the bookstore my publisher had scheduled was not going to handle all the bears who wanted to come here an author from the "wide world" talk about his book about them.

I've never seen so many bears in one place, and it would have been overwhelming except they were so polite, I couldn't help but be one hundred percent charmed. 

I lost count of the little old lady bears who came with jars of homemade honey. Just about every house with a yard in Bearland has hives behind it, which is why in some places in Bearland you can't sit down without a honey bee lighting on you. 

The bears recommend not to wear bright colors.

And the flowers. Everywhere it's planted with them, for the bees.

And fruit trees, of course. Everything happens to be budding right now, because here in the Southern Hemisphere it's spring.

Bears are happy in spring. They can get a little depressed in winter, due to cutting out hibernation when they became civilized, but everybear goes bonkers in spring. 

The cubs especially. They are also very polite, but after a while, if you're not careful, they climb on you like monkey bars. They have human dolls just like we have teddy bears, and they can act like you're one.

The reading: phenomenal. Officials said there were probably a thousand bears in the room, and they paid admission to get in, plus a lot of them bought Skater in a Strange Land. Not in dollars. I made a lot of "bnoas," which is their currency. I have a feeling it's not going to translate into "wide world" money.

But that's okay. The bears were very inquisitive. They are not big hockey fans, but they were endlessly interested in the bear character Linus Black Jr., who is modeled on a real bear from Bearland, and many of them wanted to talk politics. What is your position on this and that. I had to tell them I was just glad that they had a democracy again, which they did not have when I was writing the book.

My favorite question was, "When are you going to write a book about sockey?" which was from a teenage bear with a pin of his favorite team, the Brownbakikio White Wings. 

Sockey is a Bearish game that combines soccer and field hockey, and is their favorite warm weather game. I told them I would have to learn a lot more about Bearland before I could do that, and he said, "I could help you if you want." Which was just priceless. It got a big laugh. 

We had dinner afterwards with a lot of bigwigs, and I would've fallen asleep if I hadn't been so well taken care of. They had about a dozen she-bears constantly saying, "We should let the man have his rest." And then someone else would want to tell me a story or ask me a question.

I think I could probably sleep about 24 hours, I'm so tired, but I am also so jazzed about being  here that I don't know if I'll sleep at all.

In any case, thanks to Breakfast with Pandora Books and the administration of the Associated University Presses of Borschland (Bijbehorenden Ootgeverij Drukperse van ter Universitejte-Borschland) for sponsoring this trip. Tomorrow it's on to Brownbakikio and official meetings with politicians and another author event. Eventually I will get to Borschland.

But I'll have to get through a big crowd of bears first.

Author's Note: I am exhausted, but not because of being in Bearland. I'm doing these blog posts as an exhausted nights-and-weekends writer. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy the thought of reading my book in front of a thousand upright bears.


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