• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor



Copyright 2010 Diana Gabaldon

“In the chilly season, when the air grows cold and the spiders die, comes a thin time. The days are short, so all the light of them is concentrated, squeezed between the dawn and dark. This is why the light is different, and each thing has a Shadow. This is when the other worlds draw close, and the barriers between grow thin. In a thin time, they say, you must be careful, because you might walk through a cobweb unthinking, and find yourself Elsewhere.

There is more than one other world; no one knows how many. Some beasts can see one; the dogs will sometimes stare at a blank space on the wall of a cave, and their hackles rise at what they see.

Sometimes, I think I see it, too.”

Happy Samhain!

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25 Responses »

  1. Thank you, Diana. :)


  2. OK, I've read this at least 20 times in the last few minutes and my jaw still drops. Awesome! There are many great things to say about your writing, Diana, but I am particularly fond of the prologues. This one does not disappoint. Thank you.
    How do these come about for you? Do they just pop out? Did it "cook" for awhile?

  3. Dear Patresa–

    I have to wait for a prologue to show up, so to speak. That is, at some point, I'll begin to hear a phrase or a sentence that resonates in a particular way, and if I sit down and play with it, sometimes more will show up. Sometimes it won't, and I just have to wait for it to come back later.

    This one started with the phrase "a thin time"–which is a common phrase in Celtic stories and references, with regard to the feasts like Beltane, and they do mean that the unseen world is close to our own at that point. So I just tried to put that notion as simply as a could, and the first sentence showed up: "In the chilly season, when the air grows cold and the spiders die."

    By the time I'd got to the end of the first paragraph (with much to and fro and fiddling), I knew who was talking–and that knowledge informed the rest. Hence the "Elsewhere," and the dog staring at the wall of the cave (dogs do this; we once had a huge Doberman who did it every night; suddenly he'd raise his head and stare intently at the same spot on a wall, and his eyes would follow…something. So I had that image of Ajax in mind when I wrote that).

    And the last sentence just popped out on its own. Kind of inevitable at that point.

    Glad you liked it. [smile]


  4. Dear Diana,
    It is so great to have you back. I Love your posts. And i love when everyday there is a New one.

    Best wishes

  5. Dear Myrna–

    Nice to _be_ back, believe me! [g] And while I don't promise to be able to post something _every_ day, it'll at least be easier to do it regularly.


  6. Merci beaucoup Diana,
    Happy Samhain too!

    Best wishes from France,

  7. Oh so chilling… I love it!!
    Is this by chance the prologue for "the next one"?:)

  8. Dear Diana,
    it's so surprising to read such beautiful writing first thing in the morning and specialy when is my birthday…..THANK YOU, THANK YOU….

  9. Lovely! Could that be Master Raymond's voice?

  10. Beautiful!

    Michelle K

  11. Happy samhain to you too. I liked the prologue very much. The days are very short indeed, specially here in Sweden. We have the most beautiful sommernights, but novemberdays I most certainly could live without! That dog-thing, is very true. I once had a dog who stared like your dog "at something".

  12. Dear Marie–

    Happy Birthday! (And a Happy All Saints Day to you, too! [g])


  13. Yes, that's Master Raymond's voice.


  14. Dear Diana ~

    Is this the prologue for Book 8 or for a different upcoming project?


  15. I have a recollection of having read this excerpt before, or some earlier form of it, referenced as an idea for the Master Raymond spinoff series… am I remembering correctly?

    It's beautiful.

    Nicole Z

  16. Master Raymond, really?!? ((chills))

    Dear Diana,

    Let me begin by saying what has undoubtedly been said many times before – you are an incredibly gifted author! I am not sure why it took me so long to discover the Outlander series (I was told about them by a friend a few years ago, but at the time I foolishly filed the info away under the heading "possible future reads"…) I FINALLY picked up the first book about 3 months ago, and I have been enthralled by them ever since. I finished Echo in the Bone last week (WOW…), and now I find myself checking your website and blog on a daily basis to continue to get my DG fix. I plan to finish The Outlandish Companion by the end of this week, and then I shall begin reading about our beloved Lord John and his many adventures. Thank you for your brilliant work!


  17. Truly beautiful!
    Of course, I'm reminded of those who answer the call of the standing stones.

  18. Dear Diana,
    thank you a lot, just one more wonderful reason to think about you and your magical writing today!!
    (And years ago my father reminded me…you were born on All Saints Day…):)

  19. Diana,

    Oh my gosh! I think I might pass out!! Prologue, Master Raymond…Wow! Love it. Makes waiting for book 8 even more unbearable! Do you, by chance, have a title for it yet?

  20. Dear Jamie–

    No, titles kind of show up in their own time. Some books, I know right away–like VOYAGER–while others take forever, and a lot of what I call stone-polishing. That's where I toss a handful of evocative words into the tumbler in the back of my brain, and every so often, pull out a handful to see if anything's getting smooth and shiny yet.



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