My Virtual Kitchen, and my Birthday Gift!

As many of you know, I’ve had a newsgroup over at sff.net for, well, years now.  How many years?  I’ve lost track.  We’re up about 59,000 posts so it has been a while. 

Over those years, some folk have become permanent fixtures there.  They are true friends, fans and readers, yes, but true friends as well.  They are from far away places and from just down the freeway.  And over those years, as I’ve traveled, I’ve had the great pleasure to meet many of them in person.  Via that newsgroup, I’ve heard of sick kittens, witnessed a marriage proposal sung to the light of his life, shared videos of spiders gone crazy, and we’ve discussed many topics.  Many topics, indeed, and very often they were topics that ignited flames and ended friendships in other places on the web.

But the rule we have adhered to, with very few exceptions, is that my newsgroup is my virtual kitchen table. While you are seated there, you must treat my other guests with the same courtesy you would if we were actually all seated face to face at a table. And so we have been able to have those discussions, and with a very few sad exceptions, we’ve been able to treat each other respectfully and walk away from the table still as virtual friends.

At the beginning of this month, I received a mysterious package in the mail.  It was labeled Do Not Open until March 5th!  My birthday. So, for several days it tormented me, and then very early on the morning of the 5th, I opened it.

Inside was the Robin Hobb Virtual Kitchen Birthday Book!  It had photos of many of my friends from around the world, in their various kitchens.  I think it was among the very best things I’ve ever received for a birthday gift.

You are invited to view the Virtual Robin Hobb Virtual Kitchen Birthday Book here.

I will be taking my Virtual Kitchen Birthday Book on my tours with me.  When I encounter my newsgroup friends, I’m going to get the photos autographed.  And I hope to add an  empty photo album to my luggage, to collect photos of other readers in their kitchens to add to my collection.  Not just the newsgroup people who missed the deadline, but any of you who would care to contribute.

And, as always, new visitors to my virtual kitchen are welcome!  You can post there without joining sff.net, though I’ll urge you to join just so you can explore that wonderful site more thoroughly!  Best tech I’ve ever had lives there!

6 Responses to My Virtual Kitchen, and my Birthday Gift!

  1. Wow, what a nice gift !

    Happy Birthday to you, and congratulations to your virtual kitchen friends for the great idea 🙂

  2. Hi,
    Could you please put the maps of your worlds on your website? If you have the audible or Kindle versions of the books, you really don’t have a readable map so it would be great if they were available here. Thanks so much!

  3. Dear Ms. Hobb

    I think I have to say this. Your stories (the farseer world) found me when I was depressed, alone, thinking about breaking up with my boyfriend, and basically thought I couldn’t hold it together anymore. I had been reading books for days. Sometimes, I hide in my room with my books and laptop and just read.

    But, a month or so ago, I read your stories and then I finished them and something finally hit me. We can let life live us or we can live it, so I stopped hiding and I went outside. You touch peoples minds and hearts all across the world. You have given me something more to think about and I truly thank you so much.

    I never could understand why you wouldn’t let people write fanfiction about you works, but now I truly do get it. It is impossible to improve upon what you have made, and there is no other possible way it could end or be presented. What you have created reflects so much on true life that the bitersweetness of it all is in itself a masterpiece.

    You have taken my heart and replaced it with Beloved. And Malta, and the Rainwilders, you have earned your spot on my bookshelf next to Tolkien.

    So, my hat tips to you, and your works of art. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for these gifts you have given to the world.

    Elisabeth

  4. I’ll look into doing this. You are not the first person to suggest it.
    In the meanwhile, if you go to the Robin Hobb facebook, you will find some lovely colored maps done as fan art.
    You can also find them on deviant art if you do a search for Robin Hobb and Crooty (the artist).