Monthly Archives: December 2014

You Should Read This: Doctor Rat by William Kotzwinkle

Doctor Rat is a cunningly well constructed, heartwrenching, horrible wonderful book told from the point of view of an insane rat, thereby reinforcing my theory that odd povs may add to, rather than detract from, good fiction. Be aware: this is a novel about animal experimentation and it pulls no punches.
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You Should Read This: The True Game Trilogy by Sherri S. Tepper

I first encountered this series in the late 70s, while a teen, and it hooked me to the point where I’ll always note a Sheri S. Tepper book coming out, even though some have gotten a little didactic. But this series? Not only is it is awesome, but it interlocks with two other trilogies set in the same world and with many of the same characters.
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You Should Read This: Poetry As Insurgent Art by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

One of the distinctions that I sometimes hear people making is “regular” Sf and “literary” SF, usually with some baggage about the literary SF being art. I say, if you’re making something you don’t really interact with for food, shelter, or clothing (and even then, in some cases), you are probably making art.

Word-wrangling is art, no matter whether it is used for the lowest purposes or the most exalted, and the artist who relaxes and enjoys it learns to use artful techniques for the entertainment or edification of her/his readers. And they may, in that process, create something lasting.
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Writing-Related Link Roundup from November 2014

Writing and day jobs, the things that influence writers, the uncanny power of weird fiction, an interview with David Cronenburg, the power of narrative, Ray Bradbury on creativity, a list of writer’s retreats, Nnedi Okorafor, and how to outline a novel. Continue reading

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You Should Read This: Shelter by Susan Palwick

Shelter by Susan Palwick is one of the reasons why I will never question the use of anything, be it shoe, gun, elephant, or even a rope, as a protagonist. That is because one of the multiple viewpoints it’s told from is that of a house, or to be more precise, the AI running it.
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You Should Read This: The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish

If you want to explore the deepest roots of fantasy and science fiction, here’s a text that’s been obscured by time: The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish, which is one of the first portal stories, in which a protagonist ends up in a world much unlike their own, as well as a Utopian novel. Written in 1666, it features a heroine who enters another realm, the Blazing World of the title, through an entrance located at the North Pole. There, she ends up becoming empress of a harmonious and progressive as well as wealthy kingdom.
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You Should Read This: A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster

A Theory of Fun for Game Design is written by an author who deeply loves games, understands how they work, and believes in them as an art form. As the forward by Will Wright notes, Koster brings a multi-disciplinary method to the examination of games, pulling out basic concepts and breaking them down in a way that is both easy to understand and enjoyable to read. Accompanying his pithy observations are cartoons illustrating each concept, such as the illustration accompanying “Stories are powerful teaching tools in their own right, but games are not stories,” in which one student says to another, “I beat the last level of Ulysses last night. I had to use god mode for the end boss. Molly is really tough!”
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