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Tag Archives: you should read this
Post-Nebulas, I’ve been going through and trying to clear away a lot from my shelves and TBR list, particularly given that I still had a substantial armload from ICFA. Here’s some particular recent favorites.
Cassie, in the process of shedding a box of Doc Savage novels, found out I loved them and passed them along. I remember Doc and his men fondly; while at my grandparents for a Kansas summer when I was twelve or thirteen, I found my uncle’s old books, which included a pretty complete run of the Bantam reprints and reveled in them for years to come.
I’m going back and rereading while making notes; my hope is that I’ll start to notice some patterns as I move through the books and that I’ll be able to talk about pulp tropes, gender assumptions, reading fiction aimed at a gender other than your own, and writerly techniques in an entertaining and (maybe) useful way. I’ll go consecutively by issue date of the ones I have; I will go back and fill in earlier ones as I run across the books.
So let us begin.
Ever wondered what it would be like to wander through plague-ridden Seattle in the future? This book’s a good approximation.[/caption]In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that Caren’s a close friend. But beyond that The Birthday Problem is terrific SF, and a great example of interweaving narratives that is a) highly enjoyable to read and b) highly instructive to take a look at.
Ammonite, by Nicola Griffith, is subtle and beautiful and a terrific piece of speculative fiction. An anthropologist, Marghe Taishan, arrives on the planet GP, there to test a vaccine against the deadly virus that has killed all but a few … Continue reading
John Bellairs wrote a host of children’s books, including one of my favorites, The House with a Clock in Its Walls, and a single adult novel, The Face in the Frost. I wish the ratio had been in the opposite … Continue reading
Last week, I pointed to one of the foremothers of science fiction, Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle, and her work The Blazing World. Herland comes several centuries later (in fact, it’ll be exactly a century old in 2015) but it’s just as important a landmark in this often murky territory.
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.
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.
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.
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!”