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Showing posts from April, 2013

Top Ten Phrases That Make Me Pick Up a Book

Happy late Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Phrases That Instantly Make Me Pick Up a Book 1. Science fiction 2. A cross between Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkien-basically if it mentions a book or author I love (especially more than one), I will take a look. 3. Nineteenth century Britain/Victorian 4. Elizabethan/Renaissance/Tudor/Stuart 5. Strong heroine 6. Epic fantasy (although this tends to be overused) 7. Hugo/Nebula/Man Booker/Newberry award winner 8. Washington D.C./Boston/Chicago-a book set in a place that I'm familiar with 9. Venice/Rome/London-a book set in a place I really want to travel to 10. Weird/unusual/quirky-I look books (or at least the idea of books) that are different

Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like More or Less Than I Did

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! It's been a little while for me. Books I Thought I'd Like More Than I Did 1. The Second Empress by Michelle Moran I wanted to like it better than I did, and the novel did have its strong points in the characters and history, it just wasn't as developed as it could have been and the writing could have been better. 2. At the Mercy of the Queen by Anne Clinard Barnhill I was really interested in the Anne Boleyn story from Madge Shelton's point of view, unfortunately the writing was so painful I couldn't get through it. Madge just kept babbling about herself in anachronistic language and her character was such a weak, whiny girl. 3. Neuromancer by William Gibson It won a Hugo and a Nebula and I'm generally a huge sci fi fan, but this world was just too hard to get into and I wasn't invested enough in the characters to try. 4. The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper I thought I would love this Arthurian legend-based kids'

An Ambiguous Utopia

In class (I got in!) we are reading The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin. The subtitle is "an ambiguous utopia." I've read other books in the Hainish Cycle, and this one is both noticeably different and recognizably Le Guin. It's the first in chronological order, and the protagonist discovers the equations that will lead to the ansible-"an instantaneous communication device." In the rest of the cycle, this is the device that the protagonists use to record their observations of other worlds. Shevek is the only protagonist in the cycle (at least of those I've read) that is of the race that he observes. However, he is and is not. Shevek is from Anarres, a desert mining colony on the moon of Urras, a water-rich planet. On Anarres, the Odonians have built a two-hundred-year old anarchist commune, where nobody owns anything. On Urras, the larger powers are still "propertarian" (i.e. capitalist) and exploit their resources, using a money economy

An Interesting Definition for SF-Discuss

Grad school is subsuming my life, but I came across this definition in the reading for a class I'm hoping to take (*fingers crossed*) on Utopian Science Fiction: "SF is a literary genre whose necessary and sufficient conditions are the presence and interaction of estrangement and cognition and whose main formal device is an imaginative framework alternative to the author's empirical environment." -Darko Suvin, "Metamorphoses of Science Fiction." That would seem to count a lot of fantasy novels as SF, which traditionally upsets the SF hardliners. However, it jives well with my view of the genre and its uses (and pleasures). Thoughts?