Apology; Ann Aguirre: Wanderlust

There’s been mess of foamy-mouthedness around the Science Fiction Writers of America association over the past couple weeks. I won’t link to the petition that jump-started it, but it basically asserts that for the the official bulletin of a professional organization to have editorial standards that avoid hostility to its constituency is an assault onContinue reading “Apology; Ann Aguirre: Wanderlust”

Karen Joy Fowler: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Several folks whose judgment I respect urged all and sundry to read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves without reading any of the jacket copy or other reviews. If the combined weight of multiple recommendations wasn’t enough to convince me, my previous experience with Fowler’s short fiction and The Jane Austen Book Club was. I’dContinue reading “Karen Joy Fowler: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves”

Jane Palmer: The Watcher

The Watcher is a little slippery. If I described the bones of its plot or its characters (which include a planet threatened with destruction from an energy-being, time travel, sea monsters, and a conveniently bulletproof resident of Earth) it would sound either like a pulp-era space opera, or a consciously zany send-up of same (perhapsContinue reading “Jane Palmer: The Watcher”

Victoria Connelly: A Weekend with Mr. Darcy

Connelly has come up with a clever new tactic for reaching the surprisingly healthy market for Jane Austen-related fiction: instead of a working with Austen’s characters directly, or even in a Regency setting, she’s penned a modern day romance about Austen-obsessed characters. Connelly’s own love for Austen shines through, and there’s enough solid detail toContinue reading “Victoria Connelly: A Weekend with Mr. Darcy”

Lynn Thomas, Deborah Stanish (ed): Whedonistas! A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon by the Women Who Love Them

This collection of essays about Joss Whedon’s creations (through Dollhouse; it’s pre Cabin in the Woods/Avengers) includes contributions from writers whose work I already know (Jane Espenson, Emma Bull, Catherynne Valente…) some I didn’t, and some who aren’t writing professionals. It’s kind of all over the map: there’s some really insightful critical analysis, and there’sContinue reading “Lynn Thomas, Deborah Stanish (ed): Whedonistas! A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon by the Women Who Love Them”

Barbara Comyns: Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead

This is an odd, disquieting, and hard-to-pin down little novel. Comyns manages to make strengths of qualities that are often considered flaws. The tone varies substantially, sometimes within the span of a single page or less. A vein of mildly satirical comedy of manners runs through it, but it also encompasses an eerie streak notContinue reading “Barbara Comyns: Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead”

Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Mars Trilogy

I saw the John Carter movie (1/3 awesome, 2/3 slow,sappy,dumb/hard-to-follow) and wanted to revisit the original novel, mostly to see if there was quite as much time spent on the Earth backstory (answer: not by a long shot). But after reading A Princess of Mars I realized the John Carter film incorporated several major plotContinue reading “Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Mars Trilogy”

Tanith Lee: Wolf Tower

This young adult novel, told in the protagonist’s diary entries, mostly detailing a flight across a hostile land in the company of a handsome prince, offers many opportunities for Lee to play with and subvert assorted fairy tale conventions. This ranges from minor details — female characters who are overweight, old, and/or bald are describedContinue reading “Tanith Lee: Wolf Tower”

Madeleine L’Engle : A Wind in the Door

As a kid, I distinctly remember thinking that A Wind in the Door was even better than A Wrinkle in Time. I think this was mostly because of Proginoskes, an unusual and seriously awesome character. But it’s not possible for me to sustain my former opinion of the novels’ relative merit this time around. TheContinue reading “Madeleine L’Engle : A Wind in the Door”