People having thoughts about THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT

Both Amal El-Mohtar and Arkady Martine enjoyed it significantly more than I did.

Amal has something important to say about responses to THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT, while Arkady turns a very penetrating gaze on its thematic arguments.

I think THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT is proving to be an interesting book to think with, and to think about, despite – or perhaps because of – how very angry it made me. Baru Cormorant herself, the titular main character, is a monster. Perhaps the most monstrous protagonist I’ve ever read. And not in the simplistic fashion of so many grimdark-type antiheroes, either. She’s a sympathetic monster. An understandable monster. The monster in the mirror, writ large: all our compromises with power for the sake of security, for the sake of personal advancement, for the hope of changing the system from within, rendered in mass murder and personal betrayals. I think Dickinson is trying to explore some very difficult thematic territory, and trying at the same time to sustain fairly radical literary politics. If he fails in many respects at both –

Well, it’s an ambitious failure. There’s much to be said for that.

Things I have found interesting recently

Sonya Taaffe has a brilliant story in the most recent installment of Ideomancer, “ζῆ καὶ βασιλεύει.” Absolutely magnificent.

Arkady Martine has an excellent story in Strange Horizons, “City of Salt.”

Beth Bernobich is Kickstarting a novelette, Nocturnall.

Foz Meadows has an amazing essay on GIFsets and the changing face of criticism.

Speaking of Foz, she encouraged me into watching the first season of The 100, out of which – among other things – came this exchange. Which amused me.

The Washington Post has an article on an early medieval Viking female burial that included a ring with “For Allah” inscribed on it in Kufic script.

I binge-watched all four seasons of Legend of Korra and should probably stop looking at art of Korra and/or Asami like these prints at some point. (But not yet.)

I want to go to this production of the Bakkhai. It is unlikely I will be able to afford it, especially since it is in London. But NEW ANNE CARSON TRANSLATION.

My brain is slowly growing back into something akin to the ability to focus. I can read books this week. It is a welcome development.