Biology and Manners: The Worlds of Lois McMaster Bujold 20th August 2014

Call For Papers (via):

Biology and Manners: The Worlds of Lois McMaster Bujold 20th August 2014
Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
Keynote Speaker: Edward James

Potential contributors are invited to submit an abstract for a one-day conference to be held at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, on August 20th 2014. This inter-disciplinary conference will explore the works of Hugo and Nebula Award winning writer Lois McMaster Bujold, encompassing both her science fiction and her fantasy novels. Papers and pre-formed panels are invited on issues related to (but not limited to) any of the following themes related to the works of Lois McMaster Bujold:

space opera
fantasy
american fantasy
fantasy and environmentalism
feminist science fiction
science fiction and biotechnology
science fiction and gender
science fiction and sexuality
science fiction and race
utopias and dystopias

300 word abstracts should be submitted by 31st March 2014. Abstracts should be submitted to the conference organizer, Dr Una McCormack: una.mccormack@anglia.ac.uk. Emails should be entitled Biology and Manners Conference: Abstract, and should contain the following information:

a) author(s) of paper/panel; b) affiliation; c) title of abstract; d) body of abstract.

Priest, The Inexplicables; Higgins, Wolfhound Century; Croft, Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a Modern Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Let’s talk about books!

Cherie Priest’s The Inexplicables

First up: Cherie Priest, The Inexplicables. Tor, 2012. Copy courtesy of Tor.com.

I enjoyed this one. I think I’ve figured out why I didn’t love Dreadnought and Ganymede half so much as Boneshaker. Priest’s poisoned Seattle, with its yellow gas and its rotters, its decay and peril and strangeness, is a compelling character in its own right.

Here our viewpoint character is Rector Sherman, petty crook, small-time addict, who enters the city because he’s no other place to go. Soon he finds himself in the middle of a struggle for control, and has to pick sides.

There’s also a sasquatch. It’s really pretty good.

Peter Higgins’ Wolfhound Century

Next, briefly: Peter Higgins, Wolfhound Century. Orbit, 2013. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

This? This is fluently-written, numinous, complex, promising debut. But ultimately somewhat disappointing: I expected more climactic resolution, even from the first book in a new series.

Still recommend it, though. Higgins makes very pretty sentences.

Longer, more detailed review hopefully forthcoming elseweb.

Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a Modern Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy, ed. Janet Brennan Croft.

Last for today: Janet Brennan Croft, ed., Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a Modern Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy. McFarland Press, 2013. e-ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Review forthcoming from Strange Horizons. Short version: there are one or two good papers in here, but my overall feeling is that this is a bloody awful mess of a collection. And most of the papers wouldn’t pass muster for critical engagement with anyone whose opinions I respect.

Yes, I’m cranky.


That’s it at the moment. Now to decide how to prioritise my present reading list, sigh.