Courtesy of Gollancz: Bradley Beaulieu’s TWELVE KINGS and ALiette de Bodard’s HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS. Courtesy of Angry Robot Books, Ishbelle Bee’s THE SINGULAR AND EXTRAORDINARY TALE OF MIRROR AND GOLIATH. Courtesy of DAW Books, Seanan McGuire’s A RED-ROSE CHAIN. Courtesy of Henry Holt, Leigh Bardugo’s SIX OF CROWS. Courtesy of Tor Books, Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear’s AN APPRENTICE TO ELVES.
Ann Leckie on there not being any such thing as apolitical fiction:
Most times, when someone complains that they just don’t like stories with politics, or with a message, what they mean is they don’t like stories with messages or politics that disturb or confront their own assumptions about how the world is, or could be, or ought to be. This is worth remembering the next time you’re tempted to assert that Reader A only likes Work Z because it contains a fashionable or approved political message, while you, Reader B, value a good story, thank you, without all that political crap. Guess what? Those good stories you love are crammed full of that political crap–it’s just the politics are different.
Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) on Of Better Worlds and Worlds Gone Wrong:
My point, aside from remarking that both Tolkien and Le Guin are arguing that escape means hope, and hope is one of the great virtues of fantasy, is what Tolkien says at the end of the passage: they are confusing, not always by sincere error, the Escape of the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter. Because I think that’s exactly it. The denigration of “escapism” comes from an implicit belief that it is brave and necessary and heroic to face “reality,” where “reality” is grim and dark and nihilistic (“solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” as that tremendous pessimist Thomas Hobbes puts it), and that if you turn away from that “reality,” you are a deserter and therefore a coward.
There are a number of fallacies here, as Tolkien notes. One is the claim to the exclusive right to define “reality.” Second, if this is an accurate definition of “reality,” it is a fallacy to believe that it is even possible to desert from the front lines by anything short of suicide. Even if your consumption of fiction takes you away from “reality” for an hour or two, you’re always going to have to come back. Clearly, if we accept this definition of “reality,” “escapism” can only be the most tremendous blessing fiction has to offer.
…reviewed over at Tor.com:
This is a book about survival, and betrayal, and friendship, and power, and strength. And it’s a marvellously welcoming, readable one. A book you pick up and read when you’re tired and sad, and all unexpected it’s like being wrapped up in a comforting warm fuzzy blanket of glorious worldbuilding and shiny prose and decent people doing the best they know how.
I really love this book. Give me more. More like this.
Greg Rucka, Whiteout. Oni Press, 2007. Illustrated by Steve Lieber.
Very different to the film of the same name. Rather better.
Martha Wells, Emilie and the Sky World. Strange Chemistry, 2014.
Reviewed for Tor.com. Fun book! Go read it!
Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor. Tor, 2014.
Review copy from Tor. I am to review it for Tor.com. This is an amazing book. I mean seriously bloody wonderful: excellent politics, nice quiet interpersonal stuff, such a wonderful compelling protagonist. GO PREORDER IT NOW.
Katherine Addison is the new pen-name for Sarah Monette. For those of us familiar with Monette’s other writing, I feel I should add that The Goblin Emperor‘s protagonist is much more likeable than many of the characters in The Doctrine of Labyrinths, and while the world-building is just as marvellously baroque the overall tone is much less noirish, much more optimistic.
ALSO IT IS BRILLIANT GO PREORDER IT SERIOUSLY CAPSLOCK EXCLAMATIONS OF JOY.