A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
read by the author
Readers, I’ve messed up. As I stated in the first installment of this feature, I only listen to audiobooks of books that I’ve read before. After shelving the umpteenth copy of the very lovely new editions of Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet, I decided it was time to return to A Wrinkle in Time. I patiently waited for it to come in at the library. When I started listening, the familiar opening scene sprawled out before me…
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman
I was supposed to love Chuck Klosterman.
Hype is a treacherous thing, isn’t it? There’s a fine line between getting excited and getting so excited that the actual thing can never live up your expectations. It’s why I manage so precisely my own exposure to promotional material; I usually limit myself to a trailer or a cover these days. But what can you really spoil with essays on pop culture? (Asks the woman who waited until she read A Year of Flops to archive binge on Nathan Rabin’s titular online column.) After all, I’m a ravenous fan who adores meta and an avid reader of The A.V. Club and Grantland. Nathan Rabin was the first writer who made me text someone in despair over how I could never possibly write like that. Based on that, it’s only logical that I would think Klosterman was directly up my alley.
Box Set Castle continues to evolve as I take over more and more display space at work. (Above is a “For the sci-fi/fantasy fans who have everything…” display; I’ve only managed to sell one copy of The Tolkien Companion off of that.) In Warcraft II terms, it’s gone from a Town Hall to a Keep, but “Box Set Castle” is catchier.
In any case, IT’S THE THICK OF THE HOLIDAYS! Winter solstice holidays are my favorite. I lost my last few days off to a hideous cold, but I’m feeling a lot better. (Although I can’t access my upper register at the moment, so I’ve been enjoying surprising people with a deeper voice.) My reading has been picking up, mercifully; I finished After the King, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, and The Princess Academy this week. I’m reading Louder Than Hell and I’m listening to A Wrinkle in Time. I’ve just realized that I only ever read about fifty pages of A Wrinkle in Time as a kid, but there’s no stopping now that I’ve started.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
based on the novel by Suzanne Collins
Despite my lack of scientific prowess, I love to experiment, be it sartorially (all shall tremble before my Easter blazer) or culinarily (“Throw it all in!” is becoming a common phrase at the Floating Domicile). And, as a fan, I get excited when I can experiment with my media consumption, like when I decided to watch Prometheus before seeing Alien to see if it would function on its own. The Hunger Games is the focus of my latest pop culture experiment. I read the first novel and liked the film more, so I decided to not read the rest of the series and see how it all played out on-screen.
After the King edited by Martin H. Greenberg
No figure looms larger in fantasy than J. R. R. Tolkien. One hundred and twenty-one (or eleventy-eleven) years after his birth and fifty-nine years after the publication of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings still functions as the baseline for the entire genre of high fantasy. (There’s a very valid argument to be made that we need to move forward from that baseline, but that’s another post for another time.) But a lot of Tolkien-inspired fantasy only mimics the most obvious trappings of the good Professor’s legendarium. That’s not necessarily a judgment on the quality of those works—Blizzard Entertainment used those trappings as a stepping stone to create their own interesting, engaging world for the Warcraft franchise, and Eragon… well, Eragon exists. It can go either way. Continue reading
Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks
Ah, the dreaded “I’m not a feminist, but…,” the handy way to espouse feminist politics without any of those nasty connotations the word “feminist” comes with. You know, the connotations associated with feminism by people doing their utmost to making feminists sound so icky that nobody will be one. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle based not on what feminism actually is, but on the press feminism receives in a patriarchal culture.
I hope all my fellow Americans had a lovely Thanksgiving this week! My roommate’s family kindly invited me to their festivities, and I spent the rest of the day watching the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day marathon online. It was lovely. My groove is a little thrown off with the extra day off, so I’ll be catching up for a little while. My reading is still suffering, but I’m working on it.
Tomorrow Never Dies
based on characters by Ian Fleming
While checking out a handful of the Connery films at the library, I, all fired up about the Bondathon, told the librarian what I was doing. “Oh,” she said, “Pierce Brosnan was my favorite. I’m just so disappointed that he only made one…”
I wasn’t sure how to respond. On the one hand, I could surprise her with the delightful fact that Brosnan, in fact, made four Bond films, giving her three more movies to watch. On the other hand, now actually having seen Tomorrow Never Dies, she may have been thinking of GoldenEye the way I think of the first season of Heroes and other people think of The Matrix: what a shame they never made another! Sometimes, you must lie to yourself to protect yourself from disappointment.
Hild by Nicola Griffith
While Nicola Griffith’s bibliography includes award-winning speculative fiction, it’s not a particular stretch to find her writing historical fiction. Historical fiction and speculative fiction—especially fantasy—often walk hand in hand. They share similar challenges, not the least of which is how to bring the world of the story to life. The only difference is how close you have to stick to your research: the speculative fiction author can follow or wander away from their research at a whim; the historical author’s goal is to stick to the historical script. This, of course, means that both genres are equally susceptible to Worldbuilder’s Disease. After all, you did do all that research… you wouldn’t want it to go to waste, right?
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
As a little kid in the late nineties, my main exposure to fantasy was through watching my brother play video games. Thusly, Warcraft II and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time were enormous parts of my childhood. While the former is something I’m fond of revisiting in a fog of nostalgia, it’s the latter that utterly captured my imagination. There’s a lot of reasons for that, from being left-handed to a surprisingly diverse array of female characters for a mainstream video game from the nineties, but the biggest is Princess Zelda herself. Forced into hiding as a child after the murder of her father, she pins her hopes on a wild gambit. She spends seven years becoming a warrior before that gambit can pay off, watching her kingdom crumble around her. When that gambit miraculously works, she bends time to her will to try and give both the hero and herself the childhoods they were denied. And then, without ever knowing if that worked or not (if she killed him or not), she has to rebuild a kingdom from scratch.