Poison Study by Maria V. Synder
Poison Study by Maria V. Synder
Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
I’d never heard of Sarah Beth Durst before Michael Ann Dobbs reviewed her latest novel, Vessel, for io9. While I do end up reading a lot of young adult fiction, I don’t especially pay attention to that market, electing instead to float around speculative fiction spaces and fellow omnivorous book bloggers online, so something like Drink Slay Love was way off my radar. But Dobbs’ review made me immediately add it to the spreadsheet—not so much because of glowing praise, but because of that premise. Somewhere in time, child Clare is throwing a tantrum and claiming that Durst stole her idea (from an awful fantasy manuscript squirreled away on a long-dead computer? Shut up, child Clare). I, as an adult and actual person, merely appreciate what Durst did with a concept I’ve always found intriguing.
The Tempering of Men by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear
I really loved A Companion to Wolves, which sets out to deconstruct the trope of spirit animals and ends up exploring what it is to be female or female-coded in a patriarchy. Deep dark truths in speculative fiction: kind of my whole deal. It made my top ten list of last year, so when Memory told me there was a sequel, I was over the moon. Of course, my excitement was tempered (oh, come on, I get one pun, surely?) by the fact the only library copy I had access to was at my hometown library, so I couldn’t immediately capitalize on my delight. And hey, the last installment is expected this year, so perhaps the wait was more luck than delay…
The Mapmaker’s War by Ronlyn Domingue
I’d never heard of Ronlyn Domingue before The Mapmaker’s War came across my desk, but I’m always intrigued when authors who write “literary fiction”—or fiction coded as such—make the leap to “genre fiction”. Y’all know I have extremely little patience with that pair of terms, since they’re mostly used to privilege certain books above others, regardless of any objective means to tell one genre from another. And yet, speculative fiction, especially the schools of science fiction and fantasy, does need to be seen in context—it’s got a history to it. We don’t need more Tolkienesque fantasy, for instance, we’ve run that into the ground several times over. So what happens when an author from outside the genre and the community tries to tackle the stuff without that weight in the back of her mind? Obviously, they’re welcome to—genre is just genre at the end of the day. But it does help, as we’ll see in the case of The Mapmaker’s War.
Did you know that there’s a The Lord of the Rings musical? Because there totally is.
For some reason, though, the fact of its existence never sank in, even when a fellow high school thespian told me about how much he’d enjoyed the stagecraft of the production when he saw it in Toronto. But last year, whist browsing TheOneRing.Net’s forums, I found out the cast recording was available on Spotify, and I began to investigate the now-closed show in earnest.
The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany
2013 looks like it’s shaping up to be the year I start exploring, in a little more seriousness, pre-Tolkien fantasy. I’ve always been fascinated by the early development of fantasy before Tolkien’s devotees accidentally crystallized the genre, and Renay and I have mentioned perhaps teaming up on some of these works. But I’m forging ahead now because I’ve heard one too many people say, “Oh, I don’t read fantasy“, and it’s either get started on this or get started on learning to spit acid. So it’s off to my other motherland with Anglo-Irish writer Lord Dunsany and his influential 1924 novel.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
based on The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Oh, come on, have you met me?
based on “Snow White” by the Brothers Grimm
I watched the trailer for Mirror Mirror several times in the months before it came out—not so much because I wanted to see the film (I did), but because the arrangement of “I Believe in Love” featured in the film is just so catchy. I searched high and low for the original, but it couldn’t slake my contemporary pop thirst. I had to wait. I bought the song (and its remix) over the summer to work out as soon as possible, but it took me until yesterday to finally sit down and watch the movie that introduced me to my favorite Iranian pop song.
When I was reading Among Others, I was particularly struck by how difficult it was for Mor, the protagonist, to find speculative fiction as a young teenager in the 1970s or even full bibliographies of authors she loves. God, I thought, what must be like to forage for the stuff? I’m inordinately blessed, to live in an age where I can easily discover what the entire works of, say, Jacqueline Carey consist of and not have to just wander down the poorly lit fantasy/sci-fi section of my public library and take a stab. (I mean, I still do, because you can’t beat that atmosphere, but I don’t have to play bookish roulette.) Pre-internet fandom utterly fascinates me by virtue of how difficult it was to simply communicate and share information compared to the embarrassment of riches we have today. How did we find the kind of books we wanted to read? Well, from 1969 to 1974, there was at least one resource for the speculative fiction crowd—the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series.
Once Upon a Time: Season One
based on various fairy tales
It’s really amazing that I didn’t pick up Once Upon a Time as soon as it started airing, given my status as a Disney freak and a general sucker for women with swords. But I didn’t realize ABC was exploiting its Disney connection to the hilt until I heard Jamie Chung had been cast as Mulan and then, after spending time with my friend Anna from high school who loves the show, I decided it was time to catch up for the second season. Which translated into binging the first season in a single weekend while cackling, screaming, and, yes, crying.