June 9th, 2014

earthsea

May Books 26) Flora Segunda, by Ysabeau Wilce

I enjoyed this more than I expected. It's quite deceptive - starts off as just another story of a teenage daughter of the local warrior ruler (slight twist in that it's her mother rather than her father) who gets into trouble by picking sides in difficult politics and trying to intervene. But about two-thirds of the way through it turns out that we have been slightly misdirected, and the story is now about Flora needing to escape from the life-threatening consequences of her own (well-intentioned) actions; and then it gets into the unexpected re-imagining of her family's own recent history, and ends very well. Points also for use of ð and þ.

earthsea

May Books 27) Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand, by Samuel R. Delany

I do recommend reading sf classics at the same time as you work your way through this year's Hugo shortlist. It's a good yardstick for checking what's changed in the field and what hasn't. This is quite a long book, which ends without an ending, promising a second half of the story which has never appeared (and now that we are thirty years on probably shouldn't); there's lush and intense description, innovative use of pronouns (as in this year's top nominee Ancillary Justice, slavery, brain damage and a fair bit of bloke-on-bloke sex. The far future environment is rather reminiscent of the Culture, though of course the inspiration if any must be the other way round. Not a super fun read, but glad to have absorbed it and let it sink in.