Category: Doug

Aug 10 2019

Conversations on Writing by Ursula K. Le Guin and David Naimon

Conversations on Writing

Conversations on Writing grew from three sets of discussions between Ursula K. Le Guin and David Naimon for the Oregon radio station KBOO. She completed her introduction to this volume less than four months before her death in January 2018; Naimon wrote his not quite two weeks after her passing, it’s a touching valediction. “I …

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Aug 09 2019

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach

For the epigraph to Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, Robson riffs on the old saying about the past being a foreign country. Instead of “they do things differently there” she has “we want to colonize it.” That’s the first indication that her novella will eventually be a time-travel story. The next is the abrupt …

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Aug 04 2019

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

One of the things that science fiction can do better than many other genres of literature is to take an abstract philosophical or metaphorical problem and make it very, very literal. “Am I forever defined by my past?” is a popular introspective question. “How do I deal with all of these other beings around me?” …

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Aug 03 2019

Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti: The Night Masquerade

It’s nearly impossible to talk about Binti: The Night Masquerade without discussing elements of Binti and Binti: Home, so I am not even going to try. And to be honest, the best thing that happens in Binti: The Night Masquerade, from a storytelling perspective, is a plot surprise a bit more than halfway through the …

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Jul 29 2019

The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard

The Tea Master and the Detective

The Tea Master and the Detective introduced me to Aliette de Bodard’s Xuya universe, an interstellar setting that sprang from an alternate Earth history in which East Asian powers and cultures dominated the age of discovery and thus also the leap into space. Her web site says that the more recent stories are influenced by …

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Jul 27 2019

Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti: Home

Binti told the classic science fiction story of a talented young person from the hinterlands — and an outsider from an outsider people in those hinterlands — who gains admission to wider worlds by dint of talent and hard work. Unlike many of those stories, though, Binti’s is interrupted by violence and tragedy even before she …

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Jul 24 2019

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

The Black God's Drums

“The night in New Orleans always got something going on, ma maman used to say—like this city don’t know how to sleep.” (p. 7) It doesn’t, and neither does P. Djèlí Clark’s splendid, exciting, enchanting novella The Black God’s Drums. Clark’s first-person narrator, a slightly feral young woman named Creeper, makes her own way in …

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Jul 22 2019

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning delivers perfectly cromulent action and adventure in the Navajo corner of a world that has suffered a partly supernatural climate apocalypse. Maggie, the book’s first-person narrator, is a badass. Trained by a near-god in the arts of combat, she adds magical powers of speed and killing prowess, powers drawn from her Navajo …

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Jul 21 2019

Tauben im Gras by Wolfgang Koeppen

Tauben im Gras by Wolfgang Koeppen

Wolfgang Koeppen was born in 1906 and thus grew up in Germany’s Weimar years. He published his first two novels after the Nazi takeover but before the war began. At first, his work as a scriptwriter for film studios in Munich made him exempt from the draft. Following a bomb attack, he went underground and …

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Jul 21 2019

The Night Manager by John Le Carré

The Night Manager by John Le Carré

Not quite 100 pages in on this one, I pronounced the Eight Deadly Words. Sorry, eponymous Jonathan. Even sorrier, Sophie, who lived and died some years before the main action, and who existed to give Jonathan regrets. And perhaps to show that the corrupt Egyptian brothers might be a darker shade of grey than the …

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