Sunday, October 09, 2011

Time to Pick a New Book

Margaret Atwood is publishing a book this October about science fiction which inspired me to put together a list of books that are considered science fiction (or fantasy) that you may be surprised by. As Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide says, Don't Panic! All of the books on the list were nominated for, or won a Tiptree Award. The award is given to a work of science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores gender. The books on the list are from all along the genre spectrum from you'd-never-know-it-was-scifi-unless-someone-told-you to the "way out" and "totally bizarre" if the group feels like it wants to be daring. So without further ado...


  1. The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon. From Amazon: "If I had not been what I am, what would I have been?" wonders Lou Arrendale, the autistic hero of Moon's compelling exploration of the concept of "normalcy" and what might happen when medical science attains the knowledge to "cure" adult autism. Arrendale narrates most of this book in a poignant earnestness that verges on the philosophical and showcases Moon's gift for characterization.


  2. Wild Life by Molly Gloss. From Amazon: Molly Gloss delivers a rare blend of “heady cerebral satisfactions, gorgeous prose, and page-turning adventure” (Karen Joy Fowler). Set among lava sinkholes and logging camps at the fringe of the Northwest frontier in the early 1900s, WILD LIFE charts the life — both real and imagined — of the free-thinking, cigar-smoking, trouser-wearing Charlotte Bridger Drummond, who pens popular women’s adventure stories. One day, when a little girl gets lost in the woods, Charlotte anxiously joins the search and embarks on an adventure all her own. With great assurance and skill, Molly Gloss quickly transforms what at first seems to be pitch-perfect historical fiction into a kind of wild and woolly mystery story, as Charlotte herself becomes lost in the dark and tangled woods and falls into the company of an elusive band of mountain giants. Putting a surprising and revitalizing feminist spin on the classic legend of Tarzan and other wild-man sagas, Gloss takes us from the wilds of the western frontier to the wilds of the human heart.


  3. China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh. From Amazon: In its pages, we enter a postrevolution America, moving from the hyperurbanized eastern seaboard to the Arctic bleakness of Baffin Island; from the new Imperial City to an agricultural commune on Mars. The overlapping lives of cyberkite fliers, lonely colonists, illicit neural-pressball players, and organic engineers blend into a powerful, taut story of a young man's journey of discovery. This is a macroscopic world of microscopic intensity, one of the most brilliant visions of modern SF.


  4. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. From Amazon: Its clearest influences are Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy and M. John Harrison's Viriconium books, but it isn't much like them. It's Dickensian in scope, but fast-paced and modern. It's a love song for cities, and it packs a world into its strange, sprawling, steam-punky city of New Crobuzon. It can be read with equal validity as fantasy, science fiction, horror, or slipstream. It's got love, loss, crime, sex, riots, mad scientists, drugs, art, corruption, demons, dreams, obsession, magic, aliens, subversion, torture, dirigibles, romantic outlaws, artificial intelligence, and dangerous cults.


  5. Life by Gwyneth Jones. From Amazon: "Life" is a richly textured fictional biography of the brilliant Anna Senoz, a scientist who makes a momentous discovery about the X and Y chromosomes. Anna's discovery provokes widespread sexual rage and impacts cruelly on her career, her marriage, and her child. Ultimately, Anna faces a challenge that the practice of science alone cannot meet. You can also read more about the book from Nic at Eve's Alexandria



Voting will be open through Saturday, October 15th.

12 comments:

Rebecca H. said...

Thanks, Stefanie! I vote for Wild Life, by Molly Gloss.

litlove said...

The choosing is always fun, isn't it? My vote goes to Life (the last one on the list).

liliannattel said...

The Speed of Dark or Wild Life would be my choice.

Kate S. said...

My vote is for Molly Gloss's "Wild Life."

SFP said...

Wild Life. I also wouldn't mind reading China Mountain Zhang or Perdido Street Station.

Sorry for missing The Golden Mean. I bought the book, then let time get away with me.

Danielle said...

They all sound interesting and I think I'd be happy to read any (and I promise to be better next time around), but I think I also will vote for Wild Life by Molly Gloss. Second choice would be for China Mieville, who I have wanted to read for a while.

Frances said...

Would love the China Mieville.

Rohan Maitzen said...

My vote would be for Perdido Street Station, as China Mieville is a writer I've been interested in getting to know.

And I, too, am sorry about missing the Golden Mean read/discussion.

Rebecca H. said...

I don't want to be a downer about the Mieville (I'd like to read him too), but I thought you might like to know it's a chunkster, at something like 600 or 700 pages (that's what Amazon says) depending on edition. Not that we can't read something long, but I'm not sure everyone knew that and it might make a difference. (I'm not trying to get you to vote for my choice, really!)

Iliana said...

I've been meaning to read China Mieville for a really long time so my vote goes for that one. I promise I'll really make an effort to read our selection this time around!! :)

Jodie said...

Oh my GOD it's sci-fi month with the Slaves! I want to do this one so much. I vote for 'Life' (because I desperately want this to be a sci-fi, slaves and female author month, plus there was this really smart set of discussion posts about the book at Torque Control lately) but I would totally get the gigantic 'Perdido Street Station' if that won.

Grad said...

I'll go with Wild Life - especially since my library has a copy...or The Speed of Dark...or Perdido Street Station (in that order). I too am sorry I missed the last few discussions.