Ursula Le Guin’s final collaborator, David Naimon, joins LARB podcasters to talk about his new book, Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing, and his experience of working with Le Guin during the last years of her life.
In a future in which most hereditary diseases have been cured, Jimson Allecca is one of the unlucky ones. His rare form of cancer is treatable only as long as he stays on the colony world of New Terrain. To leave the planet, he’d have to get on a star ship and go for a ride through The Hype. Doing this would quickly and fatally accelerate his condition.
Jimson is a celebrated artist with a privileged life, but he decides that his desire to experience “a different light” is more important than reaching old age. He undergoes a sinister telepathic examination and receives permission to leave New Terrain. While hanging around in Port City, looking for a ship to take him off-world, he meets Leiko Tamura, an-out-of-work pilot who becomes his lover. Leiko introduces him to the Port Bar, Rin’s, where he meets Ysao, an engineer and a giant of a man.
In a final, desperate bid for survival, Frances Lorien Van de Oest, heiress to a vast fortune, escapes from her kidnappers and finds herself thrust, naked and bleeding, onto the cold dark streets of an unknown city. There, she is picked up by a charismatic thief named Spanner and reborn as Lore, someone for whom identity has become a fractured, shifting, untrustworthy thing.
Slow River unfolds gradually. The opening narrative, told by Lore in the first person, is set three years after the kidnap, and a few months after her breakup with Spanner. The second narrative tells the story of life with Spanner, beginning immediately after Lore escapes from the kidnappers. The third follows her upbringing, at two year intervals, from the age of five until she is abducted. This triple narrative structure creates a powerful sense of momentum. Lore’s stories move forward in parallel towards a point of convergence, both in terms of time and self.
I’ve been looking out for books by Julie Czerneda for a while, so I was pleased to pick up a copy of Beholder’s Eye (1998) in a secondhand bookshop today.
Following the Guardian’s male-centred article about fantasy, and the #womeninfantasy pushback on twitter, Senny Dreadful posts some thoughts and a massive reading list: Women in Fantasy: Disrupting in Circle
Africa is a Country has a piece on the ways in which African and Afro-diasporic writers are pushing the boundaries of science fiction The Aliens Have Already Landed: The Landscape of African and Afro-Diasporic Science Fiction
A new crowd-funded anthology, Defying Doomsday, will place disabled characters at the forefront of the narrative.
The Kirkus published a good longread on the work of the amazing Joanna Russ, The Radical Joanna Russ