December Acquisitions

We didn’t buy each other any presents this year because we spent our December budget on going away for the holidays. However, any hopes that this decision would result in less stuff entering the house were quickly dashed by the presence of secondhand bookshops in the town where we stayed.

I was very pleased to pick up Elizabeth A. Lynn’s fantasy trilogy, The Chronicles of Tornor (1979 – 80), which I mentioned in my post about her short stories. You’ll often see one of these in secondhand bookshops, but rarely all three together.

Lynn Trilogy

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London Book Buying

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Gay’s the Word is an essential stop for us whenever we visit London. This time around, we picked up Alexis De Veaux’s Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde (2004) in the used section for £5. The used shelves also yielded up a couple of good lesbian short story collections: Anna Livia and Lilian Mohan (eds.) The Pied Piper: Lesbian Feminist Fiction (1989), which contains stories by the likes of Gillian Hanscombe, Patricia Duncker and Mary Dorcey, and Ruthann Robson’s Lambda nominated Eye of a Hurricane (1989).

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Andy bought a new copy of Lolly Willows (1926) by Sylvia Townsend Warner. This is a novel about a middle-aged spinster who abandons her family responsibilities to become a witch. She also got Ash (2009) by Malinda Lo, which is a lesbian retelling of Cinderella and had the shop assistant raving. Apparently, he’s bought it for all his friends.

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From Asimov to Banks: A Science Fiction round-up

Here, in chronological order of publication, is a round-up of science fiction books that I’ve read over the last few months, but which I don’t feel inclined to write about at great length.

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Ursula K Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)

The Left Hand of Darkness is one of my favourite books and this must be at least the fourth time I’ve read it.  On its publication The Left Hand of Darkness was received as a groundbreaking piece of science fiction, winning the Nebula Award in 1969 and the Hugo Award in 1970.  Compelling, atmospheric, sometimes frightening, it offers the reader some exquisite world-building and a story with profound meaning.

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Ursula Le Guin, ‘In Dark Places’

“Success is somebody else’s failure. Success is the American Dream we can keep dreaming because most people in most places, including thirty million of ourselves, live wide awake in the terrible reality of poverty.  No, I do not wish you success. I don’t even want to talk about it. I want to talk about failure.Because you are human beings you are going to meet failure. You are going to meet disappointment, injustice, betrayal, and irreparable loss. You will find you’re weak where you thought yourself strong. You’ll work for possessions and then find they possess you. You will find yourself — as I know you already have — in dark places, alone, and afraid.

What I hope for you, for all my sisters and daughters, brothers and sons, is that you will be able to live there, in the dark place. To live in the place that our rationalizing culture of success denies, calling it a place of exile, uninhabitable, foreign.”

– Ursula K. Le Guin

Via Feminism is the Shit

This Week’s Culture Round-up

From Eclectic Eccentric, a review of Matthew Lewis’s 1796 lurid, gothic, horror, The Monk

Andy reviews The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, which is one of my favourite horror stories. The 1963 film adaptation is also excellent if you’re looking for something to watch on Halloween.

From io9, the first lesbian science fiction novel published in 1906.

From Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations a selection of bleak alien landscapes

From Tor.com a post about Joanna Russ’s final novel, On Strike Against God with some great feminist quotes.

Another from Tor.com, Did Ursula Le Guin change the course of SF? 

Margaret Atwood has just published a book of essays about science fiction. From The Guardian, Margaret Atwood: the road to ustopia and a review from Slate.

From The Zoe-Trope, a critique of the way the term ‘Mary Sue’ is being used to denigrate female characters, You can stuff your Mary Sue where the sun don’t shine

A video tribute to Blade Runner

From Bitch Flicks, The Madwoman’s Journey from the Attic into the Television – The Female Gothic Novel and its influence on Modern Horror Films.  Bitch Flicks is currently doing a series on women and horror film.

From Genevieve Valentine writing at Strange Horizons, a review of The Fall

Markgraf  from Bad Reputation went to see The Three Muskateers . I recommend reading his review before spending any money on this film.

From Cracked, Great movies from the villain’s point of view.  I think my personal favourite is Terrible Shepherds!

And another one from Cracked, The 6 most mind blowing things ever discovered in space