The Power Of Time: Josephine Saxton
I wanted to read Queen Of The States, but could I find it? I could not. My loft ate it, along with Nicola Griffith’s Ammonite & Lisa Vonarberg’s
Not Before Sundown: Johanna Sinisalo
A sex-and-horror lifestyle story, very readable and stylish, blink and it’s gone. Cryptic, rather worrying subtext equates male homosexual desire with the Beast of the Apocalypse. Trolls (sexy beasts), called up by Gaia from the Finnish forests, in response to the human threat to the planet, draw patriarchy to its nemesis, one worthless lover at a time.
I’d never read the Talents series, I stopped at Xenogenesis. Couldn’t get hold of Parable of the Sower, I’d spent a mad number of rainy summer hours buried in this heap of books, & my family had declared me missing, so I made do with episode 2. A different, nineties take on the savage death-throes of patriarchy.
Octavia Butler is an extraordinary case. A very private person, compromise not in her vocabulary; a great loss. A Black US woman with a powerful literary & educational presence, a certified “genius”, and an writer who may be read as feminist-sf: what a combination! Yet her material is unremittingly harsh towards women’s chances of finding a solution. Sense of destiny, spiritual illumination, sure, but scarcely a glimmer of actual hope. Rather like Doris Lessing (the Nobel laureate) in this respect. Major works, minor key, little comfort. Difficult to sort out the personal message of a powerful writer from the “message” she delivers about her times.
That’s all folks. Please note, these are not considered reviews, they’re edited and clarified from tactless off the cuff remarks, scribbled at the reader’s elbow. PS: some critical studies:
Daughters of Earth, ed. Justine Larbalastier.
What a great idea for a format! (collection of sf stories by women, each with accompanying critical essay, stories chosen by the essayists). I esp. enjoyed revisiting Pat Murphy’s “Rachel In Love”, and reading Karen Joy Fowler’s “What I Didn’t See” for the first time, which lead me to the annals of an interesting controversy. Is it sf? I don’t know. I can’t really envisage reading this story without realising it’s a commentary on “The Women Men Don’t See”
Utopian And Science Fiction By Women: Jane Donawerth & Carol Kolmerton
Very useful historical background and academic overview.
Women Of Other Worlds: Helen Merrick and Tess Williams.
Ditto, but definitely not a dry academic text (which Donawerth and Kolmerton tends towards). Especially rich in vintage writer interviews (long one with Suzy Charnas) and fandom history.