Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dorothea Dreams by Suzy McKee Charnas: now available

Aqueduct Press's reissue of Suzy McKee Charnas's wonderful Dorothea Dreams is now available through Aqueduct's website-- and, until July 1 (its official publication date), for $12 (which is a $4 reduction in price). Actually, this edition is revised. (Yep: Samuel R. Delany isn't the only sf author with a penchant for tinkering with previously published prose!) This is an extremely attractive volume (as many people told us when they picked it up and handled it at our table at WisCon), with a cover designed by Anna Tambour. It also includes an introduction by Delia Sherman, who fell in love with the book on first sight a bit more than twenty years ago. Here's a snippet of the intro:
For me, Dorothea Dreams is the most purely beautiful of [Suzy McKee Charnas's] novels. It is certainly the one that speaks most directly to my own fears and obsessions. When I read it, I am proud to be a woman, proud to be an artist, even proud to be asthmatic and mortal and fallible, because they're all part of being human. And that's what art and literature are about, aren't they? The glory and shame of the human condition.

Suzy sent me a copy of a letter, with James Tiptree, Jr.'s comment (dated 25 November, 1985) on it: "It's an intimate book, a book to savour privately. [Suzy McKee Charnas] has a high-burning talent." I like that one, especially. But I think my favorite sentence from all the reviews the book collected back in the 1980s is this one, from UPI International (which no longer exists): "The plot in Dorothea Dreams starts slowly and explodes like the dreams that shake Dorothea from her sleep with visions of the French Revolution and blood-thirsty crowds." With all that is going on in the novel, that sentence nails the key event of the book: Dorothea's full awakening into the world she lives in. This book, for me, is really about the artist and the artist's relation to her world and her work on the one hand, and the relation between the work and the world on the other. If these relations interest you, then I know you'll want to read Dorothea Dreams.

You can purchase the book now here.

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