Good Haul

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at ic.ac.uk
Wed Jun 27 05:57:36 EDT 2001


Many of these I hadn't heard of- I'll look out for the names when I'm next
in a sf shop.

From: Sally Odgers 

> >The Gate to Women's Country, Sheri S Tepper - This author has been highly
>recommended, but I haven't actually got to reading her. Something about her
>name (how petty!) put me off.
I really like this one, and two early series, The True Game trilogy and a
"sequel trilogy" to it which all have Jinian in the title. Marvellous
worlds, great characters. Most of her other, more recent, books are too
intense for my tastes- I like Raising The Stones best of the sf ones,
mostly, I think, because less emotionally exhausting things happen.  (It's
odd- I don't think as many awful things happen to the protagonist in Grass
as in RTS, and yet it feels more wearing to read.) All this is IMO, of
course, lots of people don't find this at all.

> >The Secret of Platform 13, Eva Ibbotson. - I've read most of her others
>and enjoyed them.
Ditto- Which Witch is a terrific book.

> >Spindle's End, Robin McKinley - Have been wondering whether to buy this.
>She's usually very good, but sometimes a bit too painful... got to be in
the
>right mood.
Hmmmm... I've never found this, and yet I can see what you mean. I liked
Spindle's End, it was nicely different to Sleeping Beauty, and the setting
and how magic worked were brilliant. Loved the princess, and the place she
lived, and how the spell caught her, and how it was broken, [I don't think
this counts as a spoiler, unless knowing that it is based on Sleeping Beauty
is a spoiler!] and there are bits of backstory I would like to have had more
of, like to have known more about the magician. I found the ending a bit
sad-feeling and not entirely satisfying (even though everything was
resolved.) 
I wish she'd do something that wasn't a fairy-tale, though- she creates
places I really want to go to, and yet if they're based on a story I know, I
sort of feel there's a barrier.  How much freedom do the characters have to
do their own thing and make their own mistakes if the story they are living
isn't the author's own, and we know that the original ends up neatly tied
off in a happy ending? (One of Terry Pratchett's books, Witches Abroad, has
a baddie who tries to force everyone to live Happily Ever After- to follow
the plots of tales- whether they want to or not.) If magic *has* to work in
such a way that a lord can be turned to a Beast and Beauty's love can save
him, there isn't the freedom that McKinley had in Damar, where the kelar has
a mind of its own. 
Actually, it's a bit like Howl's Moving Castle in a way- I love the book,
the *people* are real, and yet Ingary isn't as real to me as Dalemark,
because it's introduced as "a fairy-tale land where everybody knows that the
miller's third son will marry the princess"- so even though it isn't
*really* like that, it feels more constrained, you have to suspend disbelief
in a different way than when you start reading Cart and Cwidder and just
pick up the way Dalemark is- I think it's another layer of "fiction" between
me and the words. Hmmm, maybe that's part of why Dark Lord wasn't as
compelling as some of her others- she was having to include other peoples'
expectations/conceptions, and even though she was flouting them, they gave
her less room for her own work. It's like, I dunno, making a pancake, where
you make the batter and pour it in the pan and it makes its own shape, but
if there's something else in the pan the pancake has to be a funny shape to
fit round it.

>Oh, and as my oblig DWJ ref... I found a copy of Wild Robert recently and
>bought that, and drooled over a beautiful pb of FIRE AND HEMLOCK...
>convinced myself, sadly, I didn't need a new copy. Sigh.
"No! I've already got copies of everything, I don't need more. Put. The.
Book. Down. Go look at Elizabeth Moon or somebody. Do not buy multiple
copies! That way lies madness!"

(My boyfriend is reading Hexwood. Ha! I knew I'd get him in the end. Deep
Secret next, to get him hooked, and then hit him with the hard stuff,
Magicians of Caprona or Spellcoats or Howl. Mwahahaha!)
Jennifer
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