The Queen of the Tearling portrays the early stages of a quest where reason may be more relevant than you might expect.
Archive for 'Books'
In an era when fantasy seems enthralled by long series of huge volumes that seem to pass by like freight trains at a crossing when you’re trying to get somewhere, Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King serves as a reminder that there are considerable virtues yet to be found by efficient, on-the-ground storytelling propelled more by plot than by setting, with crisp dialogue, humane characters, and a distinct inward spiral of rapid-fire events.
“Let Maps to Others” is certainly be my favorite piece here. A ironic and blackly humorous account of the rediscovery of a Prester John-style kingdom lost to history involves scholarly rivalry and deceit and royal bull-headedness. It’s comic gold where, as in much comedy, the most vile deeds are the funniest.
Tim Pratt’s writing just keeps getting better and better. In Heirs of Grace, his voice feels dialed in. The writing is tight and sassy without wasting one word and he makes it seem easy.
In this era of climate change, when the very fate of the biosphere and consequently the fate of our species is up for debate, it’s more important than ever that SF exert its intelligence on the ecologies we inhabit. This is precisely the intention and accomplishment of Green Planets, another of the typically outstanding genre-connected critical works from Wesleyan University Press.
What Laline Paull has accomplished here is multivalent: a rumination on nature; a portrait of the struggle between individual and the stifling matrix of society; and a depiction of how humanity might organize itself along different lines. I’d call it, in the end, science fiction at its best.
What is surprising is its relative brevity, its light-hearted zip, and its rollicking comic tone, compared to the gravitas and black, piercingly satirical humor of his other books. Which is not to say that Morrow’s central theme of the role of religion in humanity’s affairs is absent.