Tag Archives: fairies

Tuck Boxes, Literary High Ground, and the SF Community

Mmmm coffee cake. I have just returned from Raeli’s Book Week parade. She dressed up as Rhapsody from the Fairies which isn’t overly literary (though she has several of their books!) but she came up with the idea herself, based on a trouble-free costume she already had, so who was I to argue? I was also delighted that her obsession with Cats the Musical has gone viral, as her friend Inigo insisted on going as Macavity. Not sure if he had a copy of TS Eliot with him. 😀

The coffee cake came from the cake stall. Mmmm. Also from the Book Fair, I picked up a classic Alice in Wonderland colouring book and Egyptian sticker book for Raeli for our upcoming plane trip, and got myself a biography of Beatrix Potter purely because I adored the cover, plus she was heralded on it as a ‘Victorian genius’ which blew my mind. A female children’s author who drew slightly morbid pretty pictures (seriously, have you ever read Jemima Puddleduck, that book is MESSED UP) heralded as a genius! And a Victorian rebel, too. Had to buy it.

Anyway, getting distracted. On the way back I was listening to the latest Coode Street podcast in the car, and very pleased to get a shout out from some conversations I’ve had lately with Jonathan Strahan. Am totally working for my Feminist Advisory Committee t-shirt.

Once you get past the 10 or so minutes of discussion about what might or might not be happening with Gary’s microphone (SERIOUSLY, guys, learn to use the pause button!) I was interested to hear further discussion of the ongoing conversation they’ve been having about the core or centre of science fiction, and how that may or may not be the same thing.

Personally I really dislike the idea of science fiction having to have a core, mostly because I’m pretty sure the stuff I think should be in it is different to other people’s – I’ll have my own, core, thanks! And Jonathan acknowledged this, referring to a conversation we had when I pointed out that the younger you are, the more off-putting it is to be told (or have it implied) that you basically have to catch up on 60 or 70 (the younger you are the bigger the number gets) years worth of core material, before your opinion is worth something.

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Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire

October “Toby” Daye is living a lie. She may be a Changeling and Faery Knight, but she also has a human partner and child who don’t even know what she looks like beneath her glamour. One fateful night, while hunting for her liege lord’s missing family, she is captured and bespelled – and loses fourteen years.

When you’re the mother of a two-year-old, it’s tough to lose fourteen years.

This is probably one of the best combinations of faerie lore and detective noir fiction I’ve read in some time. The worldbuilding and the shifting between one world and another were done very cleverly, and I liked the way that the faeries had integrated into modern culture, so that all manner of parks, buildings and restaurants throughout the city were Official Territory. I also liked the fact that romance wasn’t a priority as it so often is in this kind of urban fantasy. Toby has her share of romantic and sexual baggage, but there was no obvious Mr Right (or even Mr Right Now) flagged in this first volume, which gave us plenty of time to focus on the more interesting relationships.

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Perchance to Dream, Lisa Mantchev

This second volume is the follow up to Lisa Mantchev’s delightful and surreal Eyes Like Stars, a YA fantasy set in the literal backstage of the Theatre Illuminata, a place so magical that all the characters of every play ever written can be found on the stage.

Bertie, the theatre foundling who has only just discovered the truth of half her parentage, is on a quest to save Nate, the man she loves. She has ventured outside the theatre for the first time in her life, accompanied by the elusively attractive Ariel, and the boisterous Midsummer Night’s Dream fairies, to rescue Nate from the seawitch, armed only with a book and her new status as Mistress of the Revels.

As with Eyes Like Stars, the magic of this book is strange and unreliable. Bertie’s new powers enable her to write any event and have it come true, but it rarely happens in any predictable or desirable way. The world outside the theatre is strange and dark, and the ground is never completely solid under Bertie’s feet. Out here, she finally learns the truth of who her father is, and how she came to be abandoned parentless in the Theatre Illuminata. She is also, through their many adventures, challenged to prove her love for Nate, and to confront the feelings she also has for Ariel.

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