Tag Archives: science fantasy

Let Your Inner Light Shine: Guest Post by Erin Zarro

Since I’m taking a week away from the Internet, I asked the lovely Erin Zarro if she would do a guest post for me, and boy, did she deliver. Here she is to talk about following your dreams…

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As a child, I was mercilessly teased and taunted by others.  It left me with scars that have never quite healed.  To this day, I always feel like someone’s watching me and having a good laugh.  Even though that’s totally not the case.  It made me feel like less of a person, a freak, for so long.  It really hurt me, deep inside, and I went through many years of therapy and depression and soul-searching.  But I’m getting better now, through medication and writing.

I recently made the decision to self-publish my work as opposed to finding an agent.  My debut novel Fey Touched, which released on August 1st, is a mix of both sci-fi and fantasy (and a bit of horror, too) and I wasn’t sure if there was even a market for that sort of thing.  And if an agent would take it on.  They only take what they know they can sell.  So I loved this book, loved the concept, and made the decision.  I would let my inner light shine.  Scars and imperfections and all.  I would make my mark on the world through my words.

What prompted this, you are probably wondering.  A clinically depressed writer would probably believe her stuff sucked and would never sell.  Yep, been there, done that, got the tee shirt.  Why would I put myself out there, out to possible ridicule and nasty commentary?  Why would I take that kind of chance with this beautiful book I love so much?  Was I insane?

No, but I owe it all to Adam Lambert.

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Friday Link: Cover Reveal

Thanks again to all the fabulous guest bloggers who kept the lights on while I was away! I’ll be back for real on Monday, but in the meantime, I have some exciting news. The indie press I’m a member of, Turtleduck Press, has a new science fantasy novel coming out in less than a month, and the cover has just gone public. Take a look:

Fey Touched by Erin Zarro

Isn’t it pretty? To read more about the novel, hop over to Erin Zarro’s blog.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday!

Books: Exploring Science Fantasy

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffreyAs a reader, I’m all over the spectrum of speculative fiction. I’ve been known to enjoy everything from hard science fiction, like Peter Watts‘s Blindsight, to epic fantasy, like George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. (I’ve written a pretty big variety of stuff, too. I also read and occasionally write outside speculative fiction, but that’s beyond the scope of this post.)

One thing that has always fascinated me is the way subgenres nudge up against one another, how the lines are drawn, where they grow fuzzy. Is a zombie story science fiction or horror? What about a time travel story or a superhero story? How about things like Star Wars, whose genre classification depends on whether you prioritize scientific accuracy over the presence of spaceships? Today I’m looking at one of my favourite areas of genre-bending — science fantasy and variations thereof.

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If You Liked… A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones book coverSo you liked A Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire and you want more of the same. Certain online retail giants can give you some ideas for other books. But there are a lot of facets to the story and the world that George R. R. Martin has built. Different facets appeal to different people, and that means there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to recommendations. For this edition of “If You Liked…”, I’m going to concentrate on character preferences.

If your favourite character is…

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Book Nostalgia: The Time Quartet by Madeleine L’Engle

Like many of us, I devoured a lot of books when I was young. More than a few of them have become books that I can’t look at with any sort of objectivity now, books whose words are still lodged deep in my brain. A reread might show that they’ve been visited by the Suck Fairy. Yet they might still hold some of the emotional power that grabbed me so strongly back then. This post is the first in a series that looks back at some of my favourites.

First up is Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quartet – A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters. (I haven’t read any of her books about the next generation of Murry-O’Keefes, or the fifth book that made the original series into the Time Quintet.) I reread the original four, and was struck by what I remembered and how it shifted.

The first two are Meg’s books, and they’ve become my favourites. Meg, the awkward, bespectacled girl, was someone I identified with very strongly. I was fascinated by the subgenre of science fantasy, in which ~magic, space travel, science, and classical evil are juxtaposed – one reason why I loved Diane Duane‘s Young Wizards series as well. While I generally prefer antagonists with believable, human reasons for doing what they do, the Echthroi are damn creepy, and Meg’s standing up to them in each of these two stories (to save Charles Wallace in both, plus her father in the first and her hated school principal in the second) rings of fairy-tale heroism in the best way.

I’m going to skip to Many Waters, which I remember being confused by, and my recent reread confirms that impression. The pre-Flood world, with its seraphim, nephilim, and miniature mammoths, is a strange place, and what little we see of it doesn’t convey the level of evil I would have expected to make the Flood necessary. There’s also not a lot of plot or character development; Sandy and Dennys spend most of the book waiting around or gardening or worrying about the flood, and they return to their world in much the same state as when they left it. (Tip of the hat to Narnia here, in which the Pevensies spend years as kings and queens and then go back to being children – something that was pretty much left out of the books, much as I love them, but explored very nicely in the recent films.)

A Swiftly Tilting Planet coverA Swiftly Tilting Planet [ASTP] is the one I have the most complicated relationship with. When I first read it, it was hands-down my favourite – time travel, destinies, exotic locales, wordplay with names, and unicorns, oh my! (Lloyd Alexander’s The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha tickled my fancy in the same way. It was my favourite of his until the Westmark trilogy took over – I was also a sucker for princesses posing as beggars.) But in my recent reread, I was highly disappointed to find a passive protagonist who’s just along for the ride – which I realize is the point, but it doesn’t make for gripping reading – plus some uncomfortable hints of racism and the “Noble Savage”. The Suck Fairy was at work.

At the same time, ASTP still holds seriously powerful writing. L’Engle’s lyrical prose, in this book particularly but also in the preceding two, made such a huge impression on me as a child that rereading it felt like unearthing hidden corners of my brain. (It’s in there so deeply that I have to assume my own prose has been influenced by it. Or at least I can hope!) Same goes for some of the sequences – the Murrys holding hands and singing “Dona Nobis Pacem” as a desperate prayer for peace, the sections where Charles Wallace is trapped in the brain-damaged Chuck, the gradual redemption of “Beezie”, and of course the wonderful rune. There are some things that the Suck Fairy just can’t touch.

 

For another take on rereading the Time Quartet and L’Engle’s other books, see The Madeleine L’Engle Reread on Tor.com.

 

Have you reread any of these books or another childhood favourite as an adult? How did it hold up? If the Suck Fairy visited, which parts did she leave untouched?