Ada Palmer, of Ex Urbe, and historian at University of Chicago, has just published her first novel, Too Like the Lightning.

I just finished it (though there was one scene that almost made me stop reading, for real) and would love to talk about it, but I'm not going to spoil you.

Instead, I'm going to give you the jacket blurb, and hope that intersts those of you who haven't picked it up yet:

Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer–a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labeling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life…
I've created a page for Jo Walton's The Just City at TV tropes. Anyone who has read the book want to add to it?

If you haven't read The Just City yet, it's a pretty awesome book -- Athena with the help of 300 adults from across human history, tries to create The Just City from Plato's The Republic on Thera, before the explosion. It goes about as well as you might imagine, given 300 idealists from many different eras, whose only commonality is that they've read Plato in the original Greek and prayed to Athena to let them create the Just City.
neotoma: Death knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men (Discworld)
( Sep. 26th, 2012 09:22 pm)
On Sunday I went down to the National Book Festival with [personal profile] greenygal, [personal profile] holli and [personal profile] ellen_fremedon to hear Lois McMaster Bujold speak -- well, [personal profile] greenygal and I got there early to hear Craig Thompson's talk which was scheduled before Bujold, and the other joined us.

Bujold's talk was a reprise of the one she gave this year at the ALA -- "what would the world be like without science fiction as a genre?" -- which was interesting and posited that since Mary Shelley's Frankenstien is really the first SF story, there would be a lot of changes. Frankly, I'm not sure you can get through the Industrial Revolution without developing something like science fiction -- possibly it's an idea for another science fiction story -- but it was an interesting speech. She then read a short excerpt from Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, and took some questions from the audience; sadly, it seems like she has nothing in the works right at the moment, though she does want to write a fourth and fifth Chalion book.

Everyone else got their books signed -- I still haven't found my in the unpacking. We also chatted with some nice people in the signing line -- [personal profile] blushingflower and her SO (or friend, I wasn't sure). It's hilarious how type-y fangirls are -- we talked books, SGA, knitting, and historical costuming, among other things.

For myself, I haven't gotten any real revisions done on my [ profile] sabriel_mini, which is bad because posting starts soon. I don't suppose anyone wants to read the draft and give me a push? It's about 20K.

I think much of my problem is work. I'm alternately busy, bored, and frustrated with the new position, and it makes an impact once I get home too. Often, I'll be tired and go to bed by 9 -- and then wake up at 4:30 restless and not be able to sleep again.

I do have ideas for other stories rattling around as well -- the spaceship AU, some kind of Kali/Gabriel story, and a story that I was collaborating on a while ago that I'm having more ideas for, but I need to see if the other author has GAFIATed, been swamped by Real Life, or what, and whether she'd be okay with me finishing it on my own. I really shouldn't commit to anything else until I get some revisions done, but I kind of want to sign up for [ profile] team_free_love's Secret Lovers Exchange -- I didn't do it last year, and I missed the fun I had the year before.

I kind of want to do Yuletide this year -- I actually have fandoms I want to nominate: The Almighty Johnsons, Bite me! by Dylan Meconis, and Mirabile by Janet Kagan -- though I think I only want to write for Mirabile or maybe Bite Me! Yuletide is such a crazy commitment (not enough time for me to be comfortable), and the last time I did it my recipient really really wanted a story about giant lizards eating people, since that was the only common thread in all the requested fandoms I got. And I have no idea what I'd request this time round, either...
[community profile] dc_nonfiction_bookgroup is live! The first post, asking what month and weekday people want to kick this off on, and what book they want to read, is up.

Those of you who are interested in reading and discussing a non-fiction book every other month, spread the word! Tell your friends! Bring other readers to the group!

Even if you aren't in the DC Metro area, join the community, because I plan to make posts specifically for on-line discussion of the books being read, so you can participate as well.
200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes...

This clip illustrates exactly why when someone starts talking about the 'good old days', I tend to downgrade them in my estimation of their intelligence and common sense.

Also, when fiction writers complain about how awful the 20th century was (I'm looking at you, SPN), I know that they don't have a clue -- there were many things wrong with the 20th century, but people not dying of measles, mumps and polio in childhood and actually managing to make it out subsistence poverty? Not a bad thing, at all.

Yes, there were awful, horrible wars. Otoh, most people thought that war was a bad thing, instead of an exciting chance for the elites to prove their bravery, and there were not roving bands of discharged-soldiers-turned-brigands destroying the countryside, holding towns hostage for go-away bribes, or actual class warfare where the workers killed the landowners, or religious figures proclaiming crusades to distract people from the fact that they were selling church benefices. I've been reading Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous 14th Century, and 14th century France had all that *and* the Black Death.

Anyone who thinks things were better 200 years ago is invited to go live the life of the average person in the UK or the Netherlands (the richest, healthiest countries) of that time period, which still means a life expectancy of 40 years, and annual income of under $4000.


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags