Galen here, sneaking in and taking over Marlene’s blog today while she sleeps in (cue a quiet “mwa-ha-ha”). We’ve been in Detroit since Wednesday to attend Detcon1, the North American Science Fiction Convention.
We made sure this time to leave room in our luggage to take books and other stuff back home. Here’s what we got so far from the dealer’s room (and we were able to get all but one of these signed!):
- Codex Born by Jim C. Hines
- Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
- Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor
- One-Eyed Jack by Elizabeth Bear
- Ragamuffin by Tobias S. Buckell
- Crystal Rain by Tobias S. Buckell
Of course, I got rather more book recommendations than physical books — which is nice, since it’s so embarrassing when the plane gets so overloaded that it has to hop rather than fly.
The YA guest of honor is Nnedi Okorafor. Yesterday I went to a reading and Q&A she conducted. The books that she recommended, wrote, or influenced her flew fast and furious:
- Wizard of the Crow by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
- Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
- The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
- Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
- Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
- The Famished Road by Ben Okri
Another panel I went to was about where folks who have not yet read Octavia Butler should start. One of the wonderful things about the panel, in addition to the energy of the panelists (Nnedi Okorafor, adrienne maree brown, Tananarive Due, and Ellen Denham), was that there were four different well-reasoned opinions on the question. So if you can’t decide, print out this blog post, tape it to the wall, and throw a dart at:
- Parable of the Sower
- Wild Seed
- Dawn (first book of the Lilith’s Brood sequence)
- Bloodchild: And Other Stories
- If you don’t normally read science fiction, you may want to start with Kindred rather than Dawn.
At the panel I also learned of an exciting project called Octavia’s Brood, which will be publishing an anthology of visionary speculative fiction by social justice organizers and activists — I’m really looking forward to it.
Another list of book recommendations came from a question asked at the Gender Roles in Genre Fiction panel: what books do you recommend for their role in busting tired gender tropes:
- Love and Rockets by the Hernandez brothers
- Hild by Nicola Griffith
- Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (reviewed here)
- The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal
- The Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey, starting with Kushiel’s Dart
I’m looking forward to reading the books on this list, and I hope, Gentle Reader, that you also find interesting avenues to explore.