Planet of Exile (Hainish Cycle Book 2)Author:
Ursula K. Le GuinNarrator:
Stephen Hoye, Carrington MacDuffiePublished:
Blackstone Audio, 2007 (1966)Rating:
4 of 5Page Count:
125Total Page Count:
fan of the author, audiobook borrowed from the Multnomah County LibraryReview:
As a long winter approaches, outsiders threaten both of the planet's human civilizations, native and offworld immigrant. Lifecycle-long years and established offworld settlers combine to create a speculative premise that informs every aspect of the book: worldbuilding, social structure, point of view, plot, resolution; and while that last is too neat, it's just so satisfying to see concise worldbuilding with significant ramifications. The character dynamics operated within that are nearly absent, certainly underwrittenbut I suspect this is exacerbated by audio narration, Hoye's in particular. But Le Guin's voice, powerful and sparse and precise, carefully balancing organic daily detail against larger speculative elements, is a sheer delight and offset other weaknesses. I see flaws here, but they don't particularly bother me; this is just what I wanted it to be.Title:
Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables Book 1)Author:
Duke Classics, 2012 (1908)Rating:
5 of 5Page Count:
335Total Page Count:
reread, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library (but I own it, and it's on Gutenberg)Review:
The story of a young orphan girl's childhood at a farm on Prince Edward Island. This was one of my favorite books as a child and I owned multiple copies and reread it many times; but I haven't reread it in at least 15 years. It's aged surprisingly well, for me personally, but also in the hundred years since its publication. It's beautifully charming; Montgomery's descriptions of nature and the community of Avonlea is lovely, evocative escapism; her intense and playful compassion for Anne, for her dreaming whimsy and enthusiasm and the gentle process of her coming of age, was everything to me as a child and I find I love it still. The plot is uneven, speeding up in the final third, becoming less playful and episodic, more of a summary and interchangeably too idealized and too tragic. But I appreciate the quiet consistency of Anne's character growth, and the payoff of her relationships, especially with Marilla, justifies some of the shortcuts. LM Montgomery's wish fulfillment was my childhood wish fulfillment too, and I still bear it good will; this reread was everything I wanted, all my best memories but freshly engaging, enabling me to entirely gloss over some objective flaws.Title:
Seattle: Aqueduct Press, 2007Rating:
4 of 5Page Count:
255Total Page Count:
fan of the author, paperback given to me by thobariReview:
A collection of only seven stories, although the titular "Dangerous Space" is nearly a novella. I picked this up for "Eye of the Storm," which became one of my favorite short stories after I read it elsewhere. It's as good as I remember: a sword and sorcery setting, but an interpersonal focus, looking at fluid queer polyamorous found families and the link between violence and sexuality. "Dangerous Space" has a contemporary setting and secondary science fictional elements, but a similar tone. This is where Eskridge shines brightest, even if the ending of "Dangerous Spaces" is underwhelming: when she writes id fiction, focusing on strange intimacies and art, queer relationships and examinations of sexuality, engaging dynamics and sympathetic character growth.
The other stories are decent to successful; the style and theme that Eskridge is experimenting with in each is frequently obvious and sometimes unconvincing (although the density and unusual language of "Somewhere Down the Diamondback Road" is fantastic), but her voice is strongshe's particularly adept at working a story's themes into its metaphors and language, which brings to life even the clumsier examples. This collection isn't perfect, but I admire the ongoing themes of sexuality and art; and, honestly, it would be worth owning just for "Eye of the Storm."
The aforementioned trio
of ridiculously successful books, counteracting a slew of "okay, I guess" books. Weird story about the Eskridge, though: midway through the collection, I received a comment on my review of the anthology where I first encountered "Eye of the Storm" which included "I'll be checking out Kelley Eskridge though"a coincidence which inspired me to go back and read my review, and discover I'd mentioned that Dangerous Space
included two companion stories to "Eye of the Storm." Which is awesome! But I was already halfway through, and hadn't encountered them, so skimmed ahead and
those stories are not there. They've never, in fact, existed; I'm not sure where I got the impression, such a precise impression (two companion stories!), that they did; other stories in the original anthology have companion novels
, but re: "Eye of the Storm" reviews include such notes as
"I am only distraught that there is no novel (series, opus, canon, tie in anything) with these characters."
I chalked this up to parallel universes and/or a fragment of my truly awful memory and moved on, except that: "Dangerous Space," as it turns out, not only has overlapping themes/feeling, it also has reoccurring character names. This isn't hugely surprisingI know creators recycle & reinvent archetypes, characters, names, &c.; and it fits: there's an overlapping logic, to take a slantwise-similar approach to different settings and dynamics. But what a bizarre series of events, to write and unwrite a parallel universe in which there obvious were, were not, sort of were companion stories to this story.
(To be honest, "Eye of the Storm" stands alone. I would happily live in it forever, but it so well establishes what it needs to establish that more isn’t really necessary; if anything, the summary and departure of the last few paragraphs is idealit keeps the setting alive and enterable, without the hit-or-miss potential of expanding the canon. I don't need the companion stories that don't exist. I'm just confused about the nature of their existence.)