I’ve been in a headspace lately where I would very much like to escape to other worlds for a while. There is an obvious solution to this situation: digging into some classic and queer fantasy and sci-fi. Here are your choices for what to read in August.
Ammonite, Nicola Griffith
There’s a lot of buzz about Griffith’s forthcoming novel, Hild, but since it’s not arriving in our hands until November, we have ample time to brush up on some Nicola Griffith classics. Perhaps her most famous is Ammonite, which won the Lammy along with a bunch of other things. (Griffith was also honored at the Lammy’s this year for the Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize.) The deal with the world of Ammonite is that there are no dudes. As in, it takes place on a planet where a virus killed all the dudes but somehow all the women are able to reproduce just fine. So everything seems awesome, until a company arrives to take advantage of them, like most companies do to good things. An anthropologist also shows up to figure out the secret of this lady world, and in doing so, realizes she could also hold the key to its destruction. Dun dun dun!
The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
This is technically the second novel in Kushner’s Riverside series, the first being Swordspoint, but I don’t believe that reading the first is necessary to understand the second, and the second one is where it seems that the ladies really get to the butt kicking and sword swinging. In particular, one lady, Katherine, who’s been raised as a proper country girl, until she meets her mad uncle the Duke, who thinks swords are a better destiny for her than marriage. Good thinking, Duke. The official blurb ends with this intriguing line: “Blade in hand, it’s up to Katherine to navigate a maze of secrets and scoundrels and to gain the self-discovery that comes to those who master the privilege of the sword.” My, but I do love me some secrets and scoundrels.
The Will of the Empress, Tamora Pierce
While many of Tamora Pierce’s novels deal with some type of gender bending or feminist themes, this one has a bonafide lesbian in it. It also has a female-gang-of-friends thing going on, which I am always a sucker for. The gang of friends are actually four mages (read: magic ladies) who have appeared in previous series of Pierce’s, The Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens, but The Will of the Empress is a stand alone that doesn’t require reading of the rest. Our leader here is Sandry, who brings her three old friends back together to secure some lands she owns, which are set to be taken away from her otherwise. But it turns out these lands are in the realm of power of the Empress, and the good ol’ Empress is leading them into a trap. It’s up to Sandry to get the four friends to truly work together again and use their powers for good.
So what’ll it be?
I’ll post the winning title on Thursday, August 1st. What are some other queer or female-driven fantasy and sci-fi favorites that I missed?