As I said in my last post, in order to move the equality/ diversity conversation along in SFF fandom, maybe we need to point out where the good stuff already is available. Here are some things I love. Robin Hobb is one of the best known women writing in SFF; she was Guest of Honour at the 72nd WorldCon in London last summer (LonCon 3). But I came to her writing late, I’m not sure why. Her Farseer trilogy is some of the best writing in Fantasy that I have read, and the plots- political intrigue and shifting power underpinned by magic- intrigue and entrance me. If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones and haven’t read Hobb, you have a treat in store.
My very dear friend @PrincessofVP introduced me to Naomi Novik’s Temeraire and sequels. These are marvellous novels, the story of the Napoleonic wars, with a dragon regiment. I am no kind of expert in early 19th century military history, but the detail “feels” right, and the diplomatic plots of the later books are extremely interesting. Other books I enjoy set around the same period are Stephanie Burgis’s Kat series for 8 year olds +- imagine Joan Aiken crossed with Diana Wynne Jones– and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey, which have everything I enjoy about Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances, with magic.
Nnedi Okorafor is a consistently interesting novelist, writing speculative fiction set in West Africa. The first book I read by her was Akata Witch, but The Shadow Speaker is still probably my favourite book by her. She has strong, but vulnerable, women and girls as protagonists, and very believable parent-daughter relationships. I hope that the Hugos-nominated Lagoon brings her a wider readership in the UK, and leads to more of her novels getting a UK publication,
Aliette de Bodard’s Obsidian and Blood trilogy of fantasy detective novels set in the Aztec empire are incredible feats of imagination, but her short stories and her novella, On A Red Station, Drifting are a delight. Her Vietnamese family structures and the conflicts therein work very naturally in the setting of a decaying space station and the deprivations after flight from a warring empire. I am very excited about The House of Shattered Wings, published in the summer, an alternate version of Paris with magicians and dragons.
Finally, three television shows that I have loved recently: Steven Universe on Cartoon Network, a delightful cartoon about a boy with magical powers and his three monster-bashing foster mothers; Orphan Black, an amazing show about clones, identity, the boundaries of science and privacy, and Once Upon A Time, set in Storybrooke, Maine, where fairytale characters are cursed to live, unaware of their true identities, unless the curse can be broken by Emma Swann, successful bounty hunter who is brought to Storybrooke by a 10 year old boy who turns up on her doorstep claiming to be her son.
Let me know what you think. What are your favourite SFF things? Tweet me @AlisonBaker01 or comment below.