Nominations for Book Discussion Group (BDG) from January - April 2006



Nominated books: 10.

Recommendations:


Bear, Elizabeth: Hammered

Cavendish, Margaret: The Blazing World and Other Writings

Nominated by: Helen F.

I was told by my director that The Blazing World by Margeret Cavendish can be considered the 1st true sf book -- I found this online: 'Cavendish was one of the later 17th-century's most notoriously eccentric woman {her nickname was "Mad Meg"}. A prolific writer and amateur scientist, she was the only woman of the time allowed to visit {but not to join} the Royal Society. Her flamboyantly unconventional dress and 'hobbies' were indulged by her husband, a Royalist nobleman who went into exile during the Cromwell period and later became one of Charles II's counselors.

The Blazing World was published in 1666 as an addendum to Cavendish's Observations Upon Experimental Philosophy {an exposition of her own scientific views and a critique of Robert Hooke's influential Micrographia-Cavendish distrusted applied optics and thought that knowledge could best be gained by observation with one's own eyes}. It's a wonderfully peculiar work: part fantasy, part feminist utopia, part scientific compendium.'

Of course, Thomas More's Utopia predates this by about a century, but perhaps Cavendish has a claim as the 1st feminist sf writer?

Duchamp, L. Timmel: Alanya to Alanya

Nominated by: Nancy Jane M.

(nominated at the same time as Life)

I liked both these books a lot. Life plays with gender and biology. Alanya is the first of a five-book series and includes both a future dystopia and aliens, with a very feminist perspective.

I keep hearing people say this is a golden age of the small press, so I'd like to encourage us to read some books published by a small press, especially one with a definite feminist agenda.

Jones, Gwyneth: Life

Nominated by: Nancy Jane M.

Winner of the 2004 Philip K. Dick Award and shortlisted for the Tiptree.

(nominated at the same time as Alanya to Alanya)

I liked both these books a lot. Life plays with gender and biology. Alanya is the first of a five-book series and includes both a future dystopia and aliens, with a very feminist perspective.

I keep hearing people say this is a golden age of the small press, so I'd like to encourage us to read some books published by a small press, especially one with a definite feminist agenda.

Marley, Louise: The Child Goddess

Nominated by: Pamela T.

The story is set in the same universe as The Terrorists of Irustan, and reprises one character, although it deals with planets very different from the one in Terrorists. The central figure is a female catholic priest who is having issues with her faith. She is called upon to sort out what has happened during a disastrous "first contact." What she discovers opens up lots of cans of worms. Despite having an ending that avoids certain conflicts that would have been interesting to explore, it's a very good read.

Pullman, Philip: The Golden Compass (a.k.a. Northern Lights)

Nominated by: Grete

I've not read this book and therefore can't say whether it would be considered feminist per se, but I'm quite jazzed to read it and would love to do so in good company.

Reviews here:
http://www.sfreviews.net/goldencompass.html

and here:
http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/nonfiction/northern.htm

Richards, Leigh: Califia's Daughters

Nominated by: Tara A.

From Booklist:

In the not-so-distant future Richards envisions, women warriors guard their peaceful, self-sustaining California enclave, hunting, planting, harvesting, and keeping watch over the men and boys essential to survival after most males perished along with electric power and fossil-fuel-driven engines. When Dian and her pregnant sister, Judith, discover two strange wagons headed their way, they are suspicious and, when they recall a single, armed wagon's devastation on a settlement called the Smithy village only a year ago, frightened. With men, children, and elders safely hidden in a cave, however, the visitors are carefully welcomed in a well-guarded, open area. They hail from southern Oregon, 300 miles away, and bring valuable gifts: Isaac, a grown man, and his small son. They wish to join forces with the Californians to escape the waterborne, irradiated contaminants let loose by an aggressive group led by one Queen Bess. This sets in motion an engaging adventure in which Dian must make a hazardous journey to investigate the northern dangers. Whitney Scott

Russ, Joanna: We Who Are About To...

Nominated by: Petra M.

First published in 1977 it counts as one of the classics of feminist science fiction. I am curious how it holds up.

What's it about? To answer that a quote from a review on Strange Words (http://www.strangewords.com/archive/wewhoare.html):

"Joanna Russ' We Who Are About To... [Dell, 1977] is a tale of space castaways who must learn how to die, an unremitting and tough story in which a small group of travellers are wrecked on a planet with no hope of rescue or survival. Russ investigates how people who are going to die deal with the Great Blackness, an often disturbing subject treated without sugar coating or filtering. We Who Are About To... is about denial, and the leap neccesary to overcome it, the acceptance that is the Last Thing."

Scott, Melissa: Trouble and Her Friends

Nominated by: Muse

From Library Journal:

"The passage of restrictive laws governing access to the ever-growing international computer network drives professional "netwalkers" like India Carless (a.k.a. Trouble) and her lover, Cerise, out of the shadows and into the glaring lights of legitimate enterprise-until their illicit pasts emerge to haunt them. The author of Burning Bright captures the spirit of new technology in a novel set partly in the next century and partly in the virtual future that is becoming today's reality. Scott's talent as a storyteller continues to grow, as evidenced by her sizzling prose and carefully balanced plotting. A priority purchase for most sf collections."

Traviss, Karen: City of Pearl

Nominated by: Jeremy G.

Three separate alien societies have claims on Cavanagh's Star. But the new arrivals -- the gethes from Earth -- now threaten the tenuous balance of a coveted world.

Environmental Hazard Enforcement officer Shan Frankland agreed to lead a mission to Cavanagh's Star, knowing that 150 years would elapse before she could finally return home. But her landing, with a small group of scientists and Marines, has not gone unnoticed by Aras, the planet's designated guardian. An eternally evolving world himself, this sad, powerful being has already obliterated millions of alien interlopers and their great cities to protect the fragile native population.

First in a trilogy.


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