Nominations for Book Discussion Group (BDG) from September to December 1999

Nominated books: 10 (29 June)


Arnason, Eleanor: Ring of Swords

Charnas, Suzy McKee: The Slave and the Free

Cherryh, C.J.: Cyteen

Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee: The Mistress of Spices

Ghosh, Amitav: The Calcutta Chromosome: A Novel of Fevers, Delirium & Discovery

Marley, Louise: The Terrorists of Irustan

Notkin, Debbie and The Secret Feminist Cabal (Eds.): Flying Cups and Saucers: Gender Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Reed, Kit: Weird Women, Wired Women
    In her introduction, Connie Willis says Reed scares the spit out of her. I read The Wait in Jr Hi and had nightmares for decades.

    Willis also says, "What you think the story is about at first is almost invariably wrong. ...Kit Reed's true genius lies in her ablility to see straight through to the center of things. It's this clear-eyed ability to get below the surface and down to the reality--more than her flair for detail and dialogue, her quirky insights, her fantastical stage settings-- that makes Kit Reed stories unique. She sees straight through to the truth. And understands just how complicated that truth is."

    20 short works, a treasure to keep but too much to take entire in just a month.

    Suggest a selected few from the collection: The Wait; Cynosure; Songs of War; The Food Farm; Winter; The Bride of Bigfoot; Pilots of the Purple Twilight; The Mothers of Shark Island; any other suggestions?

    Comments from the "short list" for the 1998 Tiptree (to be taken with a dose of salts).

    Science Fiction Weekly review by John Clute, Leaving a Taste in the Mind.

    Page of blurbs.

    Review by Simon Ings for Infinity Plus.

    AND, from the same site, a story that appears in the collection, "The New You" (not, by any means, the best in the book, but it has a great vintage feel to it).

    For those who have the needed software installed: you can listen to Kit Reed reading "The Bride of Bigfoot" (which is part of Weird Women, Wired Women) at SCIFI.

Waitman, Katie: The Divided
    From the Mysterious Galaxy web site:

    Waitman explores one of the eternal questions in this absorbing new work of science fiction: what is life without balance? Dark without light? Good without opposition? And what are the consequences if someone works to eliminate the division? Sekmé, a warrior woman, finds herself thrust into the center of this controversy. No matter the outcome, the end will result in the destruction of life as the people of her land know it. By the author of The Merro Tree.

Windling, Terri: The Wood Wife
    Two reviews from

    Kirkus Reviews:
    Distinctive contemporary fantasy set in the Arizona desert, from the well-known editor (the annual Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, with Ellen Datlow, etc.) When the prizewinning, gin-sozzled English poet Davis Cooper died in a dry gully (of drowning!) near his home east of Tucson, he left his house, papers, and real estate to budding poet Maggie Black, with whom he had corresponded but had never met. Separating from her talented but demanding musician husband Nigel, Maggie takes up residence in Cooper's old house, discovering fragments of unpublished poems, together with a gallery of extraordinary paintings left by Cooper's lover, Anna Naverra - paintings that Maggie finds both provocative and disturbing. The locals, too, seem to hint of another unseen world behind the real one, a world of magic and metamorphosis that Maggie can almost perceive, whose landscape is defined by mysterious, powerful mages operating by rules that she finds herself gradually able to comprehend. To understand Cooper, Naverra, and the unseen world, Maggie must delve deep inside her own being, where, ultimately, she will find the key to her own poetry - as well as the means to transcend space and time, to actually meet Cooper and unravel the mystery of his bizarre death. A splendid desert enchantment that flows with its own eerie logic - arresting, evocative, and well worked out despite the entirely superfluous last couple of chapters.

    Folk Tales On-Line Magazine:
    Books are letters from the author to the readers. In the case of Terri Windling's The Wood Wife, the letter is a love letter, a breathtaking yet gentle missive of affection for many things: the art of English illustrator Brian Froud; the Sonoran desert of Arizona; faery beliefs and Native American myths; and the odd enigmatic culture of the city of Tucson. Windling's passion for her setting and subject shine through like the clear golden sunlight of the desert, and somewhere along the way, she tells a fine, fine story as well, full of twists and turns and filigreed with love.

    Tor Books says they have a sample chapter at There are several other reviews at, as well as one at The Mythopoeic Society.