FF: Elsewheres

Roary Refuses to Hide

This week, all my reading material is set in places far away, whether in time or in space or in imagination. 

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.  And it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading. 

Recently Completed:

The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers.  The “secret history’ in this novel comes from a combination of events in the lives of several of the most prominent figures in English literature, including Byron, Shelley, Keats, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.  Read this, and you’ll never read their poetry and fiction quite the same way…

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor.  Audiobook.  Uses some of the same themes as Akata Witch (the outcast who makes a virtue of her difference), but in a very different manner.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor.  Audiobook.  Again, similar themes and plot elements: outcast finds a high-tech artifact, but uses it (and other super abilities) for kind reasons, even if given ample reason for using it otherwise.

A Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson. Translated by Elizabeth Portch.  Realizing I got these out of order, I went backwards.

The Exploits of Moominpappa by Tove Jansson.  Translated by Thomas Warburton.  I don’t like Moominpapa nearly as much as Moomintroll (his son).  He has traits of ego and self-aggrandizement that make him much less appealing.

In Progress:

Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers.  A semi-sequel to The Stress of Her Regard, focusing on the son of characters from the previous novel and his interactions with Christina, Dante Gabriel, and others of the talented Rossetti clan.  I had no idea until I read this that John Polidori was their uncle.  Truth is phenomenally weirder than fiction.  Then, when Tim Powers gives his twist to the material, I end up believing his “secret history.”

The Moomins and the Great Flood by Tove Jansson.  Translated by David McDuff.

Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor. Audiobook. Just started.

Also:

As part of getting new e-book versions of my backlist up, I have finished re-reading Artemis Awakening and am now immersed in Artemis Invaded

7 Responses to “FF: Elsewheres”

  1. Beverly Martin Says:

    Roary isl a handsome cat. He poses nicely for photos (or is nosy enough to get in every shot.)

    This week, I read Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries #6) by Martha Wells. This is a novella, so I read it in a day. In this story, Murderbot is assigned to Station Security to help solve a murder. Action packed. He was forced to interact with new (and sometimes difficult)people.

    Then, I read Noir by Christopher Moore. It is set in 1947 San Francisco. The attitudes and dialog reflect the prejudices of that time, on purpose. Even though the characters are stereotypes, they still come alive and are likeable (or detestable). There is a fun twist and I had several LOL moments.

  2. James Mendur Says:

    Currently reading:
    Hugo novel nominee “The Relentless Moon” by Mary Robinette Kowal. First impression: if Jackie Kennedy were also an astronaut. Again, no review as such because it’s nominated and I’m not trying to skew the voting.

  3. Louis Robinson Says:

    Just finished Courtesans and Fishcakes. Jane guessed ‘wine, women and song’ but it was actually fish, women and song, although at least for those prosperous enough to get the good fish, the women and song were generally a twofer. Wine, like bread, was a staple.

    However, a wise man would also make an investment in rhetoric teachers and speechwriters. Being noticed buying too much fish or too many women, or even too much good wine, was guaranteed to get you nominated to build and equip a trireme or help pay for Athena’s new dress. At best. At worst you’d find yourself had up on charges of bribery, corruption, treason and tendencies to tyranny [the last was by far the worst – the others the people could put up with], and classical Greece had no lawyers, so every man spoke for himself. I had no idea a book with this title would lead me into the depths of mid-4th century Athenian politics, but it would seem they knew their Clauswitz: for them Law was “the continuation of politics with the admixture of other means”.

    Jane, I know you’re no longer an academic, but you and your former colleagues in the ranks of the TAs should be seriously grateful that the symposium has come adrift from its classical moorings – not only would each session cost you at least two weeks pay, but having the same attendees every time would probably lead to ostracism for likely organising an oligarchic conspiracy.

    All that, and I learned some Greek words, too. Porne, for example.

    • janelindskold Says:

      I wasn’t just a TA. I was an assistant professor! That would probably be worse, right? Sounds like a neat book. I need to try to remember it for when next I am hungry for non-fiction!

      • Louis Robinson Says:

        I found it fascinating, but it’s _not_ a light read. It’s a monograph, in full academic regalia. He mostly transliterates Attic Greek words in the text, particularly if he’s discussing what we know of the meaning, but any quotes in the footnotes are in the original – including original script. Which in this case means English, French, German, Latin and Greek. Oddly, I didn’t notice any Russian. Either classical Athens wasn’t an interest of theirs or he didn’t think they had anything original to say about it.

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