Reading Terry Pratchett: a beginner’s guide

A short list of suggestions for how to start reading Terry Pratchett's novels, because the list is now closed. Guards, Guards, for the perfect, all-in-one introduction to Discworld's major city, to its plethora of characters and races, and to the immortal Vimes. Monstrous Regiment, for searing satire on feminism, war-mongering and class. I Shall Wear … Continue reading Reading Terry Pratchett: a beginner’s guide

Gender and body difference in Vonda N McIntyre’s The Exile Waiting

This was Vonda McIntyre’s first novel, published in 1975, about twenty years after the first thalidomide disaster in Germany, the UK and North America, in which around 10,000 children died or were born with malformations. The novel is about disability, and difference, and how society accepts and rejects different differences. It’s also an astoundingly undated speculation on a … Continue reading Gender and body difference in Vonda N McIntyre’s The Exile Waiting

Snake healing in Vonda N McIntyre’s Dreamsnake

This week is Vonda McIntyre week. Today's post on her 1979 novel Dreamsnake is from my podcast miniseries on feminist science fiction; tomorrow's post on Vulpes Libris is on her new novel, The Moon and the Sun. With Dreamsnake I’m not talking about dragons, but proper hard-edged science in futuristic fiction, even if it’s made-up science, where … Continue reading Snake healing in Vonda N McIntyre’s Dreamsnake

‘The Plaint of the Middlebrow Novelist’

Here's a short comic poem to brighten your day. Written by the otherwise totally forgotten actress and novelist * Phoebe Fenwick Gaye and published (first? goodness knows) in 1937 in the feminist and progressive weekly magazine Time and Tide, this poem is valuable evidence of the cultural squabble that we in the trade call The Battle … Continue reading ‘The Plaint of the Middlebrow Novelist’

Hooting at What We Do In The Shadows

A vampire film is not my usual tipple, but I do love a spoof. Specially when it's a mockumentary dripping with blood; when the jokes just keep on coming; when the acting is so vérité that the idea of Wellington's nightlife and suburbia being inhabited by vampires, werewolves, witches and zombies seems totally plausible. The superb … Continue reading Hooting at What We Do In The Shadows

Flying with the brain ships in Anne McCaffrey’s The Ship Who Sang

I'm having a private Anne McCaffrey festival today, since I'm simultaneously posting a review of her son's memoir of her, Dragonholder, over on Vulpes Libris. This post draws a line under the mini-series of podcast scripts about gentlemanly thrillers that ended here last week, and begins a new series on feminist science fiction. It also follows up … Continue reading Flying with the brain ships in Anne McCaffrey’s The Ship Who Sang