Archive for the ‘Karin Tidbeck’ Category
Posted July 31, 2014on:
You know I wasn’t going to keep you waiting forever, right? yesterday I start talking about my favorite stories in the next Apex Book of World SF, and I just couldn’t jam all my favorites into one post! So here’s the rest of my favorite stories:
“Jungle Fever” by Zulaikha Nurain Mudzar was a satisfyingly enjoyable horror story which starts with a scratchy plant. After reading this I’m going to wear garden gloves every day outside, even if I’m just watering the tomato plant! Sailin gets a scratch, which turns into a wound, which turns her into something else all together. this is not how she planned on getting revenge on her abusive uncle, but well, what are you going to do? As the disease progresses, she keeps enough of her mind to see what she’s doing, but it’s like she’s watching from outside her body. Since she doesn’t narrate the worst parts, either she’s in complete denial, or she’s so detached that she’s not aware of what’s happening in those moments, or she doesn’t want the reader to know the gross details of what’s she’s done. Someone has got to have a cure, but when she finds a physician, she’s terrified of what he might do to her. I appreciated that Sailin never became a mindless zombie. She might not be herself anymore, but the reader consistently sees her as a human, as someone deserving of our compassion. Or at least, we might be compassionate towards her so long as she eats someone else. . .
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time. If you’ve been paying attention, nothing on this list will be a surprise to you. If you happened to stumble by because you like “year end” lists, these are my top ten speculative fiction books I read this year. Looking for a good read? go find one of these.
Some of them are old.
Some of them are new.
Some of them were borrowed.
None of them are blue.
I’ve linked the titles to my reviews. In no particular order:
Sky Coyote by Kage Baker (1999) – the second in The Company series, this novel is told from Joseph’s point of view (and yes, Mendoza is still really, really pissed off at him). Joseph gets to do one of his favorite things – pretend to be a God. But this time, he’s got to get even the skeptics to believe his act.
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (2013) – No surprise this one made it to my best of the year list, as this is one of my favorite fantasy series. It’s true, I ranted a little about a character who really annoyed me, but holy shit, that ending?? holy shit! Also, I do just happen to have a Cinnamon colored dress/jacket combo and a four cornered grey hat in the making.
The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White (2013 )- Secret societies, multiple personalities, sublime prose, metaphysics, unexpected romance, characters that rip each other to shreds. What more could you possibly want? I got meddled with, my switches got hit, and I never wanted it to end. Just go read it already. Everything about this book was spot-on perfection for me.
Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks (1990) – only the best Culture novel of the best space opera series in existence. Not the easiest book in the world to read, but the subtlety, and the reveal at the end, and oh god I knew something was so horribly wrong as soon as he said he was going to cut his hair. . .
published in 2012
where I got it: the library
This has been a tough review to write. I finished reading Karin Tidbeck’s Jagannath last week, and instead of jotting down notes for a review, or trying to come up with some witty blurbable phrase, all I’ve done is pick the book up again and again, reread a few of the short stories, and whisper “Wow”, over and over again.
I am floored, I am awed, my faith in anything, in everything, has been restored.
Make sure you read Jagannath.
Jagannath is a skinny unassuming little thing. It’s the wallflower of the new shelf at the library, no fancy cosmetics or political slants or controversial stories. It doesn’t scream “read me” with alluring or sexy cover art. And it doesn’t scream “read me” after you open it, either. Sometimes you don’t want a book to scream at you, because it’s better when the book caresses you instead, rewards you for finding it, for choosing the wallflower. With a quiet, confident voice, the stories in Jagannath whisper your name, drawing you in closer and nearer, because it has a secret to tell you, and only you.
Using simple language, Tidbeck takes you to other worlds, places that are beautiful and frightening and cold. These aren’t horror stories, but they are tilted at just enough of an angle that it’s easy to lose your footing. Reading them felt like a one way mirror – I was on the mirror side, but someone else, someone in the story, was watching me from the other side.
You don’t even need to read the rest of this rambling review, just go get the book. You will be far more satisfied with reading Jagannath than with reading my review of its contents.