TWIR: Genre-bending, fantasy, and capitalism at the movies

I love #fridayreads and want more excuses to talk about reading (even though it’s Saturday), so I’m going to attempt to do that regularly with This Week In Reading.

Last weekend I went to Readercon, as mentioned, and picked up a bunch of books, but have barely touched them because I was already in the middle of several things. I have limits, you know. I can’t read ten books at once.

Five? Sure.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

I sped through The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes before Readercon. It worked as a book to clear out my head after weeks traipsing through the autobiography of a labor activist (Elizabeth Gurley Flynn — the bio was great! But heavy, with a million little stories of wins and losses for the movement.) The Shining Girls was one of those cases of a book straddling the border between litfic and genre. Beukes made a valiant effort to write something that embraced litfic + time travel + mystery/thriller, but because she was balancing so many things, they all came off a little less rich than they could have been if focused on one. That may sound like a criticism of the book, but it’s not meant to be. I like the effort, and what combining genres did for the story. No aspect of it collapsed when poked, which is a huge accomplishment.

Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip

I also started Ombria in Shadow by Patricia McKillip. I wouldn’t normally pick up something that has a cover like this, with the flowing locks of hair and the pensive look and the Renaissance-y stylings. This is not to say that I automatically dislike this sort of thing. It’s that I am not actively drawn to it, but the author was specifically recommended to me. So far it has magic, and ancient ageless evil, a girl made of wax, and a shadow underworld, so… I’m on board.

Short things I’ve read recently:

Smash the Engine at Jacobin Magazine:

“As it is, Snowpiercer is an enjoyable spectacle whether you care about its political message or not. But this is also a story with genuinely subversive and radical themes….It’s about the limitations of a revolution which merely takes over the existing social machinery rather than attempting to transcend it.”

That was a good movie, everyone.

Playing Nice with God’s Bowling Ball by N.K. Jemison:

“Then, apparently oblivious to Grace’s stare, the boy burst into tears. ‘I told him to be careful.'”

Please go read this story like I did: knowing nothing about it.