I’m starting The Contortionist’s Handbook, by Craig Clevenger: I added this to the TBR and forgot that I’d already started on it years back, then abandoned it. I guess that counts as ‘currently reading’. The theme reminds me of Kate Millet’s ‘The Loony-Bin Trip‘ – the awareness that once you’re in the position of having to ‘prove’ sanity, or any other accusation/diagnosis with a circular argument – cf. alcoholism — then you’re pretty much fucked, that power is always going to be abused due to the nature of those who seek power in the first place.
Oh, The Loony-Bin Trip, what a wonderful book. A bit eye-watering regarding sexual imagery, though – sissies might need a quiet lie-down and a stiff g’n’t. Ride ’em, cowboy!
Alex Ankarr is on page 228 of 544 of The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF:
Finished Ellen Klages’ ‘Time Gypsy’, and for once the critics are right – pretty awesome. The MCs are really likeable, their gradually developing romance is touching and believable. (I say gradually, but – well, read it and find out.) The actual sex is a little clunky and clichéd – I said clichéd, people, not cliché, that’s right – but the romance is lovely.
But it’s not just a lovely lesbian romance with a little skipping up and down the decades thrown in. For a short story, it packs a lot of serious ideas and musings in there. How far the LGBTQ movement has come – and how far it hasn’t – in a few short decades. About time travel as a tool for plagiarism and stealing credit for other people’s ideas. About normalisation and minimisation of abuse of ‘other’ed and excluded groups. About the struggle of women to forge a place in the groves of academe, to be heard, to hack out a route through the hazing and silencing and double standards. About co-operation, solidarity, true friendship and fake collegiality.
It’s about time-travel itself, though, don’t forget that. And purely as a time-travel romp, it’s a ton of fun and lifts the heart, is joyful despite the seriousness of much of what’s discussed. If you love time-travel or you love (gay) love, this is a yes, this is a rec.
Image – public domain, photo by Bernard Spragg NZ of an artwork Passing Time by Auckland-based sculptor Anton Parsons.
Lure by Tarynn Kerr
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Interesting ideas on fairy generation, nice relationship development between the MCs although a bit one-sided and hard to understand from the male MC’s point of view. Not a very good editing job, unfortunately. Constant tense issues that really should have been ironed out before publication, and other grammatical and punctuation problems too. Also ‘deplore’ used instead of ‘implore’ at one point, which gave a very odd flow to the character’s speech. Also dubious use of ‘literally’ at one point, an absolute last straw for me.
Still a nice story, though, and deserves a second edition with more rigorous quality control and better presentation. Lovely cover though.
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Image Harrison Cady, public domain.
27.76% “Finished ‘Try And Change The Past’ by Fritz Leiber. Clever and nothing else, really – not enough for me to seek out the rest of his work.”
Alex Ankarr is on page 117 of 544 of The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF: Finished ‘The Wind Over The World’. What’s the fuss about? Well written, I grant, but nothing exciting goes on, there are no profound insights. Maybe the female protagonist makes it a feminist parable? She ain’t no Ripley, if so.
Qua exciting tale of scientific derring-do through time, it isn’t. The emperor is starkers, nuddy, not a stitch on him. ‘Walk To The Full Moon’ beats it into a cocked hat.
Alex Ankarr is 7% done with A Shadow on the Sun: Although it’s well-written I’m having trouble suspending disbelief due to the characters’ very ‘fantasy world-building’ names. It’s always a problem with made-up names, and I’m still at the point of finding them slightly risible. The story’s good so I’ll be able to shake that reaction off soon.
Honestly I’d be as happy if fantasy authors just called everyone Bill and Ted. Well, not the girls, maybe.
Alex Ankarr is on page 112 of 544 of The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF: I’m more than halfway through ‘The Wind Over The World’, highly praised and lauded by seemingly every reviewer. Thus far I’m finding it depressing, turgid and ominous. But I suppose everything may be transformed by the ending, who knows?