Every Tuesday, I open twitter for post-topic suggestions. This week timely topic, courtesy of Elisa Nukle, is government in literature.
My gut instinct: write about all the terrible futures in dystopian fiction. Brave New World, 1984, Hunger Games, the works. Except…except what about the positive depictions of government in fantasy and scifi?
The beard. Beard of Evil.
On the hunt for examples of good governance, I ran into plenty of stink-toads in sheep’s clothing. All too often, the shining example of Good and Order toddles along for a few books before revealing its hydra heads of evil or its sheer bureaucratic ineptitude in dealing with the endless crises the hero has to resolve. Harry Potter‘s Ministry of Magic stayed on the straight and narrow for a while, before taking a hard turn into fascist pamphlet printing.
And then there’s Saruman who decided to use his good wizarding skills and build himself an army of orcs. But who could blame him after all that time he spent cooped up in a tower with nothing better to do than comb his beard? The rooms must have been tiny!
But I do have a few candidates for the Benevolent Governance award. Requirements of this list include sincere benevolence (or the convincing veneer of it), the ability to achieve world peace, and the mad skills to do it in style.
This post will involve spoilers! You have been warned. Continue reading
I suspect everyone has a few of these books. They’re the guilty secret – the great books you want to read, but over the course of weeks, months, and years, just can’t seem to get around to opening. Ugh.
The mental block.
Here is my short-list of books I want to read, but just can’t seem to.
1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
There really is no excuse for me not to have read this book – or this entire series, really. For about three years now, I’ve put it off.
Thing is, I have it on good authority that the Hunger Games series is awesome. That Collins is awesome. That I will read this book and feel that happy zen zing of a great book devoured. I know I can munch my way through all three books over a weekend, then finish off with the movies.
And that brings me to the other reason I really ought to read The Hunger Games. I can’t watch the movies until I read the books. It’s a rule. But it just doesn’t seem enough yet.
2. Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay
This book sits on my shelf. It’s been sitting on my shelf since my birthday two years ago. And it judges me. Oh man, it judges me.
I even read the first page (and liked it!) but then the book went back to my shelf.
Where it sits to this day.
Judging me. Continue reading
Those of you who follow the The Canary Review even a bit might know that I have a weakness. This weakness comes in the form of popcorn fiction of the romantic sort. Gimme chick lit, and paranormal romances, and romantic fluff, and I am set.
…or the respective eye size and placement (see above).
However, those of you who’ve been around me a little longer may also know that I am a born again feminazi of the most lovable sort who enjoys constructivist theories on the side and watches adorable Disney movies with one eye trained on the waist-hip ratio of the characters.
So what’s my trick? How do I manage to get through the truly ridiculous without throwing books against the wall?
Easy: I have a very well developed coping mechanism. Let me pull out an example.
I’m going to pick on Feehan’s Dark (Carpathian) series because, well, I haven’t been able to get through a single one of her books without eye-rolling since I was sixteen. But my love-hate relationship with them means I can’t resist the books whenever I spot them.
From what I’ve sampled, this series has all the hallmarks of overblown paranormal romance, from the Good & Noble Vampires™ to the Irresistible Soulmates™ trope used in lieu of relationship-building. Gender roles are crisply defined: The Carpathian Male (read: the vampire guy) is an instinct-driven creature, overwhelmingly possessive and territorial when it comes to “his” woman. Even if our petite, lovely, and compassionate lady is independent and modern, she finds that she much prefers to cuddle with Dominating Male, courtesy of the aforementioned Irresistible Soulmates™ effect, than do her own stuff. Continue reading