It was fascinating for me to explore this aspect of Blackgoose’s worldbuilding, to slowly tease out its meanings and parallels to our own world, and to see how this system of government and history and technology shaped the story. I am also partial to stories with dragons.
I read The Body Problem by Margaret Wack when I was going through my own body problem. Or, rather, I was going through an unfortunate period in my family life when my apartment—shared with my two kids under two and my husband—was infested by bedbugs. Lots and lots of bedbugs. I read this stunning poetry collection with reverence and awe the day before these bugs were truly discovered, and I’d read it in my bed—completely unaware that, in a handful of days, I would never see that apartment or bed ever again. (And with good riddance, too.) It would only be after surviving this ordeal, and opening this collection in my new home a month later, that I would understand its true beauty and power.
Language blasts through the malicious intentions and blows them to ash. Language rises triumphant over fangs and claws. Language, in other words, is presented as something more than a medium for communication. Language, regardless of how it is purposed, must be recognized as a weapon.
How to Navigate Our Universe is a collection of speculative poetry by Mary Soon Lee which plays with the notion that planets might have personalities, moons might have jealousies, and the universe itself might be understood by examining its neighborhoods. All of its poems seek to bring the vast unknowability of the universe down to size by anthropomorphizing, describing, and categorizing it in ways that humans might be able to comprehend.
The collection is divided into five sections that gradually work their way outwards from the home of earth, then the solar system, and moving toward the outer reaches of the universe.
In his latest fiction, Doctorow seems to be trying to find an answer to a very contemporary problem: what do you do with people who are hell-bent on messing up every good thing that you and your community might have achieved? How do you coexist with people who do not share your sense of reality, of the purpose of a society, of what a good life entails? Can you even share space with them in the first place? Should you try to?
The Lost Cause is presented as a novel, but it reads more like a thought experiment, a prescient warning, and a meditation on media polarization, all rolled up into one nifty package.
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