21st Century Gothic is a problem of a book. It sets out to cover fifty of the best twenty-first century Gothic novels, as chosen by a group of colleagues and friends of the editor (listed at the back of the book), but actually covers fifty-three texts and text "clusters" thanks to the inclusion of (sometimes unfinished) series. The quality is as widely various as the length. One cannot skim this book, nor blindly use it as a reference text, because one never knows whether one will be reading something so far from publishable quality as to be an embarrassment, or something brilliant and insightful. The two sit side by side. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the editor has exercised little editorial control.
21st Century Gothic begins with a foreword by S. T. Joshi, a well-known critic, commentator, and historian of the Gothic. As one might expect, Joshi provides an excellent historical outline of the history of the supernatural Gothic, working from Walpole through to Gaiman, and cleaving to the line that the supernatural is a direct product of the decline of belief, an argument that is common to the field but which has never been tested against historical evidence to my knowledge—the Victorians were more religious than the Georgians, not less, and the American South, originator of so much modern Gothic is hardly noted for its lack of religious belief or absence of superstitions. More problematic is that Joshi writes only of the supernatural Gothic: yet one of the strengths of this book is that Olson has included both the supernatural and the rational Gothic within its covers. Also problematic for the cohesion of the collection is that too many of the authors are permitted to rehash Joshi's summary.
In his introduction, Olson celebrates the appeal of the Gothic, describing its ascent in popular consciousness, and offering, in this book, a way to avoid the constant rehashing of the traditional Gothic by considering instead what it is today. The list of texts is diverse and sometimes unexpected, mostly in good ways. Olson reverses the usual practice of identifying tropes and then choosing texts and instead draws his characteristics from the selection, a practice which generates new theories. However there is no explanation offered for the degree to which they differ from the supernatural characters which Joshi describes: "hidden and forbidden desires (murder, incest, and worse), damnation, physical and emotional disease, and aberration, revenge, curses, family lineage, estate battles, horror, terror, falls, the sublime reanimation, entrapment and confinement (especially of women), the supernatural, the past, and haunted and decayed structures" (p. xxvi), and the shift is left unexamined.
In the second half of the introduction Olson asks his contributors to address a range of questions. These questions are, to put it mildly, assumptive:
Why is this one of the most creative or influential modern Gothic novels of the last decade? How does it have a remarkable fullness of characterization, intricacy of plot, cumulatively unbearable power of suspense, a vital symbolic or allegorical system and the bloodred wine of astonishment—the bizarre, the sublime, the horrific, or the paranormal? (p. xxxi)
Olson further requests that his contributors explain how the novels embody the traditional impulse of the Gothic, "where is the dark path of the new Gothic winding?", "Has Gothicism recently been defanged? Does its survivor instinct make the Gothic return to some of its old trends? What recent studies illuminate best where the Gothic is going and what the novel is doing?" (ibid)
This last question, which seems to ask for a consideration of the state of the critical field, is not even part of the original remit, to discuss modern Gothic novels. And in the posing of the questions there is no room for criticism. These questions are overwhelming. There is no argument here for the contributors to shape their work, nor—to use the terms common to teaching—are there clear criteria. Certainly, there is far too much to address in the five thousand words that each author has been given. Luckily few try, and some completely ignore the editorial guidance, but the sheer compass of requests here intimates the wide diversity of approaches which we then find among the authors themselves, approaches which range from really excellent essays which offer intense insights into the texts, through to essays which, in attempting to deal with some of these queries, have settled for listing the tropes which support the inclusion of the title.
To dispense with the weakest essays first: discussing the work of Michael McDowells and his posthumous collaborator, Tabitha King, Nancy A. Collins gives five pages over to a summary of the novel. This is succeeded by a listing of similarities with McDowell's previous work, and classic archetypes to be found in the characters. Katherine Ramsland, who was asked to consider James Reese's The Dracula Dossier (2008), appears to have lost track of her remit, and instead of a study of the text, offers us a history of Jack the Ripper, of Bram Stoker, of hypnosis, and of possession. Actual discussion of the book takes up two pages of the essay. Tunku Halim's observations on Margo Livesey's Eva Moves the Furniture begins with the less than insightful observation that "One similarity between Margot Livesey's Eva Moves the Furniture (2001) and the founding Gothic novel, Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto (1764), is that both works are set in the past" (182). The level of analysis is rudimentary, there are three paragraphs expounding on the subjectivity of fear which lead Halim to conclude only that we must look instead for the ingredients of fear, "For example, if a person desperately clings to the edge of a cliff with a long drop below, this satisfies the fear-element requirement. But if she then climbs back onto the top of the cliff, then the danger and consequently the fear is removed" (185). Why this changes the narrative of suspense to the narrative of action is not explored, nor its relevance to the text under consideration.
Some of the essays are nothing more than crib notes; Karen F. Stein's article on Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin (2000) explains the traditional Bluebeard story, then offers a summary which draws attention to the more obvious metaphors, contextualizing the novel alongside Atwood's other work and comparing characters to classic characters in earlier Gothic novels. Although there is a discussion of the feminine Gothic, it is not used to analyze the text. Stein prefers instead to move on to Atwood's influences and to conclude with speculation regarding the significance of the Bluebeard narrative in modern literature. Of The Blind Assassin we have learned very little. Leigh Blackmore's discussion of Terry Dowling's Clowns at Midnight (2010) begins with an overview of the Australian Gothic, and segues into an overlong plot summary but towards the end succeeds in integrating the issue of "Australianness" into a discussion of landscape. This however is terminated too soon, and resolves into a review of his Gothic tropes, and a rather generalized summary of the novel’s affect. As a review it is tantalizing, but as a piece of critique it is unenlightening.
Danel Olson’s lengthy essay on Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian (2005) goes too far in the other direction. Olson cannot decide what he wants this essay to be about: it begins with a long discussion of Dracula, segues into a confused account of The Historian, becomes bogged down in the very obvious links between the two, entrapped in a modern morality tale in which Vlad III Dracula lectures us about our tax dollars paying for bombs, and finally heads off in search of the historical Vlad Tepes via the author’s holiday reminiscences. There are some good critical points here, but the essay lacks discipline. Later, Olson gets bogged down in Jennifer Egan's The Keep (2006). Although there is an interesting discussion of the role of the Gothic in offering transformation, this again overly long essay (more than 7,000 words) becomes mired in a chapter by chapter of summary with highlights. By the end, one feels no need to read the novel. Similarly, four of the first ten pages of Bernice M. Murphy's chapter on Jonathan Carroll's White Apples (2002) are plot summaries of his previous books. Much of the rest is focused on the inventiveness of his posthumous fantasies. My doubts on seeing White Apples on this list were not assuaged by the grand total of six lines in this chapter which, rather than argue for the Gothic nature of the text, simply insist it is "a constant presence . . . embodying itself in dark discoveries, a threatening lineage, characters who are the walking dead, displacement and emotional captivity excess and sexual transgression, melodrama" (p. 593) and etc. This raises questions about the nature of the collection: Karen Budra's choice of The Gargoyle (2008), by Andrew Davidson, is both one of the odder and more challenging choices: the winner of the Canadian Sunburst Award, The Gargoyle is clearly a novel of horror and of the fantastical, a twin story of a sculptor who tells tales of time travel, and a pornographer trapped in a body burned almost to the gargoyle of her design, but nowhere does Budra explain why we should be considering this novel a Gothic. In her introduction she goes to great lengths to explain all the tropes that are missing. Its status as dark Canadian literature appears to be the sum of her argument, but if all dark fiction is Gothic, then where are the genre’s boundaries?
A number of essays are weak because the arguments remained unfocused, or because the authors seem to have lost track of the remit of the collection. but unlike the essays I have discussed so far, they offer interesting insights on which to build. Tony Magistrale's attempt to convince us that the dark epic fantasy of Stephen King's Dark Tower sequence (1982-2004) should be considered as Gothic is interesting if unconvincing. Its first six pages focus entirely on the role of the epic tradition which he positions as nostalgic. When Maigstrale turns to the Gothic he tries first to posit this as essentially modern but is forced quite quickly to acknowledge that "The early Gothics . . . sought a return to the ambivalence of the Middle Ages," and for every trope of "crumbling castles, supernatural animation and mysterious forests" (p. 144) in the Gothic, he can match the same image in the epic: the bitter and aging hero is also a feature of the epic. Only momentarily does Magistrale consider that it is the "sense of doom" in which these tropes are couched that are the distinctive marks of the Gothic, and this is left under-explored. Ironically, while The Dark Tower as a Gothic remains unexplored, Magistrale may come close to convincing us that The Lord of the Rings might be read as a Gothic novel.
Similarly interesting and similarly unconvincing is Robert Hood's essay on Gould's Book of Fish (2001) by Richard Flanagan. Here though the problem is both in the stretch—why is transformation necessarily Gothic? Why is a novel talking about the erasure of history necessarily Gothic?—and in the actual writing: "Gould's Book of Fish, though ostensibly a work of literary fiction, fits into this shadowy literary menagerie easily, representing a modern Gothic sensibility despite its particular historical setting and deliberately odd, self-consciously archaic, language" (p. 258), that "despite" betrays a lack of control over critical language that permeates the essay so that images are riddled with contradictions and metaphors undermined with retreats. In the same vein, Karin Beeler is keen to argue that the structures of maternity in The Pumpkin Child (2001) by Nancy A. Collins is essentially Gothic, and she makes a very powerful argument around the role of the Oedipal. In The Pumpkin Child Hollis engages a witch to change his luck: the price of the magic is sex with the witch. So far so Gothic, but in ascribing the existence of a son by the witch to the Gothic tradition Beeler misses a trick because both the scene of seduction and the resultant child are classically Arthurian. This is not to deny the Gothic in the text, but to suggest this might also grant a much older antecedent to the pattern of transgression and taboo which are so crucial to the form.
Laurence A. Rickels is more concerned to place Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves (2000) within an ongoing discussion about the role of digitization and the web as a space for cultural communication than he is to consider its role as Gothic. Rickels is not concerned with the text as text, but with the text as artefact (and one needs to read his footnotes to find his explication of this). When he allows himself to focus on the artefact, the chapter is genuinely interesting, but Rickels knows as well as the reader that this is not what this book is supposed to be about and he must needs wrench his argument around. The occasional attempts to offer a close reading or consider the psychology of the text are dizzying. Douglass H. Thomson's discussion of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2004) by Susanna Clarke is delightful, but he too seems to have forgotten the context of the essay, remembering to insert some consideration of the Gothic on the final page. What is odd about this essay is that Thomson never once discusses the degree to which Clarke is engaged in an exercise of emulation and that it is in this emulation that, perhaps, her Gothic strand is to be found. The stifling manners of the England she recreates hide secrets and potentials.
Heather L. Durda's discussion of Michael Cox's The Meaning of Night (2006) is at its strongest when discussing the instability of the protagonist as unreliable witness, and the ways in which Cox has manipulated Victorian concerns for status, inheritance, and social order to create a family Gothic in which a missing heir seeks revenge for his disenfranchisement. The essay is weakened however by the lack of reference to sensation fiction: Durda feels that the hero's murders would have been received poorly by Victorian society for she relies on the morality of the Gothic which requires its protagonists to be if not innocent, then redeemable, rather than the Sensation novel which revels in the justified attack. Instead Durda feels the need to draw in the contemporary love of the vigilante to justify the character of Glyver, missing a trick in understanding his hybridity. In her consideration of Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men (2005), Deborah Biancotti simply doesn’t tell us enough; we are halfway through before we learn the plot, and there is little explication of the political and economic context. However, Biancotti's comments on the ways in which morality is explored in the choices that the protagonist makes, and the ways in which the structure of consequence is essentially Gothic, are interesting. In his discussion of Jeffrey Ford's The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque (2002), Charles Tan lists the tropes of haunting, doubling, and concealment that make the Gothic, and spends some time outlining why the conflict within the novel is Gothic, but it is his observation that "Paintings, after all, are a recurring element in the story, and if Ford could not describe or evoke the emotions instilled in the portraits the book would have faltered" (p. 481) which seems to get to the heart of the nature of this book but which he does not follow up.
If perhaps half the book ranges across various levels of weakness, the other half ranges from good through excellent, offering genuine insight into the texts. In "Death and The Book Thief," Steve Rasnic Tem makes an interesting attempt to reverse the view, to use a novel to explore what the Gothic is. Noting that at times Death in The Book Thief (2006) is almost too comforting, to quick with witty asides, Tem asserts convincingly that is precisely the juxtaposition of "historical events of such social power and psychological influence" (p. 46) against the portrayal of Death as observer, and the choice to keep the worst of the Holocaust as a haunting background presence which constructs the Gothic. "The characters and the setting and the story are all grim mirrors of each other" (ibid). However while Tem contextualizes The Book Thief among discussions of Holocaust literature, missing is any attempt to contextualize it against Holocaust literature itself and here I think the chapter falls down, for much of the criticism of Zusak's novel has been about the distancing devices he uses which create comfort in the place of horror, and there is an argument to be made about the role of the Gothic as a technique to achieve just this.
Mavis Haut, dissecting Tanith Lee's Fatal Women (2004), written under the name of Esther Garber, hints at a potential doubling of Gothic text and Gothicized author but barely penetrates the surface of pseudonimity in the Gothic. The focus instead is on the undercutting of heternormativity and lesbianism as a critical and Gothic subversion. Haut accepts this at face value, but there is a question to be asked about the taboo value of lesbianism in the modern Gothic in a readerly world where it is no longer taboo. The texts engage in a mode of nostalgia for marginalization that is common enough across the field to invite questions. Although Lisa Tuttle's discussion of Fingersmith (2002) by Sarah Waters descends somewhat into a chatty book group report, it succeeds in exposing precisely this kind of nostalgia for taboo fiction. Waters, she explains, has tapped into a powerful source in which the underwear of the Victorian novel becomes the material of the modern Gothic. The questions this generates then become the stuff of plot, our modern sympathies both for characters, and for characters as representatives of the Victorian ethos we scorn, mislead us as readers and take us down ever darker corridors.
The ability to generate questions focuses Walter Rankin's discussion of Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden (2009). The Forgotten Garden is a tale of a woman seeking her own origins, and finding them in a book of tales which themselves attempt to preserve a tangled Gothic of family betrayal and entanglement rooted in the archetypes of fairy tales. In Rankin's hands the intertextuality becomes itself a motif of the modern Gothic. A similar theme emerges in John Harwood's The Ghost Writer (2004). Here, as James Doig explores, a young Australian's life is effectively drained away in a search for the origins of his mother's stories, and his mother herself, as he is drawn through a literary tale into Gothic England and from thence into the sordid realities of the modern. Origin tales, if not origins, are drawn by Jason Calavito from Gregory Maguire's Lost (2001) as Calavito draws our attention to the origins of language—the American vernacular of the contemporary contrasted to the British vernacular of the archaeological—to the origins of mystery and the origins of grief.
In Maguire's Lost a woman watches the excavation/rebuilding of a family home and uses what she finds there to unravel both family mysteries and personal tragedies. However Calavito is uncritical of Maguire's romantic distortions of European medieval history (burning at the stake was reserved for heretics, and no pregnant woman would have been executed until after her baby was born) and in this he misses a trick for it is precisely the heroine's American-in-London credulity which drives the plot and the Gothic instability of the book. Origin tales of a different kind are at the center of Graham Joyce's exploration of The Monsters of Templeton (2008) by Lauren Groff. When Willie goes home, pregnant, she becomes fascinated with the complexities of her family tree and that of the entire city of Cooperstown, New York. Tracing her lineage back she notices the regular occurrence of red haired, blue-eyed children dotted across a multi-ethnic landscape embedded in the traditional Gothic narratives of miscegenation, rape, and incest, and finds in the letters of the long dead evidence of the unspeakable. Alongside this is the presence of the monster which dies in the lake on the day Willie arrives. Joyce points out the ways in which the monster "admits to the possibilities of magic without ever defining or circumscribing it," (p. 448), the pregnant monster, like Willie's pregnancy, is a hint at potential.
Romana Cortese and James Cortese successfully argue that Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind (2001) is classic in its Gothic themes: in this post-Spanish Civil War novel women are unreliable and weak, succumbing to seduction, falling victim to violence, failing to defend their children, and too often the source of their (male) children's weaknesses and viciousnesses. They successfully argue that the secrecy and fear which haunted Spain for forty years after the war is quintessentially Gothic, rooted to the moral decay of Francoist Spain. The cleaning of the house in this novel, is the cleaning of the state.
One cannot get much weaker than Bella in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight saga (2005-2008). Bella is constantly tripping up over her own feet and if she can find trouble, she will. As June Pullam observes, if transposed to the early cinema, Bella would have been found tied to a railway track with a moustachioed villain gloating over her in delight. Pullam uses Twilight to draw our attention to the degree to which women in the Gothic novel are not just victims, but also masochists; Bella actively seeks out the man who is controlling and abusive, and regards such behavior as "proof" of love. The series concludes with the most extreme form of masochism as Bella chooses to go ahead with a pregnancy she knows will almost certainly kill her; which does kill her but results in the ultimate reward, immortality. In contrast are the inspiring orphans of Daniel Handler’s Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (1999-2006). Once again, Danel Olson has used the privilege of the editor to extend his essay to 8,000 words, of which five pages are summary, and three pages are concerned with the moral hysteria which affected the books in the United States (but not, as far as I am aware, in the UK). Once past this however, the chapter offers a really excellent discussion of the ways in which Handler has hybridized the repetitive structures of the Gothic with those of series fiction, developing a Gothic morality tale for children which is complex and questionable.
A major theme of the Gothic is the relationship between ourselves and the monster, and whether it is we who are the more monstrous. Brian Showers, having explored the Gothic landscape of the island that is the setting of Albert Sanchez Pinol's Cold Skin (2003), suggests that this is where we find the heart of the novel, in a circular story of descent into madness and monstrosity. In Cold Skin, the confusion of bestiality with the bestial treatment of sexuality become confused, so that a lover can be treated as a monster, and a monster as lover. Mary Ellen Snodgrass's explication of Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White (2002) as "neo-Gothic" is uneasy. For much of her essay she clearly places the novel in the world of the Dickensian picaresque, although it perhaps has more in common with Defoe's Moll Flanders than with Dickens's often sentimental depictions of poverty. To draw it into the Gothic tradition Snodgrass argues convincingly that this is an inversion of the form, a revenge tragedy for the female victims of the Gothic in which the mad wife finds intellectual succor, and the abused mistress leads to the downfall of the patriarch. In this version of the Gothic, dignity is found in the clearheaded sale of sex and transgression is not in the deed but in the debasement of hypocrisies.
Marriott’s discussion of Adam G. Nevill's Banquet for the Damned (2004), while peculiarly anxious to absolve the novel of misogyny (difficult given its assumption that all university professors are male, and that their wives will be tempted by dark and deviant sex) offers a fascinating reading of the novel as an expression of Gothic claustrophobia and confinement as epitomized in Fuselli's painting The Nightmare. This reading enables Marriott to demonstrate Nevill's use of the structural and rhetorical techniques of the Gothic, which emphasize intensity of detail and of effect, and to discuss the ways in which Nevill's distinctive use of tableau combine past with present, to reveal "a profoundly Gothic ambivalence toward modernity" (p. 17) and in which the Gothic theme of confinement of the feminine is here used to confine masculine aspirations. In "Joyce Carol Oates and the Art of the Grotesque," Peter Bell tackles Beasts (2002), a dark tale not far removed, he suggests, from the works of the Brontes. Set in 1975, Beasts explores the exploitative nature of the 1970s sexual revolution and offers "a way of looking at the word, a dark surrealism, a reordering of the strange reality all around us" (p. 22). In Bell's interpretation the closed world of the campus builds on the closed world of the Victorian household, with the governess reinvented as intern, and the mad wife reconstructed as the bohemian artist; its message is that the innocent are vulnerable precisely because of their desire for knowledge.
Although at times rather mechanical, Richard Bleiler's essay on Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (2008) is mechanical with purpose. The introduction to this essay would have served as a far stronger foreword than that offered by Joshi, for Bleiler offers a clear problematization of the Gothic "genre" pointing to the diffusion of the form, the way it tends to be identified by a collection of tropes or "assertions that cannot be proven and claims that cannot be measured . . . What are 'the bleaker facets of the human soul' and 'the Gothic sensibilities'? Who defines them?" he asks (p. 271). The Graveyard Book, Bleiler concludes, is an excellent test case for whether tropes and sensibility in themselves make the Gothic, and concludes, interestingly, that perhaps they don't, for while The Graveyard Book offers us graveyards [sic], murderers, ghouls and grey ladies, and many a dark, threatening scene, its tone is mellow, didactic, and optimistic, centering it firmly (if subversively) with the bildungsroman.
It is noticeable that if there is an accepted way of writing the Gothic, which emphasizes language and effect, one of the things that emerges from this book is that there is also an accepted way of writing about the Gothic, which seeks to emulate the rhetorical structures and the dependence on metaphor. Darrell Schweitzer, in his discussion of the ways in which Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box (2007) eschews much of this decoration, does the same, with a remarkably straightforward discussion of genre, and genre expectations. Schweitzer suggests quite strongly that Heart-Shaped Box, although Gothic in shape and design, is not Gothic in rhetoric or in structure. Its trajectory is towards redemption as the protagonist is released first from guilt and eventually from his own unpleasantness to grow into a nicer and more mature man. Schweitzer does not say this—perhaps if he had been permitted to read Bleiler's essay he would have made the link—but Heart-Shaped Box might well take its place alongside The Graveyard Book as a bildungsroman. Contributing to this thread, in her essay on Palahniuk's Lullaby (2002), Sue Zlosnik explores a nightmare world in which the Gothic is a place itself, the characters trapped in the rhetoric of the Gothic world they inhabit in which a song can kill, and in which serial killers can be good mothers. Zlosnik expands on a novel in which the Gothic as soundscape is taken literally, a song forming a meme, an ancient blessing turned into a modern curse.
Ruth Bienstock Anolik's analysis of Toni Morrison's A Mercy (2008) is sometimes a little heavy on description but for the most part it is a truly fascinating centering of the Gothic around the torture of the Old South and the institutions of slavery. Here, Anolik explains, ghosts are the unheard voices of slaves, rape and incest are an accepted and spoken about part of the everyday structure and evil has been welcomed into governance. In Anolik's analysis the Slave South becomes not just the logical home of the Gothic, but its epitome. Lucy Taylor's explication of The Little Friend (2002) by Donna Tartt also draws attention to the intersection of race, class, and gender in the southern Gothic and the ways in which Tartt imbues a novel that is a tale of failure with a sense of narrative success as if opening the wounds and refusing the secrecy which both the South and the Gothic demand, is itself a form of victory.
Edward P. Crandall sets Natsuo Kirino's Real World (2003) into the context of Japanese sensation fiction of the late nineteenth century, and a long tradition of murderous and horrific illustration, and then expands it to explore the situation of the child in Japanese culture, and in Japanese horror culture explicitly. For Crandell, Kirino's success is in creating the oppressive atmosphere of the Gothic from the stuff of the everyday—the pressure of adults on children to conform, to be part of society, which is met at every street corner. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this chapter is his exploration of the use of nicknames and katakana characters which give the children animal selves and further distance them from the world of their parents.
I have always found Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go (2005) deeply dissatisfying as a science fiction novel. The clones were too passive, too, essentially, inhuman. Humans don’t behave that way. But characters in the Gothic do, there is a requirement in the Gothic to yield to fate, and in their positioning of Never Let Me Go as Gothic, Glennis Byron and Linda Ogston give the novel a context which suddenly throws it into relief. Their reading of the novel as a Frankenstein tale in which the monster listens not to the voice of enlightenment from the cottage, but to the voice of oppression is powerful. Their discussion of Miss Emily’s explanation that "How can you ask a world that has come to regard cancer as curable" (p. 457) to go back to the old days, alongside their observation that it is the liberal Madame, who shudders at their touch, who is afraid of them "the same way someone might be afraid of spiders" (p. 454). The link of course, for someone who might wish to make it, is to perhaps the most powerful Gothic of all time, Uncle Tom's Cabin, in which slavers cannot conceive of abandoning slavery, and abolitionists are undermined by their dislike of the people they wish to save.
21st Century Gothic has a great deal to offer. Many of the essays are insightful and extend the field, but as a collection it is desperately in need of some discipline.
Farah Mendlesohn is the author of The Inter-Galactic Playground, and the editor of On Joanna Russ, both nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Related Book this year. She edited the journal Foundation for six years.