melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-03-28 03:15 pm
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FMK #6: Beloved Authors

So last week's FMK loser was Ben Bova's The Multiple Man, and tbh my only qualm with dumping that one is that I will no longer have a nice big pile of books with MEN in their title. Well, and also feeling a little bit bad for Jamie Madrox.

The winner was The Female Man by Joanna Russ! (The Bester was surprisingly close for awhile, probably because the Russ was getting a lot of M votes. Predictably.) I will be putting up a response for that one when I have finished reading it.

This week's theme is "Authors who have at least one series on my 'definitely keep' shelf but I am kind of afraid to branch out to their other stuff in case I don't like it". This should be a fun one!

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)
Poll #18117 FMK #6: Beloved Authors
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 59


Westmark by Lloyd Alexander (1981)

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F
18 (48.6%)

M
16 (43.2%)

K
3 (8.1%)

Harvest of Stars by Poul Anderson (1993)

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F
7 (29.2%)

M
3 (12.5%)

K
14 (58.3%)

The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold (1992)

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F
20 (52.6%)

M
11 (28.9%)

K
7 (18.4%)

Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly (1986)

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F
21 (61.8%)

M
10 (29.4%)

K
3 (8.8%)

Captive Universe by Harry Harrison (1969)

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F
7 (28.0%)

M
1 (4.0%)

K
17 (68.0%)

The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber (1964)

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F
8 (33.3%)

M
5 (20.8%)

K
11 (45.8%)

The Changeling Sea by Patricia McKillip (1988)

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F
14 (48.3%)

M
14 (48.3%)

K
1 (3.4%)

Space Viking by H. Beam Piper (1963)

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F
6 (25.0%)

M
6 (25.0%)

K
12 (50.0%)

Nation by Terry Pratchett (2008)

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F
10 (25.6%)

M
26 (66.7%)

K
3 (7.7%)

The Sleeping Dragon by Joel Rosenberg (1983)

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F
8 (40.0%)

M
3 (15.0%)

K
9 (45.0%)

Forge of the Elders by L. Neil Smith (2001)

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F
5 (22.7%)

M
2 (9.1%)

K
15 (68.2%)

The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge (1980)

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F
23 (69.7%)

M
8 (24.2%)

K
2 (6.1%)

The Nargun and the Stars by Patricia Wrightson (1973)

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F
12 (54.5%)

M
7 (31.8%)

K
3 (13.6%)

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen (1992)

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F
16 (44.4%)

M
17 (47.2%)

K
3 (8.3%)

ambyr: a dark-winged man standing in a doorway over water; his reflection has white wings (watercolor by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law) (Default)

[personal profile] ambyr 2017-03-28 08:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Westmark is my favorite Alexander book (well, okay, the whole trilogy, but the whole trilogy could fit into Kushiel's Dart three times over and still have room for Thanksgiving dinner), and The Changeling Sea is my favorite McKillip. So I cannot imagine discarding either of them.

(Nation, on the other hand, I found irritatingly didactic...but I know many other people love it, so I figure that's a good one to F.)

The Sleeping Dragon is . . . a thing. I wavered between F and K, because on the one hand it was a formative part of my childhood, and on the other hand, uh, its treatment of rape and women and disability and a whole host of other things is sort of "????" from an adult perspective. Also be aware that (at least IMO) the series never satisfactorily concludes, just wanders off into a weird sideline direction that left me extremely confused.

By and by, did you ever read The Wand in the Word? It's a series of biographical interviews with children's fantasy authors, and I remember the Alexander one being particularly interesting.
ambyr: a dark-winged man standing in a doorway over water; his reflection has white wings (watercolor by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law) (Default)

[personal profile] ambyr 2017-03-28 09:07 pm (UTC)(link)
I'd definitely group The Changeling Sea with her earlier works, yes. (In fact I think it may just be the most straightforward book she's ever written.)
snickfic: (Default)

[personal profile] snickfic 2017-03-29 12:11 am (UTC)(link)
If you are interested in recs for recent McKillip, I would suggest Solstice Wood. It's different from her others in being a contemporary fantasy. It's interesting reading her weave that lyrical fairy tale logic in a grounded modern setting. And it's also pretty straightforward - it is not one of those ones where I had no idea what happened.
muccamukk: Luke with his arms folded. Text: A Free Man of Convictions (Marvel: Man of Convictions)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-03-28 10:32 pm (UTC)(link)
I would def count all three (short!) Westmark books as one book, and vote for the whole. You really don't get the story from just the first one (which seems an ordinary sort of story without the context of the next two).
genarti: Knees-down view of woman on tiptoe next to bookshelves (Default)

[personal profile] genarti 2017-03-28 11:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Agreed!

I voted for M because I love Westmark a lot, but it was a toss-up for me between F and M really. Worth reading, in any case. One of the very, very few fantasies I can think of -- let alone YAs! -- that goes wholeheartedly for a real revolution, and lets it be a messy one with a lot of well-intentioned people disagreeing within it. (And absolutely in dialogue with Les Misérables, if that's relevant information. It's also in dialogue with a lot of other stuff, like British history, but there are definitely nods; for example, a youthfully pretty blond revolutionary who's suspiciously like an Enjolras with zero brakes on the fanaticism at all.)

For the record I have just reread the first one, and will be proceeding to the others as soon as they come in at the library, but haven't reread them in years. Anyway, I do think it's good enough to be interesting both for its successes and for its flaws.
genarti: ([avatar] i will walk through the fire)

[personal profile] genarti 2017-03-28 11:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Thaaaaat is fair.

"Celebrates" is maybe too strong a word, by my memories (admittedly fuzzy, because most of this stuff comes up in the latter two books more than the first.) "Believes in," certainly, I think, but it's more "well, monarchy sucks even when you have a well-intentioned decent person on the throne, and a non-hereditary despot is not BETTER, so... let's give a republic a try?" And then all the messiness that ensues. There is civil war; it's not pretty. It's not graphically grimdark, because Lloyd Alexander is not that kind of writer and this is aimed at kids, but it's very clear in an understated way what kind of stuff is going on, and there's a body count. And the end is hopeful, but it's not AND THEN EVERYTHING WAS WONDERFUL AND EVERYBODY HAD A GOOD LIFE THEREAFTER.

My memories are too vague to speak to the exact details of the tone, though. And all the same, it may still be a situation where it's entirely the wrong moment for the trilogy for you.
rachelmanija: (Default)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-03-29 12:16 am (UTC)(link)
I don't know how you'll react, but this might be exactly the right time to read it. By that I mean the whole trilogy; the first book by itself feels slight, but the entire thing is amazing and the length of one medium-length book. It's much more complicated than "democracy is awesome."
birke: (Default)

[personal profile] birke 2017-03-29 02:14 am (UTC)(link)
IAWTC.

I didn't know how to vote on Westmark because I wouldn't necessarily recommend that you marry it, but one night of passion isn't enough -- if you're going to judge the first book you really do have to commit to reading all three.