Winnemucca by Laura Elliot is a powerful re-telling of one of the most ancient of stories: The journey of a strong girl to womanhood in a hard, desola...moreWinnemucca by Laura Elliot is a powerful re-telling of one of the most ancient of stories: The journey of a strong girl to womanhood in a hard, desolate place. While this story has been told a million times throughout history, Laura Elliot re-frames it not only by placing it in contemporary, western-rural America, but by telling it from the point of view of a girl from a rural population historically ignored. The story is boldly told in poetic prose that I have not read since the writers of an older age. The tone of the story is set through the voice of the girl runaway before she has even realized her own talents, and is spoken with 'the sound truth makes being said', as Ray Bradbury once coined the term. Emerging from a sea of derivative and formulaic novels, Winnemucca is a fresh view of a world that is at once savage and beautiful, crushing and hopeful, and above all, brings magic back to ancient storytelling by bringing our attention back to the little things that matter, and the shifting nature of perception and reality alike.(less)
I remember reading Piers Anthony as a kid. The book I had read was For Love of Evil, which I'd like to re-read at some point. But I had never read abo...moreI remember reading Piers Anthony as a kid. The book I had read was For Love of Evil, which I'd like to re-read at some point. But I had never read about his incarnation of Death.
I am fascinated by points of view of normally feared characters, like Death, or the Devil. I think that there is always more than one side to a story, and I love exploring that. So On a Pale Horse was like catnip for cats, to me.
I liked his very human characterization of Death. I liked that Death made mistakes, very funny mistakes sometimes. I liked the concept that the incarnations began as human and personalized the roles they played, so this Death could be empathic with the people he was supposed to claim. As most good stories contain, he was a rule-breaker, there wouldn't usually be a story if the characters did the things you always expected them to do. And I liked his interactions with the other incarnations. His portrayal of the incarnations and even of God and the devil weren't simple or two-dimensional. His characters were sympathetic, even his Purgatory computer contact, which, if you have the love-hate relationship with bureaucratic computer databases that I do, rang really true and very funny, like Office Space before the movie was invented.
The only complaint I had, and this was more an artifact of the style of writing of the time, was that he sometimes told more than he showed. He lapsed into extensive thought and expository sometimes, which I've done too as an author, because the concepts he was trying to get across at the time were complicated. It was a fast read, and really worth it for the ideas in it as much as for the story he told.
Nowhereville is the beginning of a courageous story arc about young siblings who move to an off-Earth colony to start a new life with their previously...moreNowhereville is the beginning of a courageous story arc about young siblings who move to an off-Earth colony to start a new life with their previously absentee father, and about a young woman who is trying to find her place in a budding Martian revolution with contacts in the same colony. Nothing turns out the way any of them expect, as the colony becomes a crucible for multiple world-changing events, into which the young people are thrown. Add to this an evolving race of intelligent robots evoking memories of the ancient myth of the golems, and you have an intriguing and tantalizing look into humanity’s complicated future. The novel is a complex mix of the powerful dream imagery haunting the young revolutionary girl, and the unquenchable and entertaining banter between the young siblings in the face of danger. And the conclusion of the novel packs a gut-busting punch that leaves me eager for the next book in the series.(less)