Steampunk (for those who don’t know) is a genre that imagines a world that mimics the Victorian age, except for marvelous machines powered by steam, cSteampunk (for those who don’t know) is a genre that imagines a world that mimics the Victorian age, except for marvelous machines powered by steam, coal and the mysterious force known as the Aether. The internal combustion engine doesn’t exist, but airships, clockwork automatons (think robots), Ada Babbage’s mechanical computer and all kinds of strange and wonderful items do. If you want to see a sample of a steampunk world, just Google Steampunk Images and check out the inventive ways modern users have adapted current-day items like computers.
But back to our book review. Finley Jayne is a girl with deeply divided good and bad sides. She’s also unusually strong for a young girl. When we first meet her she is working as a maid in the household of Lord Felix August Raynes, and he’s about to “have his way” with her. Her bad side comes to her rescue and breaks his nose. She then runs into the street and is almost run over by a velocycle (sort of a motorcycle) driven by Lord Greythorne. Griffin King, Lord G., comes to her rescue and brings her into his household which consists of the insanely strong Sam and the inventive and intelligent Emily, the brain behind all the marvelous inventions they use. Griffin senses something special about Finlay and he hopes to help her bring both aspects of herself into one integrated personality
Their protagonist is the anonymous villain known only as the Machinist. An earlier encounter with one of the villain’s creations had left Sam for dead and only Emily’s skill and her invention of a mechanical heart had brought him back. Griffin also believes the Machinist is responsible for his parents’ death.
A foul plot against Queen Victoria on the eve of her Diamond Jubilee provides the group with their greatest challenge yet. There are mysterious connections between Sam’s and Finlay’s strengths as well as Griffin’s mastery of the aetherial plane and it all comes to a cliff-hanger of an ending.
The next book in the series is The Girl in the Clockwork Collar and it’s already on my Kindle. If you enjoy Steampunk or alternate universes, give The Girl in the Steel Corset a try. It's a YA (Young Adult) book but this senior citizen couldn't put it down. ...more
I just spent last weekend in the charming and thrilling company of the last Druid. Don’t believe in Druids? Well neither do I, but what is fiction forI just spent last weekend in the charming and thrilling company of the last Druid. Don’t believe in Druids? Well neither do I, but what is fiction for, except to exercise the suspension of our belief?
Atticus O’Sullivan is the only surviving Druid. But he’s not your stereotypical Druid with a long beard and musty velvet robes. Most of them were stamped out by the Romans, yet he has lived for thousands of years. As a Druid, Atticus is responsible for watching over and healing the earth. He has a magic sword which will cut through anything, stolen from the Tuatha Dé Danann, more commonly known as the Fae, and he’s been in hiding from them for years. He retains the appearance of an Irish lad of 26 and owns a bookstore in Tempe AZ, selling books on magic, the occult and herbs and herb mixtures which actually help his clients. His faithful companion is an Irish wolfhound named Oberon, who can understand English and responds mentally to Atticus. Their conversations are one of the most endearing features of these books, as are his conversations with his neighbor, the Widow McDonagh.
Atticus is not the only other-worldly creature in Tempe – there’s an Icelandic vampire who’s got a serious hate-on for Thor and also a group of Polish witches who fled the Nazi invasion. He’s got a werewolf for his daytime lawyer and the vampire handles all nighttime legal matters. Add in appearances by Bridghid, Queen of the Fae, Aenghus Og, the Morrigan, Celtic goddess of death and battle, assorted Nordic gods, plus Jesus and the Virgin Mary and you have a heady stew of magic and adventure.
The books in order are: Hounded, Hexed, Hammered and Tricked. Coming out in November is Trapped. Kevin Hearne was influenced at an early age by STAR WARS and is a self-described fan-boy nerd. He’s had a quite a bit of success and I for one, can’t wait until November when Trapped comes out. If you have a taste for fantasy and adventure, give Hounded a try. ...more
Imagine if mankind finally made it into interstellar space and found a few livable planets and lots of nasty aliens competing for them. Then imagine aImagine if mankind finally made it into interstellar space and found a few livable planets and lots of nasty aliens competing for them. Then imagine a Colonial Defense Force that exists to protect those colonies (the Colonial Union) while keeping Earth itself a backwater. The CDF commands most of humanity resources and the latest technologies and they only recruit people at the age of 75. With the promise of new health and vigor, many retirement age seniors join up and bring their years of knowledge and experience with them. The catch is they can never return to Earth again but will become colonists when their term of duty is over.
John Perry is one of them. With his beloved wife Kathy dead for eight years, he bids farewell to his son and family and rides the “beanstalk” (space elevator) to the Colonial space station. He bonds with a few fellow incipient warriors and they dub themselves the “Old Farts.” Extensive physical, psychological and emotional testing takes place once they transfer to their training vessel the Henry Hudson. 20,000 sensors are implanted in their skulls to map their brain activity. I will keep mute on the nature of their final transformation. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
John and the other Old Farts are dispersed to different stations to undergo the equivalent of boot camp where John unexpectedly makes Platoon Leader under the feared M. Sgt. Ruiz. From there they spread out across the galaxy. The fights are bloody, the aliens are spectacularly vicious and John’s innate curiosity and intelligence stand him in good stead as he advances through the ranks. A surprising encounter leads him into more dangerous situations.
I really enjoyed this book. I’ve liked other books by Scalzi and he has several more set in the same universe so I will look them up. I must confess I would look forward to a similar experience after the next ten years. If you like military sci-fi, or sci-fi in general or just like the idea of old people kicking A** I think you will like this book. ...more
I recently discovered the A&E show “Longmire” and it inspired me to go to the original books. The first in the series is “The Cold Dish” and it fiI recently discovered the A&E show “Longmire” and it inspired me to go to the original books. The first in the series is “The Cold Dish” and it finds our hero, Walt Longmire (25 years as Sheriff of Absaroka County Wyoming) clinically depressed and grieving from the death of his wife. He’s not shaving, going to the office or working on his half-finished house. No one can seem to get him out of his misery, not his enigmatic Indian friend Henry Standing Bear, his volatile (and beautiful) deputy Victoria “Vic” Moretti, or his daughter Cady who is practicing law in Philadelphia. His faithful companion, Dog, can’t even get a name.
However, when Cody Pritchard is found dead, an old case brings Walt back. Walt arrested Cody and two other young men in the rape and murder of a young backward Northern Cheyenne girl, but the boys only received suspended sentences. Walt has to pull himself together to try and prevent revenge for the others – if indeed it is revenge.
I really enjoyed the cast of characters. Walt is very well read and punctuates his laconic dialogue with Shakespearean quotes. Henry owns the only bar in the small town of Durant. He’s been Walt’s best friend since boyhood. He’s big, strong and is referred to by Walt as “the Cheyenne Nation.” There are lots of other colorful characters. Vic comes from a long line of Philly cops, is spectacularly foul mouthed and transferred to the area because of her husband’s job. She doesn’t "suffer fools gladly.” Another deputy, Branch Connally, is running against Walt for the job of Sheriff. His uncle, the previous Sheriff, Lucien Connally, is old, cantankerous and continually beats Walt at their weekly chess game but is also a useful link to long-past events in the county. I have loved the exposure to Indian culture ever since I read my first Tony Hillerman although this is Cheyenne and Crow, instead of Navaho and Ute.
There’s a unique combination of humor and suspense in the eight Longmire books. I found the same in the TV series. The books are quick reads, especially if you can’t go to sleep until you finished one. Check out the books and then the TV show. I think you’ll like them both. ...more
Lately it seems I’ve been reading a lot of mystery series featuring flawed but decent men in rugged surroundings. The latest is William Kent Krueger’sLately it seems I’ve been reading a lot of mystery series featuring flawed but decent men in rugged surroundings. The latest is William Kent Krueger’s mystery novels starring Corcoran (Cork) O’Connor in northern Minnesota. When we first meet Cork, he’s the former sheriff of Tamarack County, having lost his badge as a result of a confrontation over fishing rights by the local fishermen and the indigenous Ojibwe people. He’s also lost his marriage to Jo, a beautiful attorney who advocates for the Indians on the rez. Cork is ¼ Ojibwe (or Anishinaabe) and ¾ Irish and he’s proud of both heritages, but sometimes it seems he’s too white for the Shinnobs, (a nickname the Indians use for themselves) and too Indian for the local white population which consists of the children of the immigrant populations who flooded into the Iron Range to mine. Finns, Swedes, Germans, Irish and French all contributed to the local melting pot, and they stand united when it comes to Indian/White confrontations.
Cork is drifting as the book opens. His mentor – Sam Winter Moon, who stood as father to Cork after his sheriff father was murdered -- was also killed in the confrontation and Cork just lost heart. He’s moved out of the family home where he’d lived most of his life, and is living in Sam’s Place. A converted Quonset hut, Sam’s Place is half lakeside burger bar and half Cork’s living space. When a prominent Judge is found murdered and his paper boy, an Eagle Scout, is missing, the new political appointee Sheriff is out of his depth. Cork takes on the case and finds himself in the midst of scandal, corruption and conspiracy with more murders highlighting his increasing dread that the evil may strike close to home.
Cork has a strong sense of responsibility, is very likable, and knows everyone in the town. His character starts out bitter and disillusioned but finds himself coming alive again as his investigative skills prove to still be sharp. This book is a great start to the series – so great I had to finish off all the rest. After Iron Lake, they are: Boundary Waters, Purgatory Ridge, Blood Hollow, Mercy Falls, Copper River, Thunder Bay, Red Knife, Heaven’s Keep, Vermilion Drift and Northwest Angle. Just out is the latest – Trickster’s Point. Every book is better than the last, with Cork’s extended family explored in greater depth and the beautiful North Woods lyrically described. You can almost smell the resin scent as the sun hits the pine trees and hear the call of loons echo across the lake in the evening. The suspense is electrifying at times, but there is lots of emotional depth as well. I heartily recommend this series by William Kent Krueger. ...more
There is a genre called fan-fiction that continue the stories started in other books. In the world of Jane Austen fan-fic, there are thousands, and, aThere is a genre called fan-fiction that continue the stories started in other books. In the world of Jane Austen fan-fic, there are thousands, and, although I haven’t read them all, I’ve certainly read more than my share. The most unusual of these books is For Darkness Shows the Stars, a fanfic “mashup” of JA’s Persuasion and dystopian science fiction.
Set in the future, after genetic experimentation caused a plague known as the Reduction, most of mankind was indeed reduced mentally. Only a handful of technophobes were spared as they huddled in vast underground caverns. Now these “Luddites” as they proudly call themselves, are an aristocratic minority, who employ the “Reduced” as field workers and house servants on their vast plantations. The North family, once prosperous, has fallen on hard times, kept afloat only by the ingenuity and hard work of the second daughter, Elliott. Baron North and his eldest daughter idle away their time, spending money they don’t have. Elliott’s dead mother trained her to be responsible and care for the Reduced and the estate, a duty not shared by the rest of her family. Elliot grew close to a servant called Kai. Kai and his father are what are known as Post, for Post-Reduction -- children of Reduced who are free of the Reduction effects. They are both talented mechanics and keep the old farm machinery in working order. Kai and Elliot fell in love, but Kai grew increasingly constrained by his role and left the plantation. He had asked Elliott to come with him, but her responsibilities to the welfare of the people on the North estate were too strong for her to leave. She still writes notes to Kai, as they did when they were children, pouring out her love and grief in letters she hides in her office in the barn. She also hides in her office her notes for her genetic experiments in a new strain of wheat which should improve the yield and help feed her people through the upcoming winter – a dangerous experiment considering the attitude of all Luddites, especially her father, to any tinkering with the “Protocols,” a set of commandments meant to keep technology at bay.
Enter a new source of income. Her maternal Grandfather, known as the Boatwright, owns the neighboring estate which houses a ship-building yard and a group of seafaring Posts want to rent it and the land around it. Among them is the renowned Captain Malakai Wentworth, none other than Elliott’s Kai, grown up and successful as he said he would become. He and the other in the Cloud Fleet bring with them many items of new technology, which the Luddites are eager to embrace. The Fleet maintains they discovered the Innovation horses and the suncarts on remote islands but Elliott begins to feel that may not be the truth. One feeling that is true is the casual cruelty with which she is treated by Kai. Elliott is torn, for is she truly a Luddite, with her enhanced wheat? How this all resolves itself will be familiar and yet different to fans of Persuasion.
Persuasion is one of my two favorite Austen books and at first I had a hard time coming to grips with the familiar story in the unfamiliar setting. But I persevered and was rewarded with a thoroughly unique reading experience. Thank you, Tessa, for the fervent recommendation! ...more
Rejoice, fans of the supernatural! Charlaine Harris and Toni Kelner have edited a new anthology of stories about vamps, werewolves, ghosts and the likRejoice, fans of the supernatural! Charlaine Harris and Toni Kelner have edited a new anthology of stories about vamps, werewolves, ghosts and the like – this time with an educational slant. A new Sookie Stackhouse story has her getting into trouble just because she took cupcakes for her nephew to his school in Playing Possum. Ilona Andrews has a story called Magic Tests in which teenage Julie is asked by her guardian to infiltrate a boarding school and use her magic to find a young girl who’s disappeared. In VSI, by Nancy Holder,an FBI agent and her partner have been asked to join a secret Vampire Scene Investigations unit and while they are training learn some unpleasant lessons that hit too close to home. One of my favorites is Thomas E. Sniegoski’s The Bad Hour. A canine obedience school is haunted by an evil spirit and Remy Chandler and his Labrador, Marlowe, are called in on the case. Nine other stories take a skewed look at education. I enjoyed all of them but laughed my head off at the last, Pirate Dave and the Captain’s Ghost.
Harris and Kelner have collaborated on four other best-selling anthologies, each one themed around an aspect of ordinary life, but with ghosts, weres and vamps, they take a decidedly unordinary turn. The other books are all at the library: Many Bloody Returns, Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, Death’s Excellent Vacation, and Home Improvement: Undead Edition. An Apple for the Creature is a worthy companion. Try any one or all of the books. They will introduce you to authors you don’t know and might like. I’ve been compelled to add Sniegoski and Andrews to my reading list. Find your favorite! ...more
Humphrey Bogart was born Christmas Day in 1899 and died January 14, 1957. Only 58 years old, he left a body of work in American Film so profound he waHumphrey Bogart was born Christmas Day in 1899 and died January 14, 1957. Only 58 years old, he left a body of work in American Film so profound he was dubbed the “Greatest Male Star in Cinema History” by the American Film Institute. After working in pictures for years, his career didn’t even take off until he was 40. In the following 18 years he gave nuanced, powerful performances in “High Sierra” “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” “The Petrified Forest” “The Maltese Falcon” “Casablanca” “To Have and Have Not” “Key Largo” “The Big Sleep” “The African Queen” and “The Caine Mutiny” among others.
Stefan Kanfer does a very thorough job of detailing all the influences that made Bogart the man and the actor, including his aristocratic background, his rebellious youth, his womanizing, alcohol use and cigarette addiction. Even more important, he discusses Bogart’s films and how they shaped his image. Full of insider information, the details are fascinating. Bogart had a legion of loyal personal friends, including David Niven, John Huston, Alistair Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Judy & Sid Luft among many others. It was Lauren Bacall who coined the term the Rat Pack for the stars who clustered around the Bogarts.
After Bogart’s death from esophageal cancer, his legend continued to grow – the “afterlife” referred to in the title. He remains the most iconic film star ever to come out of Hollywood. After all, Bogart quipped, ‘You’re not a star until they can spell your name in Karachi.”
Kanfer has an extensive bibliography and include quotes from other biographers. I really enjoyed this in-depth look at old Hollywood and the man who was “tough without a gun.” ...more
This is one book that made me laugh out loud several times. If you were ever a “Star Trek” fan (in any of its iterations) you will enjoy it too. The pThis is one book that made me laugh out loud several times. If you were ever a “Star Trek” fan (in any of its iterations) you will enjoy it too. The protagonist is Ensign Andrew Dahl, has just been posted to the flagship of the Universal Union, the Intrepid. He is assigned to the Xenobiology Lab and quickly discovers whenever Captain Abernathy or the Chief Science Officer enter the lab, his mates disappear. When he presses them for an explanation, they reluctantly tell him they are trying to get out of Away missions, which have an unfortunately high mortality rate for Ensigns. Only the Captain, Science Officer Q’eeng and the Astrogator Lieutenant Kerensky inevitably return; Kerensky usually horribly mangled and on the brink of death. There are always casualties among the lowly crewmembers – the Redshirts. And Kerensky always heals in time for the next Away mission.
Dahl and four fellow ensigns, also new to Intrepid, soon start to compare notes, along with the mysterious “yeti-looking” Jenkins, and discover their mortality stats are much higher than other ships in the fleet and began when Captain Abernathy joined the ship. They come up with a theory so shocking most of them can’t believe it until more evidence keeps piling up. I don’t want to spoil the many twists and turns in this book so I won’t go any further in discussing the plot, but if you ever liked “Star Trek” or especially “Galaxy Quest”, you will enjoy this book. I started reading it at 9:30 pm and finished at 2:30 am with my head buzzing and my sides aching from laughter. Give “Redshirts” a try. ...more
I haven’t previously read the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child, although his fans I’ve talked with are extremely loyal and eagerly grab each new instaI haven’t previously read the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child, although his fans I’ve talked with are extremely loyal and eagerly grab each new installment as it hits the shelves. Then I met him at a recent mystery conference and he seemed so intelligent, I decided to give the series a try. I started with The Enemy, because although it wasn’t written first, it is the earliest in the fictional life of Jack Reacher.
When we first meet Jack, he’s a Major in the Military Police, an Academy grad and the son and grandson of soldiers. The Army is his life. He has just been transferred from Panama to Ft. Bird, NC. It’s New Year's Eve, 1990 – the Berlin Wall in falling and the Soviet Union is failing. How will the Army react to the loss of their current enemy? Reacher is called out to investigate the death of a two star General in a seedy motel. The death is ruled a heart attack, but his briefcase is missing, and with it the agenda for a meeting of top Generals of the Armored Divisions based in Europe. When Reacher and his aide, Lt. Summer, drive to Virginia to break the news to the General’s wife, they discover she is also dead, bludgeoned with a crowbar. Then the vicious butchery of a Delta Force soldier occurs on base, but Jack’s newly transferred in boss tells him to report it as a “training accident.”
He soon discovers that 20 of the best and brightest of his cohorts have been transferred the same day. This leads to all sorts of interesting questions like “Who has the power to transfer 20 of the Army’s top cops?” In the middle of this, Jack gets a call from his brother – their mother is dying in Paris.
Jack and Lt. Summer travel in search of clues, to Germany, back to Virginia, South Carolina, back to North Carolina, DC and then California. This is very much a police procedural with the duo following wherever the clues lead him, while trying to stay ahead of their Commanding Officer, who declares them AWOL. The culprits are fairly easy to figure out -- it’s nailing down the evidence that’s difficult. Jack delivers a somewhat shocking brand of his own justice at the very end of the book.
I grew up on military bases, just like Jack, and the descriptions of Army life are accurate. This book is more of a mystery than his later books, which I understand are better described as thrillers. However, I couldn’t put the book down until the end and stayed up until the early hours of dawn. So if you enjoy a good mystery with crackling suspense, try the Jack Reacher novels of Lee Child. There is also a new movie out in December starring Tom Cruise as Reacher; quite a stretch as Reacher is described as 6’ 5” and Cruise is 5’ 7”. But, hey, that’s why they call it acting. ...more
Ship Breaker is a bleak look at a dystopian future. Almost all the oil in the world has been consumed and global warming has drowned most sea-coast ciShip Breaker is a bleak look at a dystopian future. Almost all the oil in the world has been consumed and global warming has drowned most sea-coast cities and spawns “city-killer” hurricanes. Huge corporations run the world and Chinese “red cash” is the most desirable currency. The world has also tinkered with genetic manipulation and much of the fighting is done by “half men”, a combination of men, tigers and dogs.
Our protagonist is Nailer Lopez, a young teenage boy who lives and works on Bright Sands Beach on the Gulf Coast. Grounded oil tankers are the magnets that draw people to live here. Breaking up the big ships is the job of heavy crew while light crew like Nailer do the dangerous and dirty work inside the big ships, stripping them of copper wire in a daily battle to make quota. Without work, people starve. Nailer’s crew boss is his only friend, Pima, but even she must make quota. Nailer’s Dad is his sole relative, but he’s addicted to crystal slide and alcohol and takes out his fury and frustration on Nailer. Pima and her mother Sadna are his refuge when his father gets violent.
While trying to finish his work ahead of a killer hurricane bearing down on them, he falls into a hidden pool of oil. He calls to his workmate to save him, but she breaks the unwritten crew law that says you have each other’s back and coils up the copper and leaves him. When he escapes via a hatch under the oil, she is cast out on the beach by the rest of the crew. The hurricane then rages for 3 whole days. Pima and Nailer go looking for shellfish on a nearby island after the storm and come across a wrecked clipper ship. Clippers move most of the freight that railways don’t but this one is a personal yacht with immense scavenge wealth. While moving through the ship, they come upon a beautiful girl who looks drowned, but when they try to cut the gold rings off her swollen fingers she opens her eyes. Pima is all for killing her right away, but after his brush with drowning in the oil, Nailer is strangely reluctant. The girl, Nita, is from one of the big corporate families that dominate the globe and she promises them great rewards for saving her and helping her to locate her people. But there’s more to her story than she is telling them.
The themes of trust, loyalty, and greed weave throughout the book. For a YA book, it’s very dark and grim. However, it’s not an entirely unbelievable look at a possible future and I enjoyed it very much. The audiobook’s narrator, Joshua Swanson, does a great job of defining the different characters with different voices. I’d recommend this for older teenagers and adults as a sobering environmental warning and an exciting adventure. ...more
The “beautiful mystery” referred to in the title is sung music know as plain chant or Gregorian chant. It is the earliest notated music in history, suThe “beautiful mystery” referred to in the title is sung music know as plain chant or Gregorian chant. It is the earliest notated music in history, sung beginning in the 5thand 6thcentury. It is still being sung in monasteries and convents around the world. It is in one of those monasteries, deep in the North Woods of Québec where the murder in this mystery occurs. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is sent to investigate. The monastery is Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups and was hidden from the world for hundreds of years. But they published a CD of their music and astounded the modern world – even the Church in Rome who believed the Gilbertine order to have died out. No one from the outside world had ever been admitted until the discovery of the body. Gamache, his protégé Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir and the local Sûreté officer Captain Charbonneau are the first. In fact the boatman, who brings them on the final stage of their journey, is convinced they won’t get in. But murder has no respect for the secrets of the cloister.
The dead monk was the choirmaster, Frère Mathieu, and in his hand is a piece of antique vellum – scraped sheepskin which predates the commonplace use of paper in Europe. On it are the words to part of the Requiem (funeral) Mass – Dies Irae, or day of wrath. What does it signify, what was the murder weapon and why was the choirmaster's body in the abbot’s private walled garden, accessible only through his office? These questions and more are up to Gamache and Beauvoir to answer in order to find which monk is the killer. Adding to the pressure is the fact that Gamache’s superior officer is actively trying to get rid of him.
I love Louise Penny’s books. Her Gamache is the natural successor to Ngaio Marsh’s urbane civilized DCI Roderick Alleyn. He has a close relationship to Beauvoir and looks on him as a son. The calm atmosphere of the monastery as the monks go about growing their own food, tending their animals, harvesting wild blueberries to be dipped in dark chocolate and foraging for wild mushrooms in the surrounding woods sounds enchanting. The rhythm to the daily life in the Abbey, punctuated by the eight times a day the monks gather to chant prayers known as the Divine Office, is very true to life. Plus, I sang Gregorian chant in my youth and still prefer it to almost all contemporary music used in the Church today.
I liked this book on so many levels and can’t wait to see what further adventures lie in wait for Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir, although the ending was heartbreaking. If you haven’t read any of Penny’s books before, you might try this one or start at the beginning with Still Life. You won’t be disappointed, I can promise you. ...more
Welsh-born Morwenna Phelps has just transferred to an English Boarding School and the custody of her here-to-fore absent father and his three odd sistWelsh-born Morwenna Phelps has just transferred to an English Boarding School and the custody of her here-to-fore absent father and his three odd sisters. It’s a lot to take in at one time. Also, she’s living with a disability, incurred when she and her twin sister together prevented her half-mad witch mother from destroying the world. She and her sister, you see, saw fairies in the industrial ruins in the Welsh countryside and her mother tried to take control of the fairies and rule the world. Morwenna and her sister stopped her, but the consequence was a crushed hip and pelvis while her twin was killed.
Custodial services being what they are, Mor is not allowed to stay with the grandparent who raised her, but is sent to England to live with the father she barely knows. Luckily, Mor has found an interest in Science Fiction, which her father shares. She discovers all the early pioneers and treasures dipping into the numerous worlds of sci-fi. Told in diary format, its all first person point of view and for me, it resonated. I too was sent to a boarding school and never felt like I fit in. I also found refuge in the works of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Roger Zelazny, Zenna Henderson, McCaffrey and Tolkien. To this day, I feel rich if I have books to-be-read around me and devour them at the rate of one or two a day
Mor discovers the unparalleled delights of Interlibrary Loan at the library in town. She also finds a circle of friends at the library who have formed a sci-fi book club. For the first time since the death of her twin, she has people she can relate and talk to. There’s even an interesting, good-looking boy, who looks beyond her disability.
But Mor’s mother invades her dreams and threatens her by magically appearing in the night. Only the incantation against fear from Dune helps dispel the phantom. The end of the book finds Mor back in Wales and facing her mother again.
I loved this book, as much for the reminders of the sci-fi books that enriched my teen years as the story itself. Morwenna’s tale brought back some of the wonder of my youth. ...more