Sort of “ladies day” here, some fiction by and/or about women.
The Spider Woman’s Daughter by Anne Hillerman
Disclaimer: I haven’t read the earlier stories by Tony Hillerman,, though I gather they are pretty popular.
Daughter Anne Hillerman picks up her father’s franchise, with a mystery featuring his characters and the next generation, set in Navaho country and surroundings. The details of the area are nice, though clearly we are supposed to have visited and have clear pictures in our heads.
The characters are interesting, many Navaho including a couple generations of women. Hillerman portrays several families and their extended clan relations in some detail. I assume these portraits are realistic, but have no way to know.
The story itself is pretty illogical. The bad guys are unrealistically crazy-yet-really-smart. The motives make little sense, and the case is much more complicated than seems plausible to me. And, naturally, the police plod around with little clue. Sigh.
Not my cup of tea, but fine for a summer read.
Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
A very strange tale of an alternative world, a magical city only accessible through an arcane virus-like transmission.
It’s all awfully complex, dark, and I’m sure I didn’t follow everything.
The people are sad and mixed up, and human relationships ephemeral and fragile.
But the writing is beautiful, and the imagery is intense (over the top in many cases) and sensual.
The combination of sad people, broken relationships, and steamy intimacy was quite unnerving. But difficult to put down.
I hadn’t read much if any of Valente, so this was a revelation to me. It’s wonderful stuff, though not a light read.
Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea
This shoot-em-up, video gamish story is not my usual cup of tea. Overblown military fetishism, combat porn, graphic violence. Who needs it?
Nevertheless, this turned out to be pretty well written, with enough character development, space operatic future cultural descriptions, and generally good story telling. Nothing particularly deep here, but enough to keep me reading.
The protagonist ‘Koko’ is a (she thought) retired mercenary on the 26th century Earth, who is thrown into a life and death fight due to, well, its not completely clear why the big guys are trying to kill her.
Along the way, we learn a bit about how this miserable, worn out, world works. For the most part, it ain’t pretty.
What’s a girl to do? Whatever is necessary, obviously. You go, girl.
Not a bad read, and certainly plausible for a bit of light summer reading.
- Hillerman, A., The Spider Woman’s Daughter. 2013, New York: Harper Collins.
- Valente, C.M., Palimpsest. 2009, New York: Bantam.
- Shea, K., Koko Takes A Holiday. 2014, London: Titan Books.