I complained on Twitter about The Name of the Wind, which I’ve had sitting in my Audible library for a while and decided to finally listen to, now that I’m finished with Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy (which is fantastic!). TNotW is clever, funny, well-written, and well-performed by the narrator, but there aren’t female characters, except for mothers and love interests. That annoys me, especially after reading so much speculative fiction that includes women.
I shared as much on Twitter, and people asked for the list of what I’ve been reading.
So, pulling from GoodReads, here are my recent forays into speculative fiction, or at least the ones I’d recommend (sometimes with caveats). I warned my Twitter friends, so I’ll warn you: I read a LOT of vampire and werewolf fiction (“urban fantasy”). For a while it was an accident, but now I find it amusing to claim I’m an expert on that little niche, so I keep finding more of those series. :)
Speculative fiction I have read fairly recently and recommend:
- Octavia E. Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy (Please read this. I want to talk to someone about it.)
- Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville books (I love this especially, because it isn’t a romance series at all.)
- Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series (which only has one more book coming out! next month! – Yes, Rachel Morgan is too dumb to live, but the side characters are great.)
- Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series (which… look, I don’t like the use of rape in a story, ever, and this has that, several books in, plus a really preachy first book; I kept reading because the main character is smarter than Kitty Norville or Rachel Morgan, and she’s a trickster, but … no, this isn’t for everyone.)
- Hugh Howey’s Silo series (I read these because a friend wanted to discuss them, and then I moved away. Anyway, book three redeems book two, in terms of women participating in the world.)
- Debora Geary’s A Modern Witch series and Witchlight Trilogy (these are really, really fluffy — happy witch families that knit and eat cookies and tackle surmountable problems together, no joke — but I find them deeply comforting)
- Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns series was so good!
- Maureen McGowan’s Dust Chronicles (I’ve only read books 1 and 2, though I see 3 is out now; I liked these better than Divergent.)
- It focuses too much on the romance and too little on the world, but I still enjoyed Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and Bloodlines books (Bloodlines isn’t complete yet.)
- And for more of the “sexy Dumbledore” trope (which VA has and which I am deeply uncomfortable with – so I guess I’m old), there’s always Veronica Roth’s Divergent series
I’m 3/4 done with the trip, give or take. I checked Google Maps, and I have less than 1,000 miles left to go! So far, knock on wood, the trip has been without major disasters.
Minor disasters: • My oil should have been changed by now, and I get nervous when I see the odometer. (I’ll deal with it in VA. Dale assures me the car won’t grind to a halt between here and there.) • Our application to rent a house is still under consideration, so without formal approval, I can’t do any paperwork or be clever and order things from Amazon to get there on Tuesday; I am also really nervous that it will somehow fall through, and I’ll be left with nowhere to live. • I forgot some stuff, which was inevitable, since I only had a week to pack. It still annoys me, though. • Due in part to some loud neighbors, the cockatiels had a night fright early in the trip, which caused Phoebe’s wing to bleed. This is always terrifying (though not as uncommon as I’d like)… but! that was their only injury to date, and it was treatable with styptic powder. I’ve been asking for rooms on the top floor, to avoid more stompy dude-bros staying above us and waking the birds and me at all hours of the night. And I’ve been leaving more light on in the room. The light might be the biggest factor: last night’s motel was close to an intersection where trains whistled all night, and there was a GIANT thunderstorm; the birds handled it all like champs, though. • I’ve been told it’s a shame I missed the Corn Palace.
All fairly minor, in the scheme of things! Here’s hoping the rest of the trip goes as smoothly!
People are stopping to comment about my Alaska plates and about the birds a lot more often, now. Montana and South Dakota seemed friendly enough, mostly in a mind-our-own-business kind of way, but Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri folks are chatty. I’ve met several bird people (one hotel owner had an eclectus parrot who sat on my shoulder!) and several non-bird people with lots of questions. So that’s been fun!
I’ll technically get to town on the 31st, but I’m staying in a motel and starting my lease on the 1st. (Assuming it’s accepted…) The plan is to work remotely for my Alaska job on the 2nd and 3rd and start my Virginia job on the 4th, so the 1st is really my only full day for unpacking and picking up necessities. I’m going to try to fit a trip to the DMV and to the Subaru dealer around my remote work on the 2nd and 3rd, if I can.
I’m pretty stressed, honestly, and it’s not just from fighting trucks on I-70 (though, oof, that too). I have a lot to do in very little time, and if it doesn’t all line up right, it’ll be kind of unpleasant. If I were smart, I would have insisted on waiting until the 8th to start, just so I’d have some prep and adjustment time in Charlottesville. But they hired me despite serious jet lag and sleep deprivation during my trial days, so I assume they’ll still want me to show up, even if I’m working through a little residual stress. They also tell me they’ll be chill about some of the overhead-time of moving, like visiting the DMV or waiting at home for the tech to set up my internet.
And maybe the relief of not driving anymore will trump the stress, anyway. :) It’s been an amazing trip, but I’m still ready for it to be over.