November 2014 Spec Fic Pick

So, it’s already that half way mark when we’re reading the October book, but must decide on November’s pick. November is our Speculative Fiction month and I’ve decided to provide you all with 4 choices and to try my hand at creating a poll! Notice the poll’s seasonal look. Please cast your vote, even if you don’t plan on reading along with us – we appreciate all the opinionating.

If you’re Spec Fic lover, don’t forget that Edmonton’s Pure Spec Festival is happening soon (Nov. 14-16)! And to answer the question of those who know me: yes, I have gotten involved in volunteering for yet another festival. I’ll be posting more on it next week.


Half World by Hiromi GotoHalfWorldbyHiromiGoto
Melanie Tamaki is human—but her parents aren’t. They are from Half World, a Limbo between our world and the afterlife, and her father is still there. When her mother disappears, Melanie must follow her to Half World—and neither of them may return alive. Imagine Coraline as filmed by the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (Howl’s Moving Castle), or Neil Gaiman collaborating with Charles de Lint. Half World is vivid, visceral, unforgettable, a combination of prose and images that will haunt you.

childgardenThe Child Garden by Geoff Ryman
In a semi-tropical London, surrounded by paddy-fields, the people feed off the sun, like plants, the young are raised in Child Gardens and educated by viruses, And the Consensus oversees the country, ‘treating’ non-conformism. Information, culture, law and politics are biological functions. But Milena is different: she is resistant to viruses and an incredible musician, one of the most extraordinary women of her age. This is her story and that of her friends, like Lucy the immortal tumour and Joseph the Postman whose mind is an information storehouse for others, and Rolfa, genetically engineered as a Polar Bear, whose beautiful singing voice first awakens Milena to the power of music.

Widdershins by Charles DeLintwiddershins
* I have been informed that you should be able to pick up the Newford series with any book and be fine with it, so I’m going with Widdershins because I already own it. -Tania

Jilly Coppercorn and Geordie Riddell. Since they were introduced in the first Newford story, “Timeskip,” back in 1989, their friends and readers alike have been waiting for them to realize what everybody else already knows: that they belong together. But they’ve been more clueless about how they feel for each other than the characters in When Harry Met Sally. Now in Widdershins, a stand-alone novel of fairy courts set in shopping malls and the Bohemian street scene of Newford’s Crowsea area, Jilly and Geordie’s story is finally being told.

Before it’s over, we’ll find ourselves plunged into the rancorous and sometimes violent conflict between the magical North American “animal people” and the more newly-arrived fairy folk. We’ll watch as Jilly is held captive in a sinister world based on her own worst memories–and Geordie, attempting to help, is sent someplace even worse. And we’ll be captivated by the power of love and determination to redeem ancient hatreds and heal old magics gone sour.

To walk “widdershins” is to walk counterclockwise or backwards around something. It’s a classic pathway into the fairy realm. It’s also the way people often back slowly into the relationships that matter, the real ones that make for a life. In Widdershins Charles de Lint has delivered one of his most accessible and moving works of his career.

sister-mineSister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson
We’d had to be cut free of our mother’s womb. She’d never have been able to push the two-headed sport that was me and Abby out the usual way. Abby and I were fused, you see. Conjoined twins. Abby’s head, torso, and left arm protruded from my chest. But here’s the real kicker; Abby had the magic, I didn’t. Far as the Family was concerned, Abby was one of them, though cursed, as I was, with the tragic flaw of mortality.

Now adults, Makeda and Abby still share their childhood home. The surgery to separate the two girls gave Abby a permanent limp, but left Makeda with what feels like an even worse deformity: no mojo. The daughters of a celestial demigod and a human woman, Makeda and Abby were raised by their magical father, the god of growing things–a highly unusual childhood that made them extremely close. Ever since Abby’s magical talent began to develop, though, in the form of an unearthly singing voice, the sisters have become increasingly distant.

Today, Makeda has decided it’s high time to move out and make her own life among the other nonmagical, claypicken humans–after all, she’s one of them. In Cheerful Rest, a run-down warehouse space, Makeda finds exactly what she’s been looking for: an opportunity to live apart from Abby and begin building her own independent life. There’s even a resident band, led by the charismatic (and attractive) building superintendent.

But when her father goes missing, Makeda will have to discover her own talent–and reconcile with Abby–if she’s to have a hope of saving him . . .

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7 Responses to November 2014 Spec Fic Pick

  1. I haven’t heard of any of these books. That tells you something about my reading habits!

    • writereads says:

      Spec Fic / Fantasy in Canada is a pretty niche thing, apart from a few notable exceptions (De Lint, Guy Gavriel Kay, Doctorow, Erikson, Sawyer). But our niche is pretty good and I personally hope that we get to read the Hopkinson because I’ve been hearing her speak for years (in person and on the CBC) and 1. her voice is like butter so I’m sure I’ll be hearing her read her own book in my head and 2. she always has something intelligent to contribute to any discussion I’ve heard her participate in about Spec Fic. -Tania

  2. ebookclassics says:

    I haven’t read much Spec Fic (I didn’t know it was called this) for ages. I’m voting for Nalo Hopkinson because I’ve been curious about her writing for years.

  3. Sherie Turcott says:

    i vote for Nalo Hopkins, sister mine. looks like an interesting read.

  4. Pingback: Write Reads #22 Blind Spot by Laurence Miall with Guest Host Alexis Kienlen | writereads

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