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Science Fiction and Fantasy avid reader and founding member of The Realm shares the books she re-reads!

  • The Steel Remains - Richard Morgan

    I love the grit and grime of Morgan’s storytelling, its insistence on reminding readers that most of the time, people with a lot of power are savage bastards who will happily destroy those beneath them for profit or expediency. I love the fact that the hero with a sword in this epic tale of inter-dimensional evil and messy local politics is gay. I love that the hero’s bestie is a black lesbian alien, and his other BFF is a nomadic tribesman who is a perpetual outsider. Indeed, all three of these heroes are outsiders – Morgan’s meta-commentary on how scarce these non-straight, non-white people are in the pages of epic fantasy despite the fact they, you know, exist in the real world and read epic fantasy as well.

  • Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie

    The best thing about rereading Leckie is uncovering the sly humour that she’s cunningly woven into her tale of deep space, sentient AIs and despotic leaders. The default gender in the world of our protagonist is female, and this makes for some beautiful ambiguity and thoroughly satisfying queer relationships, while also exploring notions of power, force, the meaning of one’s body, and the importance of tea.

  • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet - Becky Chambers

    Not since Buffy or Firefly have I felt such comfort being around a group of fictional people. I’m not sure how Chambers does it, but she has created a cast of characters who you instantly care for and love – and who care for and love you back. The intimacy and kindness and joy present in her space opera just scores to counterbalance the dangers of tunnelling holes in space time, inter-species conflict and being a single human a very, very long way from home.

  • A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. LeGuin

    There’s a deceptive simplicity here. What appears to be a simple right of passage story is, under the surface, a meditation on how good and bad are constantly shifting and evolving inside everyone, that no one is wholly good (or wholly bad) – and that this tension between the two propels people and plot far better than tales of binary opposites. It also has one of the most frightening possession scenes I have ever encountered. I re-read the entire Quartet once a year.

  • Pattern Recognition (Penguin Books Australia) - William Gibson

    It’s dating quite quickly now, but for a good 5-10 years after it was first published it had the feeling of a fragment of the near future pulled into our world. Gibson’s attention to clothing as costume has always been attractive to me, and every time I see a man in a bright blue suit I can’t help but think of his slightly repellent, slightly attractive Hubertus Bigend. You could argue that this isn’t SFF, but I’m including it anyway!

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