Bookmania reviews, June 1996

From my first web site back in 1996, Bookmania!

Sadie's Big Beaver Restaurant

The Tale of Genji; Murasaki Shikibu. (Seidensticker translation- complete).

Everyone should read this. Prince Genji’s adventures in 11th century Japan. His childhood, his innumerable love affairs, and his rise to power in the court. I love the way they all glorify vague melancholy moods into a fine art. The lives of the women are fascinating. Women in Heiian court life were supposed to be learned, good poets, artists and musicians. They had nothing else to do, so they were great writers and great lovers!

Star Mother; Sydney Van Scyoc.

Funky mutated tribal people and a strict, patriarchal religious society clash, with the plucky young space cadet caught in the middle. Interesting eco-science fiction. I was sad when the blood-lust of the crazed, mud covered, mutant girl led her to her doom.

Temporary Agency; Rachel Pollock.

Fabulous “alternate world” science fiction. The world of the present,but magic and ritual works. Satisfyingly feminist. Good disgusting, violent scene in the NY Stock Exchange where all hell breaks loose.

The Lens of the World, and Belly of the Wolf; R.A. MacAvoy.

Good fantasy world. Nazhuret’s life rising from obscure orphan and wanderer to expert fighter and powerful political figure. Nicely philosophical. If you liked Gene Wolfe’s new sun books, but got annoyed at the women characters, then I’m sure
you’d like the Lens of the World series. I haven’t found the 2nd book yet but I cheated and read the last one anyway.

Stillness at Appomattox; Bruce Catton.

Melodramatic description of the end of the Civil War. Each battle is more bloody and horrible than the last. I read a few of his other books about the Civil War, and they were all quite similar, and good if you don’t mind the constant fever pitch of excitement, mud, hardship, and gore.