Saturday, January 07, 2012

Old School

Lately I have been on an old-school reading bender. This week I am falling in lust, once again, with the work of Ellen Kushner. Last month I re-read her Swords of Riverside books. I find myself lamenting a loss of this kind of richness in the newer titles I often have to force myself to finish. Kushner was one of the first authors I found completely, dazzlingly, achingly DIFFERENT. It was like discovering that Jane Austen wrote fantasy novels and nobody knew it. Or like Tolkien had a daughter and she followed in her father's footsteps. This week I am going to force myself to SLOWLY re-devour Thomas the Rhymer. In so doing I am suddenly aware of what I found familiar in Patrick Rothfuss' wonderful King Killer Chronicles. It had eluded me... aha! Here it is! Kushner also led me to authors like Sharon Green, Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Moon, and Sharon Shinn.

I loved fantasy, but in those days there was no amazon.com with all-the-books-in-the-world at hand. In fact there were only small places-- no Borders or BN. Men dominated the shelves. I remember that even the owners and cashiers at Royal books were hesitant to even discuss sci-fi or fantasy with a quiet, nerdy girl. When I asked about women writing in the genre I got shrugs. Andre Norton was "ok," but most of what fantasy lovers could find was written by and for men. But I did have the benefit of THE BOOK STALL, a USB I miss to this very day. You could bring in two paper shopping bags full of paperback novels and swap it for one. There was a basement full of older, more worn-out titles. I found an aged, worn, yellowing copy of Green's Far Side of Forever there, falling in love with Laciel and Inthig immediately. She, and Kushner, and later the recently departed (and much beloved) Anne McCaffery were cherished jewels discovered in the basement rubble.

And so, joyously discovering SO MANY of these titles are finding new, and much less likely-to-crumble life, on Kindle-- I'm going to kick it old school. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to use a new technology to preserve these cherished titles.

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