Midway Relics and Dying Breeds September 24, 2014 Midway Relics and Dying Breeds Seanan McGuire Between the roots and the sky. The Golden Apple of Shangri-La September 23, 2014 The Golden Apple of Shangri-La David Barnett A Gideon Smith story. Selfies September 17, 2014 Selfies Lavie Tidhar Smile for the camera. When Gods and Vampires Roamed Miami September 16, 2014 When Gods and Vampires Roamed Miami Kendare Blake A Goddess Wars story
From The Blog
September 25, 2014
After Paris: Meta, Irony, Narrative, Frames, and The Princess Bride
Jo Walton
September 23, 2014
It’s All About the Benjamins in Sleepy Hollow: “This is War”
Leah Schnelbach
September 23, 2014
The Death of Adulthood in American Culture: Nerd Culture Edition
Lindsay Ellis
September 22, 2014
Five Brilliant Things About Doctor Who “Time Heist”
Paul Cornell
September 19, 2014
“WCKD is Good,” But The Maze Runner is Bad
Natalie Zutter
Showing posts by: Tansy Rayner Roberts click to see Tansy Rayner Roberts's profile
Mon
Sep 29 2014 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 3

Servant of the Empire rereadWelcome back to the Servant of the Empire Reread. If discussion of human sacrifice and general gore is distressing to you, you might want to skip this one. I kind of wish I had. But even a queasy stomach won’t stop me from bring the snark to House Acoma!

Not nearly enough making out in this chapter.

Chapter 4: Vows

SUMMARY:
Turakamu is punk rock. Otherwise known as the Red God of Death, his priests are all about skulls, blood, nude dancing with skeletons, and let’s face it, probably sticking safety pins through their noses. The worship of Turakamu is hardcore.

Desio of the Minwanabi is desperately hoping to achieve vengeance on Mara and a reputation for being seriously ruthless. Having invited a group of guests over for a party, he surprises them with a blood ritual. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that no one ever wants to be SURPRISED by a blood ritual.

[Read More]

Mon
Sep 22 2014 12:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 2

Welcome back to the Servant of the Empire Reread.

This week in the ongoing adventures of Mara of the Acoma, it’s all about admin, flirting with sexy redhead barbarians, and the vengeance of her enemies. But mostly it’s about admin. Also you get two chapters, because one of them is full of nothing much happening at all!

Chapter 2: Planning

SUMMARY: Desio of the Minwanabi is not a happy man. He’s angry, scared, paranoid, mostly drunk and oh yes, regularly abusing the women who are sent to him as stress relief.

Incomo, the First Advisor of the Minwanabi, isn’t having a great time either, mostly because he has to deal with Desio. Desio is no fun to work with.

[Read More]

Mon
Sep 15 2014 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 1

Here we go again! Welcome to the Servant of the Empire Reread.

The good news for those of you who remember the Great Whitewashed Cover of Daughter of the Empire is that the edition I have of Servant of the Empire from my teen reading years does not feature a blonde Mara on the front cover.

This Mara looks more Arabic than Asian, but as she is portrayed largely in shadow and with a setting sun behind her, the overall effect is racially non-specific, and not especially white, which allows the reader to make their own call. The lack of blondness is a definite improvement! It probably doesn’t hurt that the artist of this particular cover is Don Maitz, husband of one of the book’s authors.

But never mind the wrapping, let’s get to the contents of the second volume.

[Read More]

Mon
Sep 8 2014 2:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 15

Welcome back to the Daughter of the Empire Reread! Since I last opened this book, I’ve been to London and back for Loncon 3, this year’s amazing and truly multi-national Worldcon. It was lovely to see old friends, to “meet” longtime online friends, and to make new friends. I was very pleased when people came up to introduce themselves, having heard me on Galactic Suburbia and Verity!, or through my writing, but a special shout out to those of you who came up and said hi because you’ve been reading this very column!

Also, if you haven’t already, go read Liz Bourke’s description of the Hugo ceremony—everything she said and more! Liz is one of the many people I was so delighted to get to meet in person instead of in internet.

And now, the end is here—of Book 1, that is. When we last saw Mara, she was grieving, shocked and under siege from all sides, but still capable of manipulating one murderous concubine, one panicked First Strike Leader, and Lord Jingu of the Minwanabi himself.

[Read More]

Mon
Aug 25 2014 9:00am

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 14

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! Prepare for emotional whiplash with this one as we bid farewell to a beloved friend, and follow Mara to the edge of that very dangerous cliff she has been skirting around for some time. Politics, murder, blackmail, tea, and a collapsible balcony.

What could possibly go wrong?

Chapter 16: Funeral

Summary: Mara attends the funeral of her loyal warrior Papewaio. She is surrounded by a temporary honour guard of Imperial Whites (who are not nearly the same as Imperial Stormtroopers, honestly, but you’re never going to get that image out of your mind now). Nacoya has begged off the ceremony, claiming smoke inhalation, and is quietly resting in the suite of the Warlord himself, safe.

[Read More]

Mon
Aug 18 2014 9:00am

Rereading The Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 13

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This week, the birthday party from hell continues with an impromptu Elvis impersonation (you can argue that’s not what the Warlord is doing, but I won’t ever believe you) and a whole lot of snark as Mara faces off against her greatest enemy.

Chapter 15: Arrival

Summary: Almecho the Warlord finally arrives at his own birthday party, with a literal fanfare of music, accompanied by two dark-robed Great Ones (magicians). The Great Ones put a bit of a dampener on the festivities, as they make everyone extremely nervous.

[Read More]

Mon
Aug 11 2014 9:00am

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 12

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This week, Mara attends the Birthday Party of Doom, Arakasi pretends to be a warrior and a certain vengeful concubine starts honing that revenge of hers.

Worst. Birthday. Party. Ever.

Chapter 14—Acceptance

Summary: Mara has faced many challenges since she took on the mantle of Ruling Lady of the Acoma, but all of this has been small potatoes compared to what she faces now—the Warlord’s birthday party, hosted by Lord Jingu of the Minwanabi on his own lands.

[Read More]

Mon
Aug 4 2014 11:00am

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 11

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This week, Bruli’s seduction doesn’t work out quite the way he hopes, and Arakasi really needs a smart phone. Actually, Bruli’s life would have been much improved if he also had a smart phone. Sadly, there are no smart phones on Kelewan.

Chapter 13: Seduction

Summary: Mara’s courtship of Bruli of the Kehotara has been going on for some time. They have shared several dinners, she has flirted with him, and Nacoya has given him ridiculous amounts of advice as to how to impress the Ruling Ladies, which mostly is about conspicuous wealth and glamour. Arakasi always attends these dinners as a servant, because Bruli’s apparently mindless conversation often includes some significant gems of information, which the Spymaster can add to his portfolio.

[Read More]

Mon
Jul 28 2014 12:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 10

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This week, Mara goes to war over a gambling debt, and then faces a very different kind of warfare back at home...

Chapter 12: Risks

SUMMARY:

Mara approaches Lord Jidu of the Tuscalora over the insult her offered her, and his unpaid gambling debt to her late husband. Lord Jidu is a wealthy lord thanks to his thriving chocha-la crops, and should be able to pay her family what he owes. Unsurprisingly, he now patronises her and dismisses her concerns as unimportant because she is female—gambling debts are matters of honour between men, and she shouldn’t bother her silly little head about them.

[Read More]

Mon
Jul 14 2014 3:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 9

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! Finally a chapter in which almost nothing terrible happens. Phew.

Chapter 11: Renewal

SUMMARY:

Mara performs the ritual of mourning with her husband’s ashes—with notably mixed feelings as compared to when she did this for her father and brother. Her father-in-law arrives at the gates. While her soldiers prepare themselves to defend her if necessary, Mara goes out to Lord Tecuma’s litter and presents Ayaki to him; hardly the ideal circumstances for this ceremony.

Cold in her presence, Tecuma calls her a murderess and makes it clear to her that he knows she must have engineered for Bunto to make such a public insult to the Warlord and his father.

[Read More]

Mon
Jul 7 2014 3:00pm

Rereading The Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 8

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This is where Mara's machinations finally begin to pay off - and it's not a pretty sight. Once again, she gambles hard on the Game of the Council, with everything at stake...

Chapter 10: Warlord

SUMMARY:

As the Acoma household rallies itself in preparation for the honoured guests who are about to descend, Nacoya is worried about her mistress. Mara looks like she is preparing for war, rather than a dinner party.

[Read More]

Mon
Jun 30 2014 10:00am

Rereading The Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 7

Daughter of the Empire reread Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This is another 2 chapter week, largely because I’m trying to get through Mara and Bunto’s marriage as quickly as possible. Also, Arakasi’s coming home! It’s about time.

Chapter 8: Heir

SUMMARY:

Mara is very pregnant now, and convinced that her baby is a boy. Buntokapi has been proving what an appalling master he is for months now, and the slave girls are clearly quite jumpy and stressed about the sexual demands he places on them.

Mon
Jun 23 2014 10:00am

Rereading The Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 6

Daughter of the Empire reread Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This is one of the chapters of which I have the strongest memories from this book, both positive and negative… let’s unpeel the layers of that, shall we?

Trigger warnings for domestic abuse. Yeah, so there’s that.

Chapter 7: Wedding

SUMMARY:

Mara endures the long and complex formalities of her wedding ceremony to Buntokapi, third son of the House of Anasati. Included among the guests are the Warlord himself, attended by two Great Ones (magicians) and high-ranking representatives of all of the Five Great Families except for the Minwanabi, who are excused because of the blood feud. Representatives from all the houses are seated according to rank.

[Read More]

Mon
Jun 16 2014 2:00pm

Rereading The Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 5

Daughter of the Empire reread Raymond Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! Two chapters this week. Mara gains a spy network, and negotiates to host a new cho-ja queen on her land… giant insects holding tea parties, people! How can you not love these books?

Chapter 5: Bargain

SUMMARY:

Arakasi, former spymaster of the fallen Lord of the Tuskai, negotiates with Mara for the service of his spy network. They are impressed with each other, but Arakasi insists his network must remain anonymous even from her.

[Read More]

Mon
Jun 9 2014 9:00am

Rereading The Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 4

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This week, Mara approaches the Anasati family as suitor, playing a dangerous game.

Chapter 4: Gambits

SUMMARY:

Tecuma, Lord of the Anasati, awaits the arrival of the upstart Acoma girl.

His advisor, Chumaka, is impressed at the presumption of Mara, to ask for a marriage with Jiro, Tecuma’s second son. Of course, it would be an excellent and powerful match for Mara, as it would mean she could expect Tecuma to deplete his resources in aiding her blood feud with the Minwanabi. But Jiro can do better—and while Tecuma has no love for the Minwanabi, he has reasons of his own to enjoy watching the Acoma family disappear.

[Read more...]

Mon
Jun 2 2014 9:00am

Rereading The Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 3

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This week, Mara traps herself an army from the unlikeliest of places, hoping to win them over with charm and semantics. She also makes a vital choice about her future husband.

Chapter 3: Innovations

SUMMARY:

Mara’s caravan of goods trundles slowly through the mountains with a small escort, inviting itself to be hijacked. Finally, the grey warriors show up and the bandit leader, Lujan, declares the lady to be a hostage. She has other plans.

[Read more...]

Mon
May 26 2014 9:00am

Rereading The Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 2

Daughter of the Empire Raymond E. Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire. In this installment, we get political commentary, business advice, and Mara starts figuring out how to be Lady of the Acoma. Meanwhile, her old nurse gives her a sex talk.

Chapter 2: Evaluations

SUMMARY:

Mara awakes in the glade to find the assassin dead at her feet. Her throat is bruised, but she has been rescued by her Strike Commander, Papewaio.

[Read more...]

Mon
May 19 2014 9:00am

Rereading The Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 1

I’m re-reading the fantasy trilogy that meant the most to me as a teenager, starting with Daughter of the Empire (1987) by Janny Wurts and Raymond E Feist. I remember it as being a devastatingly clever, female-centred political drama in a fantasy world. Let’s just see, shall we?

CHAPTER 1: LADY

SUMMARY

In the temple of Lashima, the Lady, Goddess of the Inner Light, seventeen-year-old Mara prepares to renounce the world and join the Order of Lashima. She is giving up everything in service to her goddess, including her personal honour, and that of the great family Acoma into which she was born.

[Read more...]

Mon
May 19 2014 9:00am

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: An Introduction

Rereading the Empire Trilogy

When I was thirteen years old, I didn’t exactly discover epic fantasy on my own. I acquired it as a social defence mechanism. I came home to Australia after half a year in the UK to find that my friends had discovered epic fantasy in my absence, and I was going to have to catch up in a hurry in order to make sense of their conversations.

Seriously, they weren’t talking about anything else.

So in I leapt. By the time my fourteenth birthday came around, I was well and truly hooked—not only immersed in this genre of swords and thieves and magic and really fat books, but I was now planning and writing my own ten-book epic series featuring a pair of twins, a prophecy, a rogue, a witch, a traitor…

Ahem. We all have to start somewhere.

[Adventures in epic fantasy: discovering Feist and Wurts’ Empire Trilogy]

Mon
Dec 9 2013 11:00am

The Main Character in Their Own Lives: Does Diversity Make YA SF/F Better?

Mural Josh Sarantitis A Secret Book Philadelphia

Julia Rios of the Outer Alliance and Alisa Krasnostein of Twelfth Planet Press recently ran a crowdfunding campaign on Pozible to raise support for Kaleidoscope, a proposed YA anthology of contemporary SF and fantasy with protagonists of diverse backgrounds. They were looking for main characters who would help create a broader picture of what a ‘typical teenager’ is, whether through their race, sexuality, culture, or living with a disability. As examples of what they were looking for, the editors of Kaleidoscope had already commissioned works by Sofia Samatar, Ken Liu, Vylar Kaftan, and Jim C Hines.

During the fundraising process, they also ran a month-long carnival of diversity on their blog, featuring a variety of essays from writers, presenters, publishers and readers about what diversity in pop culture means to them, why it is important, and how hard it can be sometimes to battle your own internal barriers to put such experiences on the page.

[Calling for greater diversity in YA: thoughts, discussion, and recommendations...]