From the Cosmos to Crete

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers – This story involves a crew of various species serving on a ship that makes wormholes. There’s a pretty large cast, and I can’t remember all of them. That said, the characters were well-written, and there’s a lot of discussion of how different sorts of beings experience such things as identity, morality, and relationships. Having the ship run on algae is also an interesting idea, and there are a few mentions of how people have fled Earth for various other planets. It’s the first book in a series, and I do intend to move on to the second, but not right away. There’s a lot of other stuff on my plate for the time being.

A Red-Rose Chain, by Seanan McGuire – The ninth October Daye book deals with a political issue resulting from Toby’s successful replacement of the Queen of the Mists. The old Queen has fled to Silences, located in Portland, Oregon, where the King has threatened to declare war against the Mists. Toby has to serve as a diplomat in this other territory, a role in which she has no experience and a less than appropriate temperament. I’ve read so many of these recently that I’m forgetting what happens in which book, but I’ve enjoyed the whole series so far, and its portrayal of Faerie, and of Toby and her found family.

Drawing Blood, by Molly Crabapple – I’m not sure when I’d first heard of Molly, an artist, writer, and activist; but I really became aware of her due to her friendship and collaboration with Kim Boekbinder.

I have a postcard she drew of Kim as a mermaid. I found her art style interesting, full of swirls and using a few basic colors, often with political symbolism. This book is basically Molly’s autobiography, telling of her life, work, and loves. She’s had a bit of a bohemian lifestyle, spending time in various places, working in the burlesque circuit as well as the art world, and having some complicated relationships. She did a lot with the Occupy Wall Street movement about ten years ago, which I was certainly aware of, but was never quite sure of its effectiveness when the protest was mostly polite and passive, even if I agreed with their basic philosophy. Of course, the weird thing about protests is that they’re easy to ignore…well, no, not to ignore, because they’re hard to avoid, but it’s pretty simple to just avoid them, and you have to put some effort into finding out what they’re actually protesting. But at the same time, the police will beat up and arrest protestors, often with no provocation, so there must be some kind of fear on the part of the authorities. But I digress. She later started writing about various issues, starting with Guantanamo Bay. Obviously, there are a lot of drawings accompanying the text, both sketches and reproductions of larger works.

Ariadne, by Jennifer Saint – There seems to be a bit of a recent trend of fiction with feminist takes on classical mythology. I’ve read Madeline Miller’s Circe, and this one delves even more into the character, and gives her a somewhat modern perspective. It’s a weird contradiction in Greek mythology how there are some incredibly powerful and well-respected goddesses when their society was incredibly patriarchal. Ariadne is a mortal character, but I’ve seen speculation that she might have been worshipped as a goddess by the ancient Minoans, and retained but lessened in significance in later Greek stories. This is just speculation, but even in the surviving myths, she’s the granddaughter of Zeus on one side and Helios on the other, and she’s said to have actually married a god. Gods have affairs with mortals all the time, but how often do they put a ring on it, or in this case a constellation? Anyway, the narrative switches between Ariadne and her younger sister Phaedra, giving their perspectives on the various parts of the Theseus myth, how they were both attracted to his rugged heroism but later find out how horrible he is to women. Ariadne’s marriage to Dionysus has its own difficulties, particularly when it comes to his war with Perseus.

This entry was posted in Art, Authors, Book Reviews, Feminism, Greek Mythology, Magic, Music, Mythology, october daye, Philosophy, Politics, Relationships, seanan mcguire and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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