- Neil Gaiman – Fragile Things. I’m not really sure what to say, as I would imagine most people who visit Examining the Odd have read some or all of Gaiman’s work! Since this book is a collection of short stories (and wonders!), I decided to randomly choose one of the pieces too. The chosen piece was The Fairy Reel, one of the “wonders”, since it is a poem rather than a short story. I’ve heard people liken this poem to a Keats ballad.
So plaintive and so wild and strange that all who heard it danced along
And sang and whirled and sank and trod and skipped and slipped and reeled and rolled
Until, with eyes as bright as coals, they’d crumble into wheels of gold…
I’d love to know which Gaiman piece is your favourite, from Fragile Things or elsewhere. People often say he’s hit or miss for them, but he’s all hit for me.
2. George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four. Ah, the number one dystopian novel.
1984 is set in Oceania, which includes the United Kingdom, where the story is set, known as Airstrip One. Winston Smith is a middle-aged, unhealthy character, based loosely on Orwell’s own frail body, an underling of the ruling oligarchy, The Party. The Party has taken early 20th century totalitarianism to new depths, with each person subjected to 24 hour surveillance, where people’s very thoughts are controlled to ensure purity of the oligarchical system in place… But Winston believes there is another way… “He who controls the past, controls the future” is a Party slogan to live by and it gives Winston his job, but Winston cannot see it like that. – Online Literature
It made me laugh that this book was randomly chosen right now (I live in the UK).
The conditions of government repression, censorship, and mass surveillance Orwell foresaw have seemed imminent, if not fully realized, in the decades following the novel’s 1948 publication, though the adjective “Orwellian” and many of the novel’s coinages have suffered a good deal through overuse and misapplication. Just as the first radio play of 1984 warned of a “disturbing broadcast,” this 1965 version begins, “The following play is not suitable for those of a nervous disposition.” – Open Culture (hear the play in full)
Behind Winston’s back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously.
3. Ann Leckie – Ancillary Justice.
A space opera that skillfully handles both choruses and arias, Ancillary Justice is an absorbing thousand-year history, a poignant personal journey, and a welcome addition to the genre. – NPR
Justice of Toren is one being who gets caught up in political crossfire and finds herself reduced to a fragment of what she was: a lone human body, limited and alone. The first part of the book alternates between present and past, plunging the reader into the story and slowly providing the background. This is not a book you should try to skim. – Jim C. Hines
Here it was, the moment I had worked toward for twenty years. Waited for. Feared would never come.
This book is actually from my to read pile, so I can’t give you my own opinion yet! I’m really looking forward to it though – I love books that span a huge amount of time.