Friday, June 22, 2007
I will admit it, I'm a sci-fi fantasy fan. I watched Star Trek the Next Generation and some of the other spawned series. I have really been enjoying Battlestar Galactica. I loved the Lord of the Rings movies (and books), Narnia, Harry Potter, etc. The Children of Dune series a few years ago was particularly good.
(During the recent stress I've been under, I've been repeating the Bene Gesserit litany, I must not fear to myself. To give everyone an inking of just how much of a dork/geek I am).
I don't know if it's an escape thing - or if being raised mormon predisposed me to be able to comprehend some new/changed world far, far away. Who knows.
Needless to say, I'm a fan and probably always will be. I'm not so much of a fan that I will go to Sci-fi conventions, but I may dress my son up as Yoda next year for halloween.
I read The Blue Sword at the age of 11/12. I remember reading it in one night. Written by Robin McKinley, it is billed as young adult fiction. So it's a quick, easy read. As I often sold it to people, the first couple of chapters are rather dry. It's really background - leading up to the story.
It's hard to explain the plot without giving everything away, or without diminishing it. It's especially hard to look critically at one of your favorite desert island books (which this is for me).
Nonetheless, let's just say that the hero(ine) of the books, a particularly tall woman ( quote taller than all of the women, taller than most of the men) becomes an unlikely warrior. She learns how to wield a sword, ride a horse, develops a friendship with a cat type being named Narknon - basically, way too difficult to explain here. One particularly poignant moment (and part of why I like it other than just a warrior woman type story) is when she realizes that she is a bridge between cultures, she can keep her heritage, and be a part of her new adopted country (that she's fighting for) at the same time.
The catch is that this main character's name is Angarahad, or Harimad, Hari. I really didn't feel up for using any of those names as my pseudonym. It just didn't fit.
So - take Robin McKinley's second book, Newbery award winning The Hero and the Crown. Again, another a woman warrior coming of age story - and I'm greatly oversimplifying it. I think my friend Laura will let me mention that this is her favorite of the two. A princess whose Mom dies giving birth to her, always finds herself on the outside (her mother was thought to have "bewitched" her father, the king). In the end, we find out that her mom was actually the strongest of everyone. Needless to say, in finding her place in the family, Aerin develops a fire-protection salve and fights dragons (I'm not making this up). She too fights what can only be considered evil - the goddess who climbs and falls (before one of the last fights in the book, she climbs up an endless tower).
Both books are well written. I have been able to read them much in recent years, much like "The Princess Bride", I know them way too well. Needless to say, I highly recommend them to anyone with middle-school age kids who may be interested in fantasy type books.
I only found out recently that the Aerin from the Farscape series spelled her name the same way. While I liked that series, I really didn't have her in mind at all with this pseudonym.