Cienna can help. Send your questions to advice seattlereviewofbooks. I'm really struggling right now. What book have you read that made you feel most hopeful about humanity? I'm sorry to hear that. Many of my human friends struggle. Some have been struggling for exactly the last three years; some struggle every winter. Like you, many have turned to me for help. At first, I tried making them Cactus Patch dolls to encourage them to be less needy, as my own mother did for me as a child.
From this I learned that not everyone's face is as heavily calloused as my own, and that even people who brag about how much they "love nature" are not as grateful as they should be when receiving such a present. You're wise to ask for a book. Unfortunately, I can't point to one book that makes me feel hopeful about humanity. The act of reading makes me feel hope.
Within books you find more imagination, emotion and vulnerability than people are conventionally allowed to express in our daily lives.
Fides et Ratio (14 September ) | John Paul II
Even if many books fail at being a complete triumph, all books are an intense labor of love. That should make you feel hopeful. Each week, Christine Larsen creates a new portrait of an author for us. Let us know , or see if you can find them in the archives. One-hundred and sixty-eight years ago today, in , Moby Dick was published. Melville wrote one of the great romances of our time, as Ishmael wakes for the first time with Queequeg.
You had almost thought I had been his wife.
The counterpane was of patchwork, full of odd little parti-coloured squares and triangles; and this arm of his tattooed all over with an interminable Cretan labyrinth of a figure, no two parts of which were of one precise shade—owing I suppose to his keeping his arm at sea unmethodically in sun and shade, his shirt sleeves irregularly rolled up at various times—this same arm of his, I say, looked for all the world like a strip of that same patchwork quilt.
Indeed, partly lying on it as the arm did when I first awoke, I could hardly tell it from the quilt, they so blended their hues together; and it was only by the sense of weight and pressure that I could tell that Queequeg was hugging me. Every month, Nisi Shawl presents us with news and updates from her perch overlooking the world of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. You can also look through the archives of the column. This world is burning. Just ask California.
Long a plot device driving fictional futures imagining extraterrestrial colonization, ecological crises are real, here, now.
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Admitting that takes a certain audacity. Butler displayed in her Earthseed books--especially the first, Parable of the Sower. In Sower , members of a vanishing middle class hunker behind the walls of gated communities, increasingly the prey of roaming homeless have-nots, eventually heading northward to escape heat and drought. Our present. The art scene, of course, is located in its damp and dangerous lower stories.
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And yet, despite depicting literal and blatant stratification of this kind, Robinson supposes ways for his wide spectrum of characters to get the best of capitalist oppression. In Autonomous , by Annalee Newitz, humanity adapts worldwide to the new geography of global climate change. Submarines and reclaimed tundra make corporate expansion into formerly frozen wastelands profitable. Buckell also raises the possibility of remediating the mess climate change is making of his not-too-far-distant future, though said possibility is fraught with danger.
Hopeful takes on the outcome of current ecological trends are now viewed as a SFFH subgenre. Some of it is commentary on more recent works consciously identifying as solarpunk. One of my contacts at Baen Books told me their company had a secret policy against publishing books in which climate change was a given. They swore up and down that though Baen would deny it publicly, any manuscript which treated global warming as a scientifically proven theory was summarily rejected.
Then again, neither are any of the other major publishing houses, despite that wistful quotation about capitalists selling us the rope to hang them with. Time to braid our own and tie it into optimistic nooses. Tenderness, danger, daring, wit — Time War has them all. Plus birds, berries, seals, skeletons, and extracts from Mrs.
In other words, these pages are strewn with myriad delights. When melting glaciers free a cranky djinn, he teams up with a lone-wolf soldier to trouble the too-calm tenor of a Kathmandu both post-apocalyptic and techno-Utopian. The djinn, the titular Lord of Tuesday, wants to party really, really hardy. Support coolness! Printed in a deep muddy brown ink on cream-colored paper, Seattle cartoonist Kelly Froh's latest comic, The Downed Deer , looked different than every other book at Short Run this year.
The cover, featuring Froh peering into a mass of branches and vines, evokes something darker than most of Froh's work — more complicated, more serious. This cover is not lying to you. Then, Clotfelter has to go into the woods to pee. He doesn't come back out. As Froh camps by the side of the road in a vigil for the missing Clotfelter, she becomes a bit of a media sensation.
The police investigate his departure, and find no leads. Froh appears on TV news and local women bring her food. She sits there staring into the dense vegetation of roadside Florida, trying to will Clotfelter back into the world. Then, more menacing things start to happen.
When I picked up The Downed Deer at Short Run, Froh told me not to flip through the book; she said seeing some of the later pages would ruin the book's surprise. But even knowing that the ending is surprising doesn't sap the book of its impact. The indicia on the inside front cover of The Downed Deer makes it clear that the book "is a work of fiction.
Despite the clear and up-front insistence that the book is fiction, Froh's regular readers, who have grown accustomed to the cartoon Froh standing in as a one-to-one avatar for the cartoonist herself, can't help but wonder how much of the story is true. Adding to the impact, too, is the book's blending of styles. As usual, Froh's self-portrait is just made up of a few lines — one big rounded mass of hair, no differentiation between her eyes and her glasses, a plain t-shirt and jeans.
But Froh the character camps out on the fringes of the dense forest, which Froh the artist illustrates in deep detail: the leaves on bushes could also be a reptile's scaly skin, the branches of trees could be people waving off in the distance. Are those snakes or switchgrass? It's unclear, and thrillingly so. It's been a while since I've read a horror comic that worked as elegantly as The Downed Deer.
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It's unsettling from beginning to end, and the book builds to a crescendo worthy of a classic Twilight Zone episode. It's dark and menacing and wondrously effective comic storytelling. More than pretty much any award or publication date announcement, the annual event we most look forward to every year in the literary calendar is the release of the VIDA count , which tallies the gender identification of authors at literary magazines for the previous year.
We spoke with Nicola Griffith right at the launch of this site about the importance of counting voices, if you need a refresher. Representation of nonbinary writers is still vanishingly small.
Hopefully their inclusion in this count can begin to move the needle. We also missed data on race and ethnicity this year, but the rationale — VIDA is taking time to re-think their Intersectionality Survey in response to feedback from their community and their own team — is a good one. Still, we look forward to seeing a more nuanced view return next year.
We also hope to see the new and improved intersectional component better ingrained into the initial gender conversation, rather than as a separate index. The collaboration between Hyesoon and Choi continues to energize and challenge contemporary world Anglophone poetry into a zone beyond borders.
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I interviewed Seattle author Paul C. Tumey last month about his book Screwball! The book is an anthology of some of the earliest pioneers of comics art from the funny pages, and Tumey is a fantastic guide: he can explain the nuances of comics as well as just about anyone, and his passion for the classics of the funny pages is infectious.
Pretty much every film buff knows that the early years of cinema is a wasteland of lost art , as very few of the first silent films were archived. When I told Tumey that I feared the same was true of comics, he had some good news: in the middle of the 20th century, America's public libraries were eliminating their archives of old newspapers, but "before they did, they photographed them for microfilm," Tumey explained.
Granted, the switch to black-and-white microfilm means that the vibrant colors of many old Sunday comic strips have been lost forever, but Tumey is grateful that most of it exists at all. That's not too long in the span of things, but in America, that's forever.
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But to make Screwball! Tumey would bid on classics of the form, and he'd frequently get outbid by one of the handful of comic strip collectors out in the world. For those strips that he couldn't dig up through internet bidding, Tumey says the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library at Ohio State University is "a tremendous, resource for books like this and for comics scholars. One aspect of these early cartoons that has been lost to time is the actual process of cartooning. Were they all drawn out in elaborate detail, or were the artists winging it as they went along?