wearing out a captivated audience
Fiction in the Twentieth Century
( Wesleyan University Press, 398pp, $ 46.95), editor Justine Larbalestier presents 11 seminal science fiction stories by key women writers in the field, among them Kate Wilhelm, James Tiptree Jr and Octavia Butler, with accompanying commentaries by the likes of Brian Attebery, Cathy Hawkins and Wendy Pearson.
The prevailing tone is moderate, earnest and fair, and the cumulative effect is to restore proportion rather than push an agenda.
Occasionally, some commentators become too strident for the readership they need to persuade but, given trends in the treatment of women globally, it’s excusable.
Daughters of Earth is insightful and important, reminding us what good science fiction by women can achieve when focused where needed and fairly acknowledged for all that it has brought to the literary table.
In ( HarperCollins, 370pp, $ 33), Dean Koontz presents another engaging adventure in the life of one of his most interesting and endearing characters.
Odd Thomas not only sees ghosts but also bodachs, those shadowy harbingers of doom that herald misfortune on a grand scale and have been part of so much of his personal suffering. Following the grim events in Odd Thomas and Forever Odd, our gifted 21- year- old is hiding out
Brother Odd in the High Sierras at a monastery school for disadvantaged children, a precious time of calm that ends when Odd sees bodachs prowling the premises in increasing numbers.
Believing that misfortune can’t be far behind, he begins a frantic search to learn what is going on, a search made terrifying by horrific deaths among the brothers and by the strange bone- like creatures that seek to harm people, and one child in particular.
Although lacking the scale and impact of its predecessors, Brother Odd is a freestanding, entertaining third instalment in a series whose ultimate themes are enduring ones: duty of care and the importance of personal responsibility.