Spaceships, Magicians and Walruses

Ah, September. The smell of new backpacks, the rude 6 am alarms, and the return, one hopes, to a writerly routine. Eventually, once the dust has settled…

Yes, I know I totally missed posting in August. One of the reading highlights of the past month? Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie. I’m not at all surprised that it won the Hugo award. It’s one of the best sf books I’ve read, period. The fact that the protagonist’s first language is gender-ambiguous, and everyone is referred to as ‘she’ by default, is just the icing on the cake. Without the cake, the icing would be mere yucky sugar. As it is, the book is an excellent read. Also, I am now in love with a spaceship.

What’s waiting at my bedside table:The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-First Annual Collection” edited by Gardner Dozois. This is a delight every year, and I’m looking forward to many hours (re)discovering old and new writers.

What I’m reading right now: Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. I’m only half-way through, so reserving judgement. It’s sort of like Harry Potter for New Adults. So far, I much prefer the middle-grade magic of the HP series, but its probably an unfair comparison. Harry Potter is a flawed but loveable hero. Quentin Coldwater, on the other hand, is an over-privileged teen who is rather hard to like.

One of the things I did like about The Magicians is the recurring theme of a book actually doing what it’s supposed to do: transporting you to a different world. Escape is often what we want to do when we read fantasy. Being whisked off to a magical world via a book or a convenient wardrobe – okay, this has been done to death, but it’s always fun to read about.

Of course, you can never escape yourself. And thus Quentin Coldwater manages to carry his negative baggage with him wherever he goes. Which is why this book is a tad more interesting than it might otherwise have been.

What I just finished reciting to myself: The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll. This is one of my favorite poems. It was part of the ICSE high school English Literature syllabus and featured prominently in our tenth grade final exam. I don’t remember any other questions from that paper, but this one sticks out and always will:
“Do you think the Walrus is oily?”

I loved that question. I spent an inordinate amount of time writing the answer. Yes, the Walrus is an oily hypocrite. Look at how he sorts out the largest oysters to eat, all the while weeping at their sad fate!

And on that cheerful note, I’m signing out. Happy Labour Day!


About Rati Mehrotra

Science fiction and fantasy writer. I blog at: Thanks for dropping by!
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3 Responses to Spaceships, Magicians and Walruses

  1. Rati, it’s not unusual to miss posting in August. Summers are always too short and there’ll always be time for “catch up” in the fall 🙂
    Oh, and I love that poem. It’s never a bad time to “talk of many things…”


  2. Priyanka says:

    If I ever got that question in my final exam, I think I’d spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what the question actually means! 😛


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