Walk to the End of the World by Suzy McKee Charnas
In the mood for a good piece of post-apocalyptic, feminist science fiction? Well, then, I've got a doozy for you! Suzy McKee Charnas' first novel, Walk to the End of the World (1974), is just such a book, combining a tough little tale with a healthy dose of sociopolitical rumination.
Taking place many years after mankind has destroyed its planet with wars and pollution, "leaving it to the wild weeds," Walk to the End of the World introduces the reader to the society of the Holdfast, a seaside community whose inhabitants subsist on the seaweed, kelp and hemp they manage to farm. Charnas reveals an extraordinary wealth of detail regarding the Holdfast's customs, religion and cultures; her depth of imagination, not to mention writing skills, are most impressive, especially for a beginner novelist.
Perhaps the most salient aspect of life in this post-apo... Read More
Suzy McKee Charnas(1939- )
Suzy McKee Charnas has won several awards for her fiction, including the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Learn more at Suzy McKee Charnas‘s website.
The Holdfast Chronicles — (1974-1999) Publisher: After a nuclear holocaust humanity survives in isolated enclaves of feudalism, scratching a meagre existence among the ruins of their world. One such community, the Holdfast, has evolved a mythology which holds women responsible, for the cataclysm, and they are now treated as an inferior caste — “Fems” — dominated and degraded by men and valued only as breeding animals and slaves. Holdfast society is rigidly structured with the older men, the Seniors, having absolute authority over the younger juniors. When Eykar Bek flouts that authority by deserting his post two other men, Captain Kelmz and the renegade Servan d Layo, are sent out to find and capture him. Instead, all three elect to go in search of Bek’s half-legendary father Maggomas. Now pursued by the forces of the Seniors, the trio fall in with Alldera, a female slave with a mission of her own — to find and enlist the aid of the Free Fems rumoured to exist beyond the Holdfast. Their travels take them the length and breadth of the Holdfast, reaching an unexpected and shocking conclusion in the distant town of ‘Troi. Walk to the End of the World is both an engrossing adventure story and a penetrating (but never strident) examination of human gender relationships.
Walk to the End of the World by Suzy McKee Charnas
The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas
After black-leather vampires, dandified vampires, little-girl-lost vampires, CEO vampires and sparkly “vegetarian” vampires, Suzy McKee Charnas’s Edward Wayland is as bracing as a cold ocean wind in your face.
Weyland is the main character in The Vampire Tapestry, first published in 1981. For Weyland, there is no curse, no mysterious virus, no fear of the sun, crosses or garlic. Simply put, he is an evolved predator adapted to feed on humans.
Charnas unfolds her meditation on the mind of a predator in five linked novellas. Three of these are told from the point of view of the people who encounter Weyland.
In “The Ancient Mind at Work,” Katje deGroot, a fifty-year-old white South African of Boer descent, is far from home in the northeastern college where she followed her now-deceased husband... Read More
Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe edited by Ellen Datlow
Whether you're aligned with the literary academia or an unabashed genre reader, the name Edgar Allan Poe commands much respect. I think it's only fitting that a modern anthology inspired by the author's body of work should be released on his 200th anniversary. Kudos to Solaris Books for taking on the task of publishing such a book, which all comes together with the firm editorial direction of Ellen Datlow. Datlow, for me, has been an editor who's less impressed with literary fireworks or verbal acrobatics but focuses more on the meat and bones of the story, its fundamentals if you will. In that respect, Poe lives up to that promise. That's not to say the stories will immediately grip you. In fact, a good chunk of them take time to develop. But for the most part, the patience and the struggle are well worth the wait, and what's consistent among them — and what I've come to ass... Read More
Sorcery Hall — (1985-1989) Young adult. Publisher: Weird things began to happen, Tina noticed, right after the explosion in the subway. Stuff was disappearing-ordinary things like the closet doorknob and Tina’s best sneakers, highly improbable ones like the kitchen linoleum, and most amazing of all, the great bronze statue of King Jagiello in Central Park. The three punky guys who kept turning up, with their chains and wrist straps and jackets lettered “Prince of Darkness” across the back, were obviously part of the terror. But it wasn’t until Tina met the old street fiddler Paavo that she understood the menace that threatened the city and her own role in the terrifying struggle that lay ahead as an evil power from another dimension challenged her world. Here is a brilliant and compelling fantasy, which builds irresistibly from its everyday beginnings at a subway station on Manhattan’s West Side to an epic battle in Central Park. Music and magic conspire together as Tina, her new friend Joel, and the ancient wizard Paavo join forces to defeat an awesome enemy.
Stand-alone novels and collections:
Dorothea Dreams — (1986) Publisher: A reclusive artist is visited by a dying friend, a ghost from the past, and an angry boy with hostages at his mercy; the outside world imposes brutal demands that she must meet with courage and imagination, to avert disaster.
The Kingdom of Kevin Malone — (1993) Young adult. Publisher: Amy is drawn into a dangerous and disturbing fantasy world in Central Park, created as an escape from an abusive father by Kevin Malone, a bully from Amy’s neighborhood.
Music of the Night — (2000) A collection of award-winning stories. Publisher: The vampire, the werewolf, the witch, the Phantom of the Opera — Suzy McKee Charnas brings together four monster-movie archetypes as you’ve never encountered them before, along with an original Afterword. The rage of a tormented adolescent is poignantly expressed in the Hugo-winning “Boobs.” A vampire’s sessions with a psychiatrist become a contest of wills in the Nebula-winning “Unicorn Tapestry.” Dark magic puts a woman’s ugly insecurities on public display in “Evil Thoughts.” And a beautiful woman exerts an uneasy control over the tempers of a monster in the critically acclaimed “Beauty and the Opéra or The Phantom Beast.” Suspenseful and thought-provoking, MUSIC OF THE NIGHT affirms the vitality of these classic demons of our cultural imagination, at once nightmarish and seductive.
Stagestruck Vampires: And Other Phantasms — (2004) Publisher: The scary, lush, and complex stories of a seminal fantasy author are presented in this retrospective collection. In “The Unicorn Tapestry,” a therapist finds herself transformed by a client who may be a vampire. A young girl discovers the pitfalls of puberty and an animal nature in “Boobs”; an unlikely shaman finds protection in an unwilling ally in “Peregrines”; and in the dark retelling of the two fairy tales “Beauty and the Opéra or The Phantom Beast,” a tempestuous maestro meets his equal. Also included are two of Charnas’s essays, “Art Is Long,” an insightful and entertaining look at the unusual process of writing a four-book trilogy, and “The Stagestruck Vampire,” an autobiographical look at the author as a playwright.
Other story collections: