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Jo Walton

Jo Walton(1964- )
Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw won the World Fantasy Best Novel award in 2004. You can read excerpts of her novels and some of Jo Walton’s poetry at her website.

Tooth and Claw: Pride and Prejudice with Dragons

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

Bon Agornin, patriarch of a well-off family, is on his death bed. His family has gathered around him, including his oldest son Penn, who is a country parson, and Avan, the younger brother who is making his way up in the bureaucracy of the capital city. Also there are his unmarried daughters Haner and Selendra, and oldest daughter Berend, who is married to Daverak, a young nobleman. When Daverak claims a large part of Bon's wealth, a complex family drama starts, involving an inheritance battle and the search for suitable matches for the young daughters.

So far, fairly standard plotting for a Jane Austen novel. The twist here is that every character in Tooth and Claw is a dragon, and the wealth of the dying dragon doesn't only include his hoard of gold but also the flesh of his body, which dragon children traditionally eat to grow in strength.

When I re... Read More

Among Others: A novel for bibliotropes

Among Others by Jo Walton

Kids nowadays have it easy. If you’re into fantasy, there’s a good chance that the books you like have a devoted following and a few dedicated web sites. There may be movie franchises and/or an HBO series about them. You can buy Team Jacob/Team Edward shirts, Harry Potter glasses and A Game of Thrones calendars. There may be book release parties, even people sleeping in front of the bookstore when the next book is due out. There’s GoodReads, Shelfari and Librarything, and even if you’re not on one of those sites, it’s never been easier to connect with other fans and with the authors themselves.

Growing up in the seventies... Read More

Other Opinions: Among Others

This book thoroughly deserved the Nebula and the Hugo Awards it won. It’s about a young woman — a girl still, really — who seems able to do magic, though it isn’t always entirely clear whether this is her way of seeing the world or the way things really are. Science fiction and fantasy fans will particularly enjoy watching Morwenna work her way through the science fiction and fantasy of her time (the late 1970s, perfect for those of us in our 50s!). ~Terry

What Makes This Book So Great: Concise insights, evangelistic joy

What Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton

In 2008, Jo Walton began a regular column over at on the books she was reading. Actually, mostly re-reading. She was invited to blog on the site because, as Patrick Nielsen Hayden told her, she was “always saying smart things about books nobody else had thought about for ages.” In What Makes This Book So Great, she’s collected about a fifth of those posts and presented them in brief essays, being careful to point out she is doing so as neither a reviewer (who mostly cover new works) nor a critic. Instead, she tells us, “I want to talk about books and turn people on to them . . . I’m am rereading them [the books] for the sheer joy of it. I want to share that . . . I am talking about books because I love books.”

It doesn’t take long for the reader to pick up on that; Walton’s sheer exube... Read More

Mythic II: Compact and precise

Mythic II edited by Mike Allen

Much like its predecessor Mythic, Mythic 2 feels compact and precise. Both the prose and poetry (and everything else in between) are easy to read and have a lyrical tonality. The anthology is even and consistent, with no sudden drops or spikes in the quality. Editor Mike Allen also continues the format of alternating between both mediums, which makes the book work.

For the most part, I found the poems to be decent and the fiction enjoyable. Mythic 2 continues the tradition of weaving or re-inventing fairy tales, legends, and myths and infusing them with the sensibilities of the various authors. This isn't a long anthology, but the quality more than makes up for the brevity. I really liked all of the prose and appreciated the poetry but I think the former wins out overall, at least in this volume of ... Read More

Twenty-First Century Science Fiction: Packed full of excellent SF stories

Twenty-First Century Science Fiction edited by David G. Hartwell

Twenty-First Century Science Fiction is packed full of excellent science fiction stories. I've been reading anthologies lately, partly to improve my own short story writing, and this is the best I've found so far. It contains stories by authors such as Paolo Bacigalupi, Cory Doctorow, Catherynne M. ValenteJohn Scalzi, Jo Walton, Charles Stross, Read More

More speculative fiction from Jo Walton

Tir Tanagiri — (2000-2002) Publisher: Sulian ap Gwien was seventeen when the Jarnish raiders came. Had she been armed when they found her, she could have taken them all. As it was, it took six of them to subdue her. She will never forgive them. Thus begins her story — a story that takes her back to her family, with its ancient ties to the Vincan empire that once ruled in Tir Tanagiri, and forward to Caer Tanaga, where the greatest man of his time, King Urdo, struggles to bind together the squabbling nobles and petty princes into a unified force that will drive out the barbarian invader and restore the King’s Peace. Ringing with the clash of arms and the songs of its people, rich with high magic and everyday life, The King’s Peace begins an epic of great deeds and down-to-earth people, told in language with the strength and flexibility of sharpened steel.

book reviews Jo Walton Tir Tanagiri 1. The King's Peace 2. The King's Name 3. The Prize in the Gamebook reviews Jo Walton Tir Tanagiri 1. The King's Peace 2. The King's Name 3. The Prize in the Gamebook reviews Jo Walton Tir Tanagiri 1. The King's Peace 2. The King's Name 3. The Prize in the Game

Small Change — (2006-2008) Historical fantasy. Publisher: One summer weekend in 1949 — but not our 1949 — the well-connected “Farthing set”, a group of upper-crust English families, enjoy a country retreat. Lucy is a minor daughter in one of those families; her parents were both leading figures in the group that overthrew Churchill and negotiated peace with Herr Hitler eight years before. Despite her parents’ evident disapproval, Lucy is married — happily — to a London Jew. It was therefore quite a surprise to Lucy when she and her husband David found themselves invited to the retreat. It’s even more startling when, on the retreat’s first night, a major politician of the Farthing set is found gruesomely murdered, with abundant signs that the killing was ritualistic. It quickly becomes clear to Lucy that she and David were brought to the retreat in order to pin the murder on him. Major political machinations are at stake, including an initiative in Parliament, supported by the Farthing set, to limit the right to vote to university graduates. But whoever’s behind the murder, and the frame-up, didn’t reckon on the principal investigator from Scotland Yard being a man with very private reasons for sympathizing with outcasts… and looking beyond the obvious. As the trap slowly shuts on Lucy and David, they begin to see a way out — a way fraught with peril in a darkening world.

Jo Walton book reviews 1. Farthing 2. Ha'penny 3. Half A CrownJo Walton book reviews 1. Farthing 2. Ha'penny 3. Half A CrownJo Walton book reviews 1. Farthing 2. Ha'penny 3. Half A Crown

Lifelode — (2009) Publisher: The Boskone 46 Guest of Honor book is a unique fantasy novel by Jo Walton winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the World Fantasy award. From the introduction by Sharyn November: “Lifelode is what one might call domestic fantasy, set in a quiet farming community but it’s also about politics, God and religion, sexual mores, the make-up of a family, and how people change over time. There is magic, humor, and lots of good food.”

Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction — (2010) Publisher: It’s 1960, and the Axis powers dominate the world. Life goes on, because, as we see in “Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction,” history is driven both by big events and by small temptations… Following the appearance of her first two novels, The King’s Peace and The King’s Name, Jo Walton won the 2002 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Two years later she won the World Fantasy Award for Tooth and Claw. Her Small Change trilogy, comprising Farthing, Ha’penny, and Half A Crown, is set in a world in which Britain struck an early truce with Hitler in 1941; “Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction” is set in the America of that world.ost ambitious series. Among Walton’s many subjects here are the Zones of Thought novels of Vernor Vinge; the question of what genre readers mean by “mainstream”; the underappreciated SF adventures of C. J. Cherryh; the field’s many approaches to time travel; the masterful science fiction of Samuel R. Delany; Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children; the early Hainish novels of Ursula K. Le Guin; and a Robert A. Heinlein novel you have most certainly never read. Over 130 essays in all, What Makes This Book So Great is an immensely readable, engaging collection of provocative, opinionated thoughts about past and present-day fantasy and science fiction, from one of our best writers.



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