Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Quote: Susan Palwick

This quote, another paean to spring growth, is from Susan Palwick's The Necessary Beggar, in which an entire family are exiled from their planet and arrive, with no preparation and no papers, in an immigrant refugee camp in Nevada in 2011. This is from one of the epic poems of their homeland.

"And when the shoots came up
She greeted each one by name
For she knew them all already as old friends:
Hello, sweet peas, hello carrots, hello parsnips!
Greetings my wonderful melons! Hail rutabaga!
Welcome if you are the spirits of my ancestors,
Welcome if you are the spirits of strangers,
Welcome if you contain no human spirit at all,
But only the souls of green growing things.
You shall feed my family, you shall feed the world,
Every year you shall die and come to life again
And you will give us life, and we will revere you.
-- from the Epic of Emeliafa"

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What if the good guys won?

Grist has a review of Kim Stanley Robinson's Capitol Code trilogy: Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below, and Sixty Days and Counting. Dealing with a near-future earth that is fighting global warming, these books present some compelling possibilities. (I was reading the first one just as hurricane Katrina hit!)
Check out the review at

Monday, May 07, 2007

2006 Tiptree Award Winners are here!

Here at Big Blue Marble we like feminist science fiction, so we're very excited that the 2006 Tiptree Award Winners are here: Half Life by Shelley Jackson, and The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente. This year's jury also gave special recognition to Julie Philips' biography James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon.

We also have these books from the Tiptree Honor List:
The Privilege of the Sword, by Ellen Kushner (2006)
St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, by Karen Russell (2006)
A Brother's Price, by Wen Spencer (2005)

Check out http://www.tiptree.org/ for more Tiptree Winners and more information about the Tiptree Award. You can also find more information about this year's winners at http://www.wiscon.info/downloads/W31eCube9.html.

The Tiptree Awards will be presented on May 27, 2007 at WisCon; Jen and I will be there!


Friday, May 04, 2007

Quote: Barbara Kingsolver

My second quotation is from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, the brand-new book from Barbara Kingsolver and her family. It's an extraordinary book, and I haven't read very far into it yet. My original quote idea was three paragraphs from chapter 1 that begin, "We'd surely do better, if only we knew any better." (Go read them; they're quite thought-provoking!) There's a question in there about what asparagus plants look like in August. I have my neighbor Rhoda to thank for the fact that I actually know the answer to this question!

Anyway, someone convinced me that the three paragraphs would be too long, so I went searching for another quote. This was not hard: practically any paragraph in the four chapters I've read would be an effective pull-quote. I've settled on the following, which takes asparagus (and its unusual growing cycle) and goes deeper:

"From the outlaw harvests of my childhood, I've measured my years by asparagus. I sweated to dig it into countless yards I was destined to leave behind, for no better reason than that I believe in vegetables in general, and this one in particular. Gardeners are widely known and mocked for this sort of fanaticism. But other people fast or walk long pilgrimages to honor the spirit of what they believe makes our world whole and lovely. If we gardeners can, in the same spirit, put our heels to the shovel, kneel before a trench holding tender roots, and then wait three years for an edible incarnation of the spring equinox, who's to make the call between ridiculous and reverent?"