Perhaps one of the strangest things about speculative fiction is the tendency for the world to be saved by teenagers. And although it’s fun to read about the romantic certainty of a first love, we all know that there’s much more to a woman’s life than that, which speculative fiction can explore in a unique way. So, with that in mind, we present our top ten older heroines in speculative fiction.
It’s unseasonably mild in our corner of England at the moment, but at this time of year, we’d usually be waking up to frost on the ground if not a few inches of snow. To celebrate the shortest day of winter this week, we decided we’d dig out some of the best frozen settings in sci fi and fantasy fiction. These aren’t exactly cheery festive stories, but they all share an affinity for evocative icy landscapes and deep snowdrifts.
Iced by M. Terry Green
In the far future, accelerating climate change has frozen the seas and covered the land in glaciers. Thirteen is a sailor in a ship that I imagine as a kind of skating catamaran, skimming across the ice with a constant eye out for dangerous crevasses.
Like many fantasy fans, we were first introduced to the genre through children’s literature, where good always triumphs and nothing is too fantastical. From tiny people living in the walls, to alternate worlds hidden just alongside our own, children’s fantasy is full of secrets to be discovered, spells to learn, and magical beasts to befriend.
With Christmas on the horizon, we thought this might be a good time to revisit some of our childhood favourites — who knows, they might still make good stocking fillers!
E. Nesbit — Five Children And It
A group of siblings discover a Sand fairy in a gravel pit beside their house. He grants them one wish a day, but somehow all their good intentions for wishes end up causing havoc.
Susan Cooper — The Dark Is Rising
A boy learns that he is one of the Old Ones, destined to gather a number of magical objects and fight the powers of darkness. Continue reading
Strange Charm is one year old! Over the past year we’ve reviewed everything from SF classics to hot-off-the-press new releases, we’ve driven the Cotswolds in search of books to fill our shelves, and we’ve even had a shelf at our local independent bookshop featuring the very best of speculative fiction by women.
To celebrate our birthday, we thought it would be fun to compile a list of some of our favourite books, many of which we’ve discovered over the past year. So without further ado, we present the inaugural Strange Charm A to Z.
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Alternately a compelling, galaxy-spanning adventure, and a carefully considered meditation on identity and selfhood.
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Three intertwined stories about three very different women, based on the fairytale of Rapunzel.
Chasing Ravens by Jessica E. Paige
A gentle, thoughtful fantasy with Russian roots and a focus on friendship and family.