Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Five elegant & moody fantasies

Sofia Samatar is the author of the World Fantasy Award-winning novel A Stranger in Olondria and its sequel, The Winged Histories. One of her five favorite "intensely strange, beautifully written, and transportive fantasies," as shared at
Ice by Anna Kavan

A man drives into a snowstorm in pursuit of a white-haired girl. His planet is dying, succumbing to the ice of a nuclear winter. Cities crumble, water sources freeze, and our narrator becomes less trustworthy as hallucinations trouble his heroic role. At the center of it all stands the glittering, fragile heroine, passive as snow, apparently at the mercy of her brutal husband. On its publication in 1967, Brian Aldiss championed this novel as science fiction; in the 2006 reissue, Christopher Priest describes it as slipstream. Anna Kavan, who died in 1968, can no longer inform us about her genre (though she told Aldiss she hadn’t intended to write science fiction). She can’t tell us whether she was writing an allegory of the Cold War, an ecofeminist critique, or a chilled fever-dream of heroin addiction. We are left with this crystalline novel by a writer so dedicated to her art she took the name of one of her own characters as a pseudonym. It’s more than enough; Ice is a wintry and desolate marvel.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue