Thursday, June 23, 2016

What is Ada Palmer reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Ada Palmer, author of Too Like the Lightning.

Her entry begins:
Because I’m a historian and a comics/manga reader as well as a lover of science fiction and fantasy, I’m always reading several different things at once, some F&SF, some comics, and some delightful weird historical things. Having the three categories to jump among, and lots of books going at once, helps me fit in little slices of reading into corners of time between tasks, which is the only way I can get any leisure reading in between writing and teaching and working on history research, and it lets me always have something I can read to get into the mood to work on any given project. At the moment I’m reading three of each: three history books, three comics, three F&SF.

My current oddball history choices are Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto (1516), The Miracles of King Henry VI (translated 1923) and The Miscellaneous Works of Charles Blount Esquire to Which is Prefixed the Life of the Author and an Account and Vindication of His Death (1695). Orlando Furioso is a huge, over-the-top Arthurian fantasy epic, written in the Renaissance but very Medieval in structure. It’s packed with knights, paladins, sorceresses, warrior maidens and Saracen champions, all wandering around having absurd adventures which...[read on]
About Too Like the Lightning, from the publisher:
Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer--a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world's population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competion is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destablize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life...
Visit Ada Palmer's website.

The Page 69 Test: Too Like the Lightning.

Writers Read: Ada Palmer.

--Marshal Zeringue