Saturday, March 06, 2021

Five SFF books about memory

Daniel Polansky’s first book, Low Town, was released in 2011, winning the Prix Imaginales. Two sequels followed, Tomorrow, The Killing (2012) and She Who Waits (2013). His follow up series, The Empty Throne, began with Those Above (2015) and concluded with Those Below (2016). A City Dreaming was released in 2016. His novella, The Builders, was nominated for the 2016 Hugo award. His latest novella, The Seventh Perfection (2020), was featured on Kirkus’s best of 2020 list. He lives in Los Angeles.

[My Book, The Movie: Low Town; Writers Read: Daniel Polansky (September 2011)]

At Polansky tagged five books fascinated (tormented?) by memory, including:
Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

A series of objects chronicle an uprising against an unjust regime in this charming, swiftly-paced novella. In the mysterious, evocative recollections of an old washer woman the reader experiences the overthrow of an empire, along with a more intimate depiction of her youth spent in the court of a fallen monarch. As our narrator interweaves her personal experiences as a revolutionary with the sanitized popular accounts of the new regime, we see how memory becomes history, and history becomes myth. Vo has a knack for the small touches which give fantasy its color—her names are fabulous, and throw away references to mammoth-born armies and weather mages are a delight—and the story moves along at a brisk and thrilling pace.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue