What you reading there reader? I love the promise of a good book over the weekend and lucky for me I’ve got two!
I’ve just started Ammonite by Nicola Griffiths – I’m two chapters in and already totally intrigued. It follows an anthropologist called Marghe Taishan who has volunteered to study the people living on the planet of Jeep whilst testing a vaccine against a virus that infects all who land there. Intriguingly the virus only kills males so the population of Jeep is entirely female yet they manage to flourish. As she risks death to uncover the women’s biological secret, she finds that she, too, is changing – and realizes that not only has she found a home on Jeep, but that she alone carries the seeds of its destruction.
DUN DUN DUUUUUUN.
I mean, seriously, that’s one dramatic sounding premise! So far the writing has been excellent and I’m fascinated by the background of our protaganist and how it’s going to play into her experiences on the planet. Plus any book that gives a shout out to a Welsh town deserves bonus points.
Sometimes if I’ve only got ten minutes to read something I like to read single short story rather than not having time to really get back into a novel. This means I’ve usually got one or more collections of short stories going on. And so my other book is this very beautiful collection of shorts, The Female Factory by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter. I was sent this for free by the lovely Alisa who runs Twelfth PlanetPress because she is very kind and knows how much I love the Twelve Planets collection. I was particularly excited to get my hands on this one because it sounds right up my street.
Hopeful mothers-to-be try everything. Fertility clinics. Pills. Wombs for hire. Babies are no longer made in bedrooms, but engineered in boardrooms. A quirk of genetics allows lucky surrogates to carry multiple eggs, to control when they are fertilised, and by whom—but corporations market and sell the offspring. The souls of lost embryos are never wasted; captured in software, they give electronics their voice. Spirits born into the wrong bodies can brave the charged waters of a hidden billabong, and change their fate. Industrious orphans learn to manipulate scientific advances, creating mothers of their own choosing. From Australia’s near-future all the way back in time to its convict past, these stories spin and sever the ties between parents and children.
There’s just so much that interests me here – the grotesque and the uncanny are rife in concepts of reproduction and that combination of the familial, the scientific, and the gothic just calls to me. And actually it all fits with the concepts in Ammonite as well. Look at me theming like a boss.
It’s going to be a very creepy life-death-science-nature-Frankenstein sorta weekend. Hells yeah.