Archive for September, 2013

September 29, 2013

Strange Horizons is a good thing

I feel the need to point this out because they’re entering the final stages of their yearly fund drive.

I sometimes write for Strange Horizons. This year I have a review in their bonus fund drive issue (the full issue can be found here) and a piece in their forthcoming issue on Indian science fiction. But when I linked to the fund drive a couple of weeks ago on twitter, I said that while I would like the magazine to continue as one of its occasional writers, it’s as a fan that I’ve found it most vital to me, and it’s as a fan that I’m speaking of it here.

Other people have written about the fiction that the magazine publishes, and obviously a lot of it is very good (See this and this and this). Lots of places publish good SFF short fiction though*. What I really value about SH are the nonfiction parts–the reviews, articles and columns, which are often brilliant. (I’ve been unforgivably late with my own reviews for them in the past, simply because having a standard to live up to is unnerving and makes me want to curl up and read fanfiction instead).

SH is the sort of place that will review mainstream literary fiction which has elements of SF, or epic fantasy from a major publisher, or self-published work, or academic work on SF, or translated fiction, or My Little Pony (before it became a Thing), or the occasional video game, and it is always taken for granted that all of these are worthy of serious thought, and that engaging with things is an enjoyable activity. Sometimes they publish academic work. Recently a review linked to a cat gif.

It’s also the sort of place where it is almost taken for granted that lots of contributors (both fiction and nonfiction) will be from outside the USA, will come in skin colours other than white, and gender identities other than male. Conversations about diversity within fandom often make me feel uncomfortable; here, I don’t particularly stand out and it’s great.

There isn’t any single conversation around books and films or other media on the internet or off it; it’s always a set of overlapping sub-conversations (stating the obvious here, sorry). The set of conversations and (I just wrote “reader-book interactions” and deleted it because *shudder*) that make up Strange Horizons has felt sometimes like coming home. I’m rarely sure of my ability to contribute something of value to the conversation, but this is a literary (and fannish?) culture that I value and want to be a part of.

I spend a lot of time on this blog trying to think through half-formed ideas, and feeling inarticulate and not very bright. If you don’t read Strange Horizons and you do read this blog, and if any of the sort of writing I want to be doing is coming across at all, it’s possible that you will also find SH valuable and important.

Plus, there are prizes to be won.


*Or so I assume; I’m very lazy about reading short fiction.

September 26, 2013

Maria Semple, Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Apparently I have reached a point where “not enough Indians” can be my stance on a book. It’s a good book though.


For me, the most fascinating character in Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette? was one who was offscreen (or whatever that term’s literary equivalent might be) the whole time, and eventually, it turned out, may not have existed.

Semple’s book tells of the disappearance of its title character through a collection of documents—emails, letters, bills, transcripts, even a school report card—all put together and interspersed with narrative by Bernadette’s daughter Bee as part of her search for her mother. We learn that Bernadette was, several years ago, a celebrated young architect, a recipient of a MacArthur Genius Award, that her insistence on using local materials was way ahead of its time. We also know that her husband Elgin is a genius computer programmer. In the years since her finest work was destroyed, however, Bernadette has withdrawn from the world. She drops her daughter to school by car, never getting out to meet the other parents, or volunteering for school activities. She accomplishes most household tasks through the offices of an online personal assistant. She certainly hasn’t worked as an architect in several years.

If Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is overly quirky at times, it’s also a smart, lighthearted exploration of creativity and depression, as a precocious teenage girl might see it. We have here the snappy dialogue and observational comedy that are probably the legacy of Semple’s time as a TV writer, and the broad stereotypes with which we’re presented at the beginning of the book remain unchanged at the end, though perhaps we’re encouraged to see them more kindly.

But then there’s Manjula. Early on, we’re told that Manjula Kapoor is an associate with an organization known as “Delhi Virtual Assistants International”. For the rather exploitative fee of seventy-five cents an hour, she manages her client’s life entirely. New clothes and other items are selected and bought online by Manjula, and delivered to Bernadette’s house. She arranges flight tickets and makes restaurant bookings. She is superlatively efficient. She even manages to sound polite and friendly when faced with Bernadette’s ramblings about Ikea (“You know what it’s like when […]Of course you don’t.”) or her frequent rudeness (“You are able to place calls, aren’t you? Of course, what am I thinking? That’s all you people do now”, “you bet your bindi that’s how big I want it”). She is the ideal assistant, made all the more so by the fact that she’s never seen. It’s easy to compare her to Elgin’s administrator, Soo-Lin, who is too present, and with whom Elgin cheats on his wife.

Elgin disapproves of his wife’s employment of Manjula, and later events seem to prove him right. Delhi Virtual Assistants International doesn’t exist, and nor does Manjula. The whole thing has been a scam, a front for a Russian crime syndicate who are now in possession of the family’s financial details. Incidentally, this means that a book with characters named Manjula and Balakrishna (Bee’s real name, because she was blue when born) and set in part among computer programmers in America has no Indians.

And yet, all of this only makes me more curious about the perfect assistant. Her name (or his name, or their name) may not have been Manjula Kapoor, but someone has been reading and replying to emails, negotiating with chemists for stronger anti-seasickness drugs, making dentist’s appointments and booking flight tickets and restaurant tables.

To wish that a book had been written from a different perspective altogether is like wishing it had a different ending, or different characters; it is to want change something fundamental about it. Semple’s an author fully in control of her book; there’s a reason that it is narrated by Bee and not Manjula. But perhaps it’s something fundamental that I want to change. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is a book that suggests that its various wealthy and privileged characters are worthy of a lot more kindness than we are at first inclined to give them. I wonder whether Semple could have made a convincing case for doing so from Manjula’s perspective.


September 14, 2013

Bulletpoints: Madras Cafe



  • When I watched this film a couple of weeks ago, PVR Priya in Basant Lok was showing two films: Madras Cafe (obviously) and Chennai Express. Neither film is set in Chennai/Madras, though Madras Cafe does have a few scenes there.
  • Other people have written in much greater detail about the film’s glossing over huge swathes of the real political events it depicts-but-doesn’t-really (since changing everyone’s names/refusing to name certain characters is the best disclaimer). And I’m not confident enough of my own historical knowledge (and have too many Sri Lankan relatives) to add to this. For most of this post I’m going to pretend the whole story is fictional, but there are real-world consequences I can’t ignore.
  • Intent is not the best angle upon which to hinge one’s own critical position, but in some places I found myself wildly curious to know what the creators of this film were trying to do.
  • Was it, for example, their intention to create an Indian intelligence service that was quite this … unintelligent? The gormless but well meaning Vikram Singh (John Abraham) who only seems to know anything at all about the fraught political situation in Sri Lanka because he did his “homework”–his wife, who actually watches the news, at least seems to be aware that there’s a war going on. Perhaps she’d be better at his job than he is. The gormless but well meaning Siddharth Basu, who really ought to have stuck with Mastermind India–what are things coming to when T.V quizmasters are politicians? (*insert joke about Derek O’Brien*) The gormless but well meaning group of Indian government types who sit around a table and discuss the intervention of the country into the Sri Lankan situation, but apparently do not recognise the key figures in the war? All the way up to the gormless but well meaning ex-prime minister who seems to be useless at regarding warnings.
  • In the context of India’s 2014 elections I do wonder how this works. Well-meaning incompetence is pretty much the UPA’s electoral platform.
  • As a result of all this, Nargis Fakhri’s British-journalist-with-American-accent comes across as the most competent and well-informed person present. This isn’t saying much.
  • All of Fakhri and Abraham’s interactions go as follows. Abraham: please share your sources. Fakhri: I’m not sharing my sources, that would be bad journalism. Okay, here are my sources.
  • I’m also fascinated by the characters in the film and their apparent deification of not!Rajiv Gandhi. Gandhi was assassinated in 1991–at the time I was very young and in another country. So I don’t remember mass mourning, and I don’t remember my parents being hugely affected by it (perhaps they were and I was too young to understand, but I remember what they were like when the Berlin wall came down).
  • Madras Cafe has its characters genuinely adore not!Gandhi. When his wife dies, Vikram Singh mourns appropriately and goes back to work. When his ex-PM dies, Vikram Singh quits his job, stops shaving, and begins to haunt a church in Kasauli. Siddharth Basu’s character’s wife is brought into the film for about a minute only to express shock at not!Gandhi’s death and ask what wrong poor, innocent not!Gandhi did that he deserved to die? It’s the same question that Vikram Singh asks upon the death of his wife.
  • Which makes me wonder if we’re supposed to see all of these characters, and by implication the nation itself, as widowed by not!Gandhi’s death.
  • What’s more embarrassing, Judi Dench reciting Tennyson in Skyfall, or John Abraham reciting Tagore’s “Where the mind is without fear” in Madras Cafe? Ans: Do not put people reciting poetry in movies. Especially do not do this if the only relevant poetry you know is something you were forced to recite in school. I was cringing.
  • Sinister white people are behind everything.
  • It is very prettily shot.
September 14, 2013

William Shakespeare and *Unknown Artist/s*, Titus Andronicus

There is no column this weekend–here is last weekend’s anyway.




Kate Bush’s song “The Sensual World” draws inspiration from the character Molly Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses. For years, Bush wanted to use the words from Molly’s famous soliloquy in the song, but the Joyce estate refused to grant her permission. Until 2011, the year before the copyright was due to expire, when the estate finally decided to “allow” the musician do something she would soon be able to do without their permission anyway.

Bush’s excellent song is just one example among many of classic works, particularly those out of copyright, being used to create more art. It’s how Alan Moore can create a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, for example, or (this may not be a strong argument in favour of transformative works) we can read about Jane Austen characters battling the undead. It’s also how the famous science fiction author and bigot Orson Scott Card could rewrite Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a tract against homosexuality, but that is the cost of freedom, and it has certainly made me appreciate the original more.

The change can be as slight as adding new artwork to an edition of the book (since now any publisher is free to print it)—one of the most celebrated books of the last couple of years was a new edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland illustrated by the amazing Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. A recent series titled Pulp!: The Classics has chosen to reissue Pride and Prejudice, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and other “classic” works with wonderful pulp covers.

But sometimes the new contexts provided, the art or the cover design, seem completely inexplicable. Perhaps the publishers cannot afford to, or can’t be bothered to, come up with attractive and appropriate packaging for a book that, being a classic, will probably be bought by people for its title.  A favourite sport on the internet is the mockery of covers that, considering the well-known content of the books they enclose, make no sense. Last year readers expressed horror at a reissue of Anne of Green Gables that had chosen to depict Anne as an attractive blonde posed sexily against a hayrick. In a bookshop recently I came across a copy of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina whose cover showed two people silhouetted against a vast (and lurid) sky filled with stars. Tolstoy may have appreciated this- the effect was vaguely science fictional, so that the plot seemed to take on almost a cosmic significance.

Sometimes the inappropriate cover, or terrible art, turns out to be just what the book requires. Such as my copy of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.

At his best, Shakespeare’s a genius poet, at his worst he’s a talented hack with a great sense of humour. Titus Andronicus is a rather … divisive play. There’s mutilation and dismemberment, involuntary cannibalism, rape, murder, inappropriately flowery speeches, and occasional classical allusions, before everyone dies. It makes the ending of Hamlet look not only toned down and subtle, but quite cheerful as well.  I love the play, but then I’ve always been convinced that the whole thing’s a parody.

My first copy of the play was the creation of something called Rohan Book Company. We’re not told who the illustrators were, but they appear to have made an admirable commitment to giving the book popular appeal; they’ve chosen to dress Tamora, Queen of the Goths, in some hybrid of a fur bikini and a Wonder Woman costume. Restricted to black and white for their palette they can’t show us much blood, but there are enthusiastic depictions of swords being thrust through torsos and dismembered body parts being held up dramatically. There’s less of a commitment to basic human anatomy, but perhaps that only adds to its charm.

I’ve often wondered in the years since I read Titus Andronicus whether this edition has coloured my understanding of the play forever. Would I have thought it a terrible melodrama (or even a surprisingly meaningful one) had it come with better (or no) illustrations and an intelligent introduction? I’m not sure, but this is how it exists in my head now and I can’t regret it.


September 12, 2013

“The Indian” reads Rumer Godden

I’ve been reading Rumer Godden’s India novels recently, and have found myself both impressed and annoyed by them. More impressed an annoyed, though, and I do wish I’d read them as a teenager.

This was published in the Sunday Guardian this past weekend.

To read Rumer Godden only as an adult feels like missing out on some vital part of the experience. Often featuring thoughtful, intense, young women, they are exactly the sort of thing my teenage self craved.

A selection of Godden’s early works, set in India, were recently reissued by Virago Modern Classics. India played a major role in the author’s life. She spent much of her childhood first in Assam, then in Narayanganj in what is now Bangladesh, after the outbreak of the First World War put an end to her time at school in England. As a young woman she opened a dancing school in Calcutta, and, years later as her marriage was failing, lived for a time with her children in Kashmir.

Much of what occurs in these books is, if not directly autobiographical, at least strongly drawn from personal experience. In The River the large family in a house on the river bank in Narayanganj bears a  close resemblance to the author’s own (Godden was one of four sisters). Breakfast With the Nikolides has two sisters coming to join their father in India when the Second World War breaks out in Europe, just as Godden herself did during World War One. Kingfishers Catch Fire is loosely based on an incident that took place while Godden and her children were in Kashmir. Godden was close to her older sister (the author Jon Godden, with whom she collaborated on a number of non-fictional works) and pairs of sisters appear again and again in these books: Binnie and Emily in Breakfast With the Nikolides, Harriet and Bea in The River, Halcyon and Una in The Peacock Spring. Sometimes less attractive or outwardly interesting than their siblings, these characters are observers first of all. In her introduction to the books Rosie Thomas describes Breakfast With the Nikolides’s Emily and Kingfishers Catch Fire’s Teresa as “vulnerable, observant individuals […] deficient in charm but gifted with perception beyond their years”. This is true also of The River’s Harriet, stumbling over her first attempts to be a writer, and trying to work out what it means to be a person, and learning that “the world goes on turning, and it has all these troubles in it”. Observers themselves, these characters are partly detached from the events of the story, even as they affect events deeply. To anyone who has been a child, has watched adults, and the world, failing and showing their imperfections, there’s something deeply moving about all of this.

But even more than the rich inner lives of her characters, I’m fascinated by the attitude that Godden’s books have towards India.

Black Narcissus was Godden’s first commercially successful book. In it, a house in the Himalayas, facing Kanchenjunga, is given over to a group of nuns to establish The Convent of St. Faith. At first the sisters are enchanted by their beautiful surroundings; the clarity of the light, the imposing mountain, all add an intensity that at first they welcome. “they were filled with a kind of ecstasy. They woke in the late October mornings before the sun had reached the hills, and saw its light travel down from snow and cloud over the hills, until it reached the other clouds that lay like curds in the bottom of the valley”.

But all too soon, this first rush of ecstasy fades. “They were so tired. The light at Mopu seemed to make the yellowness of their faces more yellow against their wimples; their steps sounded heavy in the clear air. They were not strong enough for the wind”.

As the novel progresses it becomes clear that something about the spot makes it impossible for the convent to continue here. It’s nothing so mundane as a haunting, though it’s tempting to read Black Narcissus as a horror novel; but the oppressive grandeur of the mountain, the feeling that they are not completely safe among the local Indians, perhaps even the clarity of the air exacerbate the small problems and flaws among the nuns. Somehow, it’s all too much. The whole thing ends in tragedy, and the sisters return to England.

I snickered a little during the introduction, where Rosie Thomas claims that Black Narcissus “thrums with sex”, but it is certainly thrumming with something. Godden’s writing is often so descriptive as to verge on the purple were it not so sharply observed. If there’s certainly an element of orientalising India as she writes about it, the sights, textures and sounds she invokes all feel familiar, the result of lived experience. But if these are the words of an author who knows the country, at times the books evoke another India; one that is unknowable and inaccessible.

Good Europeans want to embrace India in Godden’s books. There’s a clear moral line being drawn through most of Breakfast With the Nikolides between Louise Poole who loathes India and her husband and daughter who both love it. Charles Poole has settled in the country and made it his own; Emily Poole seems willing to do the same. So strongly are our sympathies solicited for one side and not the other that the book almost glosses over the reasons for Charles and Louise’s estrangement—his sexual assault of his wife is reduced to a minor detail. Like Louise, Sophie Barrington-Ward in Kingfishers Catch Fire is a far from ideal parent. Yet in the matter of India she is set up by the book as clearly superior to her compatriots in the country who choose to try and replicate their English lifestyles as far as possible. And if Black Narcissus’s Mr Dean isn’t necessarily more virtuous than the nuns, he’s certainly better equipped to live in Mopu than most of the other Europeans.

There’s a tradition in some sorts of literature in which the “good” European is the one who treats the non-white natives (or the servants, if no natives happen to be about) better than some of his ruder countrymen. Think of Victorian adventure books (or Enid Blyton, or even the Tintin stories) in which a minor act of kindness may earn the noble English character a faithful native servant for life. In setting up these oppositions between the English people who feel kindly towards India and those who don’t, Godden often seems about to fall into this tradition. It is one of her strengths that she does not. Where a massive difference in power or status exists, friendship is hard to come by. Sophie may think she is living frugally among the Kashmiris; to the inhabitants of the village she is extravagant with her money and easily cheated—and though she may mean well they will always, and with good reason, be suspicious. Harriet in The River withholds the information that leads to the death of her brother, and so the family servant is sacked. A completely innocent interlude between Emily Poole and a young Indian student causes a violent, destructive riot. English people, even the nice, well-meaning ones, don’t get the luxury of somehow rising above their material contexts, and are often shown to be foolish or naïve for thinking that they can.

So if there’s something about India that compels Godden’s favoured characters to draw closer, it’s also something that ultimately eludes them, and something with which their fascination can be dangerous. India is turned into something like the cobra that fascinates Harriet’s brother in The River—too interested in it to let his parents know that it is in the garden, he watches it for days before it kills him. Breakfast With the Nikolides and Black Narcissus both end in tragic deaths, and Sophie of Kingfishers Catch Fire is in danger of it when she is poisoned.

And what of Indians themselves? It’s hard to tell. Godden does have the occasional Indian who appears as a fully realised character. Breakfast With the Nikolides introduces us to Narayan and Shila, a young couple trying to navigate the marital relationship in a rapidly changing culture. Narayan also has an intense friendship with a young man named Anil, and some of their exchanges are about as interior, and as erotically charged, as anything I’ve read. The Peacock Spring has a young Bengali poet as a major character. These are exceptions. While Godden often speaks of “the Indian”— “the Indian cultivator is rooted in deep, slow prejudice”, “the Indian[‘s ] sense of social service and citizenship is small”— she rarely speaks of Indians. The vast majority of the Indians in these books exist as background figures, part of larger populations (the farmers, the villagers, the crowd in the bazaar), undifferentiated, and by virtue of their sheer difference from the English protagonists, vaguely menacing. Deeply intertwined with the intense, sensual undercurrent of the writing is a sense of unease at this unpredictable, unknowable mass of people.

I can easily imagine the child reader I was devouring Godden’s work, thrilling with the sheer unfairness of the adult world, the sensory overload of the prose, the writing that, yes, thrums with sex. And I imagine that reader identifying deeply with the white-skinned teenaged protagonists, and finding it (because they are such good teenaged protagonists!) deeply satisfying. As an adult, I’m torn between these finely-drawn, brilliant characters and my real place, somewhere in that brown mass.


September 9, 2013

Were-lizard? (There lizard!)

Occasionally, non-Indian SFF fans ask me if India has an equivalent tradition to the werewolf– stories of humans turning into animals (or animals into humans). I’m no expert, and traditions of the supernatural differ wildly across the country, so I usually say something vague about human-snake transformations and leave it at that. But now there’s this.

This was the front page of this Sunday’s HT City, and was brought to my attention by Aadisht.

It appears to be advertising a show called Shapath: Super Cops vs Super Villains (Monday to Friday, 9pm). The caption, in case it’s not clear enough, reads: “Kya zeheriley chipkali-manav ke atank ko rok payenge supercops?”*

I’m assuming the answer is yes, but I really, really want to find out.

*(“Can the terror of the lizard-man be stopped by the supercops?” Or, why I am not a translator.)

September 7, 2013

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland

I was recently doing some reading around Rokeya Sakhawat Hossein’s Sultana’s Dream and thought I’d revisit Herland as another example of a women-ruled society in fiction.

From last week’s column:


A number of the adventure novels of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have their protagonists stumbling upon parts of the world that had been cut off from the rest of it for centuries. Sometimes these lost worlds contain prehistoric animals (as with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ The Land That Time Forgot, Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth or Conan Doyle’s The Lost World); the late nineteenth century saw a number of geological discoveries that fuelled a fascination with the prehistoric. But as empires expanded the Victorians also discovered the ruins of lost empires, and many of these books have their explorers encountering completely new civilisations. This is what happens to the protagonist of Bulwer-Lytton’s The Coming Race, as well asto Rider Haggard’s Allan Quatermain (and, indeed, to a number of other Haggard protagonists).

It’s this tradition that makes the beginning of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland feel very familiar. Three young American men of varying temperaments (the Southern gentleman, the rakish chauvinist, and our narrator, a levelheaded sociologist) are travelling in some undisclosed continent when they hear from the natives rumours of a land populated only by women hidden in the mountains. Refusing to believe this is true –how, for example, would such a population reproduce?—they nonetheless investigate, and find themselves among the women of the country they call Herland. They discover that the country has been cut off from the world for thousands of years, since a volcanic eruption cut off the one route leading into their valley. By some miracle the women have developed the power of parthogenic births, and their whole society revolves around the protecting and educating of their children.

Two of the men settle into this new society comparatively well but Terry,  who appears to see all women as prey, finds it hard to adjust. Terry’s complaint, constantly reiterated, is that the women here are not “womanly”; even though they are beautiful, nurturing, and devote their lives to their children. Much of this has to do with Terry’s own inability to see women as real people, but with this Gilman also suggests the difficulty of conceiving of a definition of woman that does not stand in opposition to man, when man is the cultural default.

The three men provide three different models for interaction between the sexes; Jeff’s idealization of women, Terry’s insistence on seeing them as only the inferior partners in male-female relationships, and Vandyk’sinteraction with them as equals. This creates an interesting tension within the book itself. While Vandyk’s narration suggests that the women find his own conversation preferable to Jeff’s adoration, Jeff is the one who seems best fitted to this world, and the only one of them men not to leave it. Perhaps this is because the book itself idealises the women. Much of the story takes place as what would have been a sort of Socratic dialogue, had the three men been able to think of any attractive points about their own civilisation. Gilman gives them none—though they might have noted, for example, that their people did not practice eugenics (as the women of Herland do, with the text’s seeming approval).

The three men fall in love with, and marry citizens of the country, but sex is another fraught area, as the women of Herland seem to see it only as a means of procreation. In the book’s climax Terry attempts to rape his wife, and is banished from the country as a consequence. In 1915, when the book was published, marital rape was still legal in Gilman’s native USA (as it still is in India).  Here, it is not only depicted as unthinkable and despicable to the women of Herland, but the American men (even, one gets the impression, Terry himself) are able to instinctively see its wrongness. I don’t know how radical an argument for women’s right to bodily autonomy and against marital rape would have been in 1915—in 2014 some of us still haven’t figured it out.


(Sultana’s Dream is way better, not that that’s the point.)


September 5, 2013

Pradeep Sebastian and Chandra Siddan, 50 Writers, 50 Books

My review of 50 Writers, 50 Books: The Best Of Indian Fiction is in the most recent Time Out Delhi, and can be read here. I really enjoyed this collection; some essays more than others. And I’ll admit to a certain amount of warm-and-fuzzy that Mervyn Peake (NOT a writer of Indian fiction) shows up in there twice.

September 3, 2013

August Reading

Great changes in my personal life are afoot, time is shorter than it has any right to be, and so this month I will not be talking about books I have read. Here’s a simple list instead, for my records.


Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Busman’s Honeymoon

Samantha Shannon, The Bone Season

Rumer Godden, The River

Patrice Kindl, Keeping the Castle

Loretta Chase, Viscount Vagabond and The Devil’s Delilah

Various, Baker’s Dozen: The Elle Tranquebar Book of Short Stories

George Saunders, Fox 8

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland

Rokeya Shekawat Hossein, Sultana’s Dream and Padmarag

Herge, Tintin in America, The Blue LotusTintin in Tibet

Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being


I will be writing about some of these in the future, I hope. The Ozeki in particular deserves more space, it’s wonderful.