Ables by Jeremy scott

Ables by Jeremy Scott

I received this work from the author, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Recently, diversity has become a key word, and concept, within any discussion of; writing, publishing, reviewing or reading. Concerned individuals have lamented the absence of; women, members of other cultures/countries, and members of the quiltbag communities, from our books and stories. There have been calls, and active moves, for these groups to get more attention from; publishers, editors, reviewers, and readers. But, one group remains in the shadows of these debates, continually delegated to the end of that list of oppressions/inequalities. Disabled people, people with disabilities, have been underrepresented within discussions of underrepresentation. However, this situation is gradually changing. Publishers, such as Twelfth Planet Press are beginning to produce works that incorporate disabled characters. Ables is another of those works that have actively brought disabled characters to the forefront of the story.

Like most superheroes, the protagonist of this story has super powers. But, unlike most of those heroes he also has a disability/impairment. He is blind. One of the main storylines of this work concerns his attempts to prove himself, and his friends, worthy to be included within his new school. We see him on his first day at his new school. We see his excitement at being at a school especially designed for kids with superpowers. We share his confusion at trying to navigate a new world that he cannot see. We see his disappointment when he finds out that he has been placed within a segregated unit for people with disabilities. We see his trepidation about being with other disabled individuals. But, we, also, see him forming friendships with his class. Then we follow their united struggle to justify their place within this unique environment. This ultimately leads them to fight the school authorities for the right to compete in a school contest, from which they have been excluded. They win and they begin to learn how to combine their special skills to beat, both; their disabilities, and the tasks set for them as part of the competition.

If that had been the entire story, and if the author had let the characters focus on the competition and continue growing into their special powers, then this book would have been almost perfect. However, the author diverts the characters, as well as the readers, attention into a rather over dramatic fight against a cartoon villain for the Future of the world. This turned what could have been a new take on the superhero story into; a well written, but overly busy, and somewhat clichéd tale of the chosen one. This, and the lack of really strong female characters, limits the work.

But, having said that, this, with its band of disabled characters, is still an interesting, exciting, and important work. It is an exciting adventure story that would be a very pleasant summer read. Check out the publisher’s website

Fable Review

Please note that the publisher sent me this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book is slightly different to those that I usually review on this site. In that, the publishers are releasing it to their subscribers in a serialised format. I think that this is an interesting idea. Since, it mirrors the way that authors like Dickens brought out their manuscripts. The publisher describe their method in the following manner;

“We publish books serially to give you space to absorb and discuss the books with The Pigeonhole community. Our belief is that reading should be thrilling, communal and an event not to be missed.

Why the word stave?

When Charles Dickens published his beloved classic A Christmas Carol, he called the individual instalments ‘staves’ – a musical term which encapsulated the idea that the whole novel was more than the sum of its parts. We are bringing back this great word as a tribute to the father of serial publishing.” https://thepigeonhole.com/about

As I said earlier, the publishers were kind enough to send me the complete work in exchange for an honest review. Therefore, I was able to see the way that these chunks (or staves) worked as a whole. This was quite interesting.
As the title suggests the stories in this work are either; fables, works based on these stories, or works influenced by their tropes. The work includes a variety of takes on the fable. There are stories that are in the form of traditional fairy tales. There are tales that, while still inspired by Fable, subvert the; structure, setting and era of the form. These stories; urbanise and modernise the world of the fable. The publisher tells us that ;

“Talking badgers and salacious pixies. Impossible promises and broken hope. Exploring the fairy-tale evolution, Fable brings new tales formed from old skin with original inventions to boot. Spanning across three continents, Fable draws together some of the most beloved, or even feared, fairy tales while bringing to light those lesser known.” https://thepigeonhole.com/books/fable”

It begins with two original fairy tales by the Brothers Grim and Hans Christian Anderson, The Little Mermaid and Ashenputtel. The two stories, which follow on from the two originals, penned by Kate Forsythe, are traditional fables. They follow closely to the original form, and worlds, of the fairy tale, while playing with some of the tropes.

The next story written by Lucy Balmer Hooft, probably one of my favourites, takes us to, what seems like, an African tribe and focuses on a pregnant woman. The story is a very poignant tale of motherhood and a mother’s sadness/joy as their children grow into men.

The following stories take us further and further into the modern era. These tales look at; the modern family, childhood, adolescence capitalism, exploitation, and redemption. One story The Farmer and the Badger by J.L. Baldock, , a good example of how these works seek to modernise the fable, is from the point of view of a child who opposes the way that her father, who is actively involved in the badger culls that are taking place within her community, earns his living. The story explores the rights and wrongs of the practice, and other solutions, but, also, explores; love and loyalty, revolution and rebellion, experience and inexperience, and family love and obligation.
Another story, The Organiser by Gareth Brierley, is set in a small town quite literally ruled by their local business owners. This couple shape; the inhabitant’s lives and deaths, where they work, the colour of their house, who can speak and what they can say;

“They could decide what school you would go to, what job you could have and even what colour your house would be.” P.125

The couple take on an almost godlike significance in the community and they demand that their child receive the same godlike devotion from the town’s inhabitants. The story follows their much loved, and much despised child, and her attempts to atone for the cruelty of her parents. This story movingly, and funnily, explores the issues of; power, corruption, love and redemption.

Many people, including this writer, are calling for the diversification of the story. We call for stories; that are by and about women (and other underrepresented groups), and for stories set in a plurality of settings. This book meets that call with stories that are written by women and that represent young women who have agency. In addition, there are stories set in a variety of cultures. Although, it might have been nice to see a few more stories that show non-heterosexual relationships.
These stories call themselves fables but they are more than that. They use the familiar form of the fable to explore the issues that face us today, whether those issues be; capitalism, exploitation, family or children fighting to understand and improve their world. I really liked this book. I highly recommend that you look at the publisher’s website’ (https://thepigeonhole.com/books/fable)

Japaneses June/july and other plans

Little ghost Creations, over at YouTube (BookTube) has laid down a challenge to her viewers and other BookTubers. She has challenged us to read Japanese literature in June.  Since,  I have a lot of work, fitting that description, on my TBR, I will be joining the challenge.  However,   given the number of works and their length,  this project will spill into July.  Here is my reading list.

Wind-up bird Chronicles Haruki Murakami

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage Haruki Murakami

Out by Natsuo Kirino

Piercing Ryu Murakami

Popular Hits of the Showa Era  Ryu Murakami

Coin Locker Babies  Ryu Murakami

The Makioka Sisters by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki,

Strangers by Taichi Yamada

The Box Man Kobo

Abe

Forbidden Colours Yukio Mishima

Strange Weather in Tokyo Hiromi Kawakami

I will review each of these at my Blog (here and you can follow my progress at @vikzwrites on twitter. In addition, I have  two books that I have received from publishers for review.  Fable From PigeonHole and Jeremy Scot’s Ables.  So, a review of those two works will go up here some time in June

ReviewThe Fangirls Guide to the Galaxy

The Fangirls Guide to the Galaxy
Sam Moggs
Quirk Books
UK Publication Date 12 May (E-book and Hard back)
This is an e-arc kindly given to me by the publisher, Via Netgalley, for an honest review

What’s this book about?

The title says it all. It is a Fangirls Guide to the Galaxy of Fandom. It takes the reader on a journey through the various locations of Fandom, exploring media franchises that include; Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Twilight. The book examines the fandom that surrounds these media franchises; the language they use to express their fanship and the activities that arise from their fandom. It shows the various ways in which the Fan girl may engage and connect with the various fandoms. Sam Moggs gives a detailed exploration of physical sites of community such as; Comic shops, game shops, reading groups, courses and conventions. She explores; what happens in these arenas, what they offer, and how to find them. She then explores the virtual worlds of fandom. Moggs explores the variety of ways that fans connect online, including, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and other Fan forums. She explores what these various platforms offer and the etiquette involved when using these sites. Moggs then looks at the ways that fans creatively engage with the things they love, exploring cos play and fanfic. It, also, includes interviews with Famous fan girls, such as Erin Morgenstern

What’s so good/bad about this book?

This work acknowledges and celebrates the existence of Fangirls. It offers new Fangirls a guide to these wonderful fan communities. The section on fanfic is interesting and would offer great advice for any new writer, fanfic writer or otherwise. If I have a criticism, it concerns the works limited scope. It mainly focuses on mainstream media. It ignores the small media outlets and publishers. In addition, books don’t seem to get much of a look in. Even when looking at fandoms surrounding books, like Harry Potter, I feel that she gives greater attention to the films that they spawned than the books themselves.

Should I read these works?

If you’re a new fan this would be a great introduction to the world of fandom. If you know a young new Fangirl, then this would make a great gift. If you’re an older, more established Fangirl, then this could act as a refresher course on the new developments in our community. But, it is only an introduction and offers no in depth analysis. If you want to go further into an exploration of fandom, then check out the offerings of Mad Norwegian Frog media group, or podcasts such as; Doctor who, Verity or Galactic suburbia podcast. But, on the whole, this was a useful read,

The Fangirls Guide to the Galaxy Sam Moggs Quirk Books UK Publication Date 12 May (E-book and Hard back)

My belated Janus post

My Janus Post

 

I know that this post is late and that I have been silent;   no apologises, no promises, just more posts. Therefore, here is my 2014 in books.  My top book of this year were;-

  1. BItterwood Bible Angela Slatter

  2.  Elysium Jennifer Marie Brissett

  1. Stone Boatman Sarah Tolmie
  2. Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel
  3. Dust devils on a quiet street Richards Bowes
  4. The Race Nina Allan
  5. Earth Flight Janet Edwards
  6. Trucksong Andrew Macrae
  7. We are all completely beside ourselves Karen Joy Fowler
  8. Larissa Teresa Milbrodt

My top Podcasts were;

  1. The writer and the Critic
  2. Galactic Suburbia
  3. Coodestreet
  4. Outer alliance
  5. Rachel and Miles explain the X-Men
  6. Verity

My Fave Vlogs were;

  1. Amy Dallen (Comics)
  2. Becca Conote (LGBT geekdom)
  3. Books and Pieces (Books)
  4. Frenchiedee (Books
  5. We Live for books

Top January Reading

  1. Ali smith How to be both
  2. Murakani’s After the quake and Sputnik Swethear
  3. Ben Okri Starbook

Challenges

#yearofmurakani  http://youtu.be/HRqVz2omsEQu

Australian women’s writers challenge 2015 http://australianwomenwriters.com/

Here’s to some great reading, listening and Blogging in 2015

Votes for All: Ensuring the ‘right to vote’ for disabled citizens

vikzwrites:

Thought you’d like to see something I’ve done at another site.

Originally posted on WebRoots Democracy:

By Victoria Richards.

A polling station for the police and crime commissioner election in Bethersden, KentThere is a belief, at least in democratic societies, that every individual has a right, and the responsibility, to vote and participate within the civic/political arena.  We base our political assumption on the idea that everyone has the right to have their voice heard and that everybody has something to contribute to society.  Implicit within this is the assumption that everyone has a unique perspective to offer.

Many generations of Brits have fought to open up the political arena to an ever growing group of individuals. From the Chartists to the Suffragists, many groups have fought for the right to vote and have their voices heard. But, does everyone have equal access to the voting process?  I am going to argue that the voting process is inaccessible to many individuals with disabilities. I am then going to argue that web voting could be one of the tools…

View original 698 more words

Sourdough By Angela Slatter (spoilers)

Tartarus Press

Sourdough By Angela Slatter,

 

The stories of Sourdough are set against a rural setting that will be familiar to readers of the Classics.  There is: the town square with a cathedral; a market place, with all the usual shops; taverns and inns. It is inhabited by;  butchers, bakers, seamstresses, prostitutes, bishops,  doll makers, and  a local witch.  This town is surrounded by poor suburbs.  Which, are in turn , surrounded by deep forest, inhabited by; isolated settlements,  excitement and deep rooted fears.  And, beneath the sheen of normality of these human sized dwellings, there is a current of the weird.  Like the fairy tales which are a clear influence to these stories, these mundane situations are subverted by fantastical elements;  Maps that enable you to reach the world of the dead, dolls which have human souls embedded with them., children who return from the dead, fairies who impersonate human children, towers and castles that disappear and reappear at will. This short story/ mosaic novel is a story of a mundane place that treats fantastic events as mundane everyday occurrences.  It plays with form and ideas.   It is another exciting work from pen of Dr.  Angela Slatter.

 

 

oulipost 8

I know I’ve missed a few days, but my internet server has been down.  So, here we are on day eight with the following assignment

 

TUESDAY, APRIL 8: BEAUTIFUL INLAW
(BEAU PRESENT)

Select a name from one of your newspaper articles, famous or
not. Compose a poem using only words that can be made from
the letters in that person’s name. For example, if you selected
“John Travolta,” you may only use words that can be made from
the letters A, J, H, L, N, O, R, T and V.

The use of web-based tools is highly encouraged to help uncover
different words that can be made from your letters of choice.
One tool you might consider is the Scrabble Word Finder
(http://www.scrabblefinder.com/

 

My word Was Jon Griffin

 

And this is what I came up with;

 

The tested Day taken

The sad week

The Dusty decade

Sources

Jon griffin April 3rd Absurd decision is just not cricket for Saturday fans http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/news-opinion/jon-griffin-absurd-decision-just-6914269

Birmingham post 8 April New picture: £600 million New Street Station as seen from top of the Rotunda