Karen Memery is a seamstress – which is to say, salon girl – at the Hotel Mon Cherie in Rapid City. Though romantically inclined towards womenfolk, Karen is a practical soul in a comfortable, well-paying position that lets her save for the future, and her employer, the formidable and aptly-named Madame Damnable, makes sure her girls are protected. But not all who share their profession are so lucky: Chinese and Indian girls in particular are vulnerable to slavery and exploitation, as are those who work the streets. So when Merry Lee, the famous saviour of trafficked girls, shows up badly injured with Priya, her latest rescue, Karen and her sisters are quick to defend them against their pursuers – a man named Peter Bantle and his toughs. But Bantle won’t give Priya up so easily, and soon, his escalating retaliations against Karen, Madame Damnable and the other girls land them with much bigger problems. Who is killing Rapid City’s streetwalkers? How is Bantle running for mayor? And what can Karen do to stop it? Read More »
Posts Tagged: Elizabeth Bear
As the Hugo nomination period draws to a close, here are the items that will appear on my final ballot. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the items, I highly encourage you to check them out. 2014 was a wonderful year for genre fiction and art.
Note: If a category doesn’t appear or is incomplete, it’s because I either a) did not make any nominations, or b) will be undecided on some of the final inclusions until the final hour.
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“Gosh, Bear,” you might think, “at least she’s a good person, in spite of being a prostitute!”
Hi! I’m Elizabeth Bear, the author of Karen Memory, and I’m here to talk about the fine art of avoiding some of Western literature’s most tired sex-worker tropes, such as The Disposable Prostitute and The Hooker with a Heart Of Gold.
On The Hooker with a Heart of Gold… words to strike dread into the hearts of… well, everybody who ever consciously tried, in their work, to avoid a stereotype. Any stereotype. And it’s not the only—or worst—stereotype—of sex workers around!
“Gosh, Bear,” you might think, “at least she’s a good person, in spite of being a prostitute!” Read More »
How is Elizabeth Bear following up the best epic fantasy trilogy of the past decade? With a rip-roarin’ standalone Steampunk novel with an ass kicking heroine, of course. Not what you were expecting? Me neither, but Bear is full of surprises and one of the most versatile writers in SFF.
The flush of the 2014 Hugo Awards is fading, and, with the holidays just peeking around the corner, I wanted to take the time to discuss some of my favourite novels from 2014, the ones that, at this very moment, would comprise my nomination slate for the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel. Will it change by next spring when nominations are due? Undoubtedly.
These are all terrific novels, and, if you haven’t read them already, well, I envy you.
City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
Say hello to the best fantasy novel of 2014.
Even as I was startled by its twisted depth, I adored every moment I spent with City of Stairs. Colonialism lies at City of Stairs‘ centre, and RJB handles it with equal parts boldness and delicacy. The ruined beauty of Bulikov and its fallen gods haunted me long after I turned the final page.
Robert Jackson Bennett is best known for his contemporary fantasy and horror crossovers, such as American Elsewhere and The Troupe, so his move into more traditional epic fantasy put him on the radar of a lot of new readers, and the result is something special. On first reading City of Stairs, I described it to a friend as “China Mieville without the ego.” I’m not sure I still agree with that statement, because it’s unfair to saddle one writer with another’s baggage, but while reading City of Stairs I couldn’t fight the feeling that RJB was mixing and refining elements from some of my recent favourite fantasies. Other touchstones exists, such as Kameron Hurley’s The Mirror Empire and Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence, that place RJB among the most exciting and vibrant young fantasy writers working today.