Pamela Dean has a Patreon to enable her to edit and release the book she's been working on for years, Going North, and also to write new books. If you're a fan of her work, here's your chance to see more of it.

She and Patricia Wrede also released a collected edition of their Liavek stories, including two new stories. Points of Departure. Pamela Dean's Liavek stories are some of my favorites of her work. They're set in a shared world, but I think this edition makes sense on its own. Some stories are co-written with Patricia Wrede, but the majority were written separately.

The Wrede stories mostly concern a sharp-tongued old woman magician, and her travails trying to save her city from incursions by ill-intentioned Gods and magicians while (equally annoying to her) get her incredibly dysfunctional family to shape up. Dean's stories are about the dysfunctional family, some following the most resilient member, some backstage comedy-dramas about the brother who ran away to become an actor and playwright, and some (this is the main storyline) about the depressed daughter who is only living because she has a responsibility to her cat and is drawn into an odd religion, the Way of Responsible Life, which on the surface is an order of suicides but is actually much more than that (though it is also that.) I won't spoil it but I will say that despite the content, it is not depressing (though sometimes sad) but is also uplifting and often quite funny.

She also started up a press which has released two of her hard-to-find books in e-editions, The Dubious Hills and Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary, at Blaisdell Press. If you have not read either of those books before, The Dubious Hills is where I'd start. It's a small-scale fantasy set in a very strange village in which all knowledge and understanding is magically parceled out to individual citizens, so they have to, say, go to the person in charge of feeling pain to know if they're hurt. The premise sounds like a thought experiment but it reads more like lyric fantasy a la Patricia McKillip, beautifully written and with a cozy atmosphere; I've never read anything quite like it. I would especially recommend it to Asakiyume, if you haven't read it yet.

ETA: Click on the author's name tag to read my previous review of the stories collected in Points of Departure and a novella, "Owlswater," which is upcoming if the Patreon works out.

From: [identity profile]

I have read it and adored it--review here. It really knocked my socks off. I've never read anything else like it.

I'm glad this Patreon is getting some supporters. The more the better!

From: [identity profile]

Oh, that's a great review, and I totally missed it. Thanks for linking.

I like the point you make about how rare it is to show that type of conflict (learn new things vs. stay as you are) to make a convincing case for "stay as you are." The Dubious Hills easily could have been portrayed as a dystopia, but it's neither that nor a utopia. It's just different.

In fact, I have read multiple bad YA dystopias with vaguely similar though not remotely as thought-through premises - that is, on the idea of "society is divided by some set of abstract qualities and no one is allowed to cross over" and they come across as so universally stupid that it's only this moment that I realized that the premise of The Dubious Hills is not that far off from that of Divergent..

In fact that might be my new favorite example of why writers shouldn't get too hung up on being original, because two writers can take the same idea and produce completely different things with it. This is also why I love it when more than one Yuletide writer picks up on the same and somewhat specific prompt. It's so fun seeing what different people come up with when given the same concept.

From: [identity profile]

And I wonder if Yuletide doesn't permit people to be more free and more creative because there's less burden on them of this as An Important Endeavor--it's purely the imagination at play.

From: [identity profile]

Well, hopefully it is. Its fun level does seem to be inversely proportional to the extent to which it's considered an Important Endeavor. Probably this is true of lots of things.
Edited Date: 2016-08-17 01:47 am (UTC)
melebeth: (Default)

From: [personal profile] melebeth

EEE! I love Pamela Dean, so more is always exciting.

From: [identity profile]

Excellent! Had you already discovered Points of Departure, or do you mean Going North?
melebeth: (Default)

From: [personal profile] melebeth

I meant both! Now I just need to stay awake long enough to read.

From: [identity profile]

Oh, I love Pamela Dean's work! Must go throw some money in the pot.

From: [identity profile]

Nice! I have wanted to read "Owlswater" for a while and am looking forward to Going North

Nitpick: it's Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary.

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