The original meme is a basic list, available here, which simply shows which writers you're familiar with.

My version: Drop the authors you’ve never read to the bottom. For the remainder, discuss or rec at least one of their books with at least one sentence of explanation about why you do or don’t like it. Ask your readers to tell you about the authors you’ve never read.

Cynthia Felice. I only read the book she co-authored with Connie Willis, Water Witch, which was enjoyable but not memorable.

Diana Wynne Jones. One of my favorite writers of all time. Click her tag for more reviews and discussion. My favorites of hers are The Homeward Bounders, Fire and Hemlock, Witch Week, and Charmed Life. The last two are in print in the USA in omnibuses, as The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 2: The Magicians of Caprona / Witch Week and The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 1: Charmed Life / The Lives of Christopher Chant.

Gwyneth Jones. I’ve read some of her YA written as “Ann Halam.” It tends toward the awesomely depressing. (Dr. Franklin's Island (Readers Circle): Kids are utterly helpless prisoners as they are slowly mutated against their will; Taylor Five Everyone the teenage heroine loves dies horribly, and the orangutans whose survival they all died for go extinct anyway.) The only one I’d rec is her least depressing book, Siberia: A Novel, which has the wonderful idea of growing animals out of high-tech kits.

Leigh Kennedy. I only read her infamous short story, “Her Furry Face,” about chimpanzee bestiality. Okay, it’s really about how the main character is such a sexist pig that he’d rather have sex with a chimpanzee than a woman, because the former will look up to him adoringly and make no demands. But still. Kids! Grow animals from high-tech kits! Then have sex with them! No, I am not going to add a “chimpanzee cunnilingus” tag.

ETA: My bad. It was actually an orangutan. (No wonder they're in such desperate straits in Taylor Five.) I'm not making an "orangutan onanism" tag either.

Lee Killough. I only read her collection of linked short stories, Aventine, which are set on a high-tech artsy/bohemian planet, and are about new and alien technology turned to the service of art. The plots are predictable “biter bit” tales, but the ideas are quite cool. I especially liked the one in which actors take drugs to make themselves really get into character.

Nancy Kress. She’s famous for idea-driven sf, but my favorite of her books is the quirky fantasy The Prince of Morning Bells. It’s clearly influenced by The Last Unicorn in its mix of fairy-tale beauty and eeriness with clever metafictional references, but manages to carve out its own identity as well. I also enjoyed her classic sf novel Beggars in Spain, about the implications of what at first seem to be a small genetic alteration, to remove the need for sleep. But I like the original novella better. The novel is worth reading, though, and stands on its own. Don’t bother with the sequels. I also don’t rec her mainstream thrillers or anything involving reincarnation. But her short stories and novellas are often quite strong.

Authors I’ve never read, H-K: Monica Hughes, Katherine Kurtz. . If you’ve ever read anything by either of them, please discuss in comments.
Ann Halam is the YA pen name of adult sf author Gwyneth Jones. I have never been able to penetrate more than three pages into any of her adult novels, which annoys me as the premises usually sound quite interesting. The unvarnished prose of her YA novels is far more to my taste, though their tones vary between rescued from "too depressing to read" by relatively hopeful protagonists and relatively upbeat endings (this book, Siberia) and awesomely depressing (Taylor Five, a semi-finalist in the awesomely depressing awards.)

Dr. Frankin's Island is a riff on The Island of Doctor Moreau. (I read the book of the latter and vaguely remember it as a fun old-fashioned adventure. I also saw the movie, fell asleep on my friend's floor, and kept waking up, seeing Marlon Brando in increasingly bizarre headgear (a bouquet of flowers, a troupe of stuffed monkeys, etc), and was slightly dismayed when my friend later confirmed that no, I had not dreamed the bit where Marlon Brando wore a bucket on his head.)

Halam's take has three teenagers get plane-wrecked on an island, and then captured and, in quite horrifying detail, transformed into animal-human hybrids. The teenagers' terror and despair are vividly depicted, as is their endurance and, later, existence in an animal form. The friendship between the heroine, a Jamaican-American or Jamaican-British girl who is transformed into an aquatic form, and her companion who is given flight, is convincing and lovely. But Halam's protagonists are often so absolutely trapped by their circumstances that action is either impossible or futile. This makes her books painful to read, even if her heroines do eventually triumph, as they do here.

I'm happy to read her books once-- they're very gripping and smart-- but I don't think I'd ever re-read them.
Ann Halam is the YA pen name of adult sf author Gwyneth Jones. I have never been able to penetrate more than three pages into any of her adult novels, which annoys me as the premises usually sound quite interesting. The unvarnished prose of her YA novels is far more to my taste, though their tones vary between rescued from "too depressing to read" by relatively hopeful protagonists and relatively upbeat endings (this book, Siberia) and awesomely depressing (Taylor Five, a semi-finalist in the awesomely depressing awards.)

Dr. Frankin's Island is a riff on The Island of Doctor Moreau. (I read the book of the latter and vaguely remember it as a fun old-fashioned adventure. I also saw the movie, fell asleep on my friend's floor, and kept waking up, seeing Marlon Brando in increasingly bizarre headgear (a bouquet of flowers, a troupe of stuffed monkeys, etc), and was slightly dismayed when my friend later confirmed that no, I had not dreamed the bit where Marlon Brando wore a bucket on his head.)

Halam's take has three teenagers get plane-wrecked on an island, and then captured and, in quite horrifying detail, transformed into animal-human hybrids. The teenagers' terror and despair are vividly depicted, as is their endurance and, later, existence in an animal form. The friendship between the heroine, a Jamaican-American or Jamaican-British girl who is transformed into an aquatic form, and her companion who is given flight, is convincing and lovely. But Halam's protagonists are often so absolutely trapped by their circumstances that action is either impossible or futile. This makes her books painful to read, even if her heroines do eventually triumph, as they do here.

I'm happy to read her books once-- they're very gripping and smart-- but I don't think I'd ever re-read them.
"Ann Halam" is the YA pen name of sf writer Gwyneth Jones. In this novel, teenage Taylor, who lives with her parents on an orangutan reserve in Borneo, learns that she is actually the clone of a scientist friend of theirs. Just as she's beginning to come to grips with that, the reserve is attacked by rebels and Taylor flees into the jungle with her younger brother, a wounded scientist, and a suspiciously intelligent orangutan named Uncle.

This novel is intelligent, well-written, and fast-paced. It is also, as [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink warned me, one of the most depressing YA novels I've ever read. It's not more depressing than Karen Hesse's Into the Dust, in which Billie Jo is growing up in the dust bowl and her only pleasure is playing the piano, and then she accidentally sets her pregnant mother on fire and Billie Jo's hands are horribly burned and they all writhe together in thirsty, untended agony because her father runs out to get drunk and leaves them alone, and then her mother dies slowly and the baby dies and Billie Jo can't play the piano any more and her father's a drunk in the dust bowl and it's all her fault. But it's up there.

What makes it so intensely depressing is not only the extremely sad events, but that it is the only YA novel I can think of that deals with a real-world problem (the destruction of the orangutan's habitat) that explicitly says, both in the novel and the novel's afterword, that the situation is not merely dire, but hopeless. In fact, the very last sentence in the book (in the author's note) includes the word "doomed."

Have a nice weekend, y'all!
"Ann Halam" is the YA pen name of sf writer Gwyneth Jones. In this novel, teenage Taylor, who lives with her parents on an orangutan reserve in Borneo, learns that she is actually the clone of a scientist friend of theirs. Just as she's beginning to come to grips with that, the reserve is attacked by rebels and Taylor flees into the jungle with her younger brother, a wounded scientist, and a suspiciously intelligent orangutan named Uncle.

This novel is intelligent, well-written, and fast-paced. It is also, as [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink warned me, one of the most depressing YA novels I've ever read. It's not more depressing than Karen Hesse's Into the Dust, in which Billie Jo is growing up in the dust bowl and her only pleasure is playing the piano, and then she accidentally sets her pregnant mother on fire and Billie Jo's hands are horribly burned and they all writhe together in thirsty, untended agony because her father runs out to get drunk and leaves them alone, and then her mother dies slowly and the baby dies and Billie Jo can't play the piano any more and her father's a drunk in the dust bowl and it's all her fault. But it's up there.

What makes it so intensely depressing is not only the extremely sad events, but that it is the only YA novel I can think of that deals with a real-world problem (the destruction of the orangutan's habitat) that explicitly says, both in the novel and the novel's afterword, that the situation is not merely dire, but hopeless. In fact, the very last sentence in the book (in the author's note) includes the word "doomed."

Have a nice weekend, y'all!
.

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