The Silent Tower: The Windrose Chronicles (Book One); The Silicon Mage: The Windrose Chronicles (Book Two)

For the purposes of this exercise, I'm assuming that I know all about magic, other worlds, etc, and take that into consideration when assessing my clients.

Presenting Problem: Antryg Windrose is a slightly disheveled and eccentrically (but not bizarrely) dressed man with somewhat but not markedly tangential speech, and somewhat labile affect. When asked what brought him here today, he states that he is sad and frustrated over his inability to work magic in Los Angeles.

Client denies suicidal ideation, but says he has moderate anxiety over realistic fears of being returned to his home country for execution. Client still takes pleasure in daily life and current relationship, and is employed.

Personal History: Childhood abuse, torture and imprisonment by government, refugee. Client discusses this with insight and appropriate emotion.

Family Background: Client was raised by unrelated abusive man; has no contact with biological family.

Psychiatric/Treatment History: Previous diagnosis of paranoia proved to be incorrect: the client’s seemingly paranoid beliefs were objectively true. Client states cheerfully that “everyone knows he’s mad.” When asked if he believes that he’s mad, he is evasive, then states that he understands why others think he is. Exploration of this point produces several statements of “odd” beliefs regarding magic theory and the likely truth of superstitions. Client has no hallucinations, and possible “delusions” are within the realm of eccentricity.

Differential Diagnosis: Evaluated for depression. Client states that he has no history of mania, major medical condition, substance use, somatic symptoms, symptoms of major depression, or dysthymia. Client agrees that depression and anxiety developed in response to stress.

Consider adjustment disorder with mixed anxious and depressed mood. Rule out on basis of lack of sufficient impairment of social and occupational functioning.

Rule out PTSD (due to trauma history): client states that he has no symptoms of PTSD. Rule out schizophrenia: no symptoms. Rule out paranoid personality disorder: no symptoms. Rule out schizotypal PD: Client is indeed “odd.” But he lacks a pervasive pattern of social and interpersonal deficits due to oddness, is comfortable with close relationships, and is not distressed by being “odd.”

Client appears to be quite well-adjusted and emotionally healthy, especially given his background and circumstances.

Treatment Plan: Therapy for grief over loss of magic. Refer to orthopedist for consultation on injuries to client’s hands.

Axis I (clinical disorders): No diagnosis.

Axis II (personality disorders and mental retardation (note: yes, that is the term for diagnosis)): No diagnosis.

Axis III (general medical conditions): Injuries to hands from torture.

Axis IV (psychosocial and environmental problems): Loss of former career. Exposure to torture and imprisonment. Threat of execution. Refugee.

Axis V (GAF: Global Assessment of Functioning): 80. (Transient and expected reactions to psychosocial stressors.)

(GAF explanation: 100: Buddha. 50: Seriously affected by mental illness. 0: Catatonic or currently randomly shooting passersby.)

ETA: I'm going strictly by the book here. In real life, he probably would have gotten an "adjustment disorder" diagnosis so his treatment would qualify for insurance.
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
( Jun. 4th, 2011 09:25 am)
Amazon is having a 99 cent - $2.99 sale on selected Kindle books. Here's a few that may be of particular interest:

Predators I Have Known, by Alan Dean Foster. Yes, the Pip and Flinx guy. Based on the sample chapter, this is an awesomely and absurdly alliterative account of real-world predators he has known, as he happily traveled around the world to get a look at tigers, sharks, etc. I have a weakness for that sort of thing, and bought it. $1.99.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris's nonfiction book, Smart on Crime. She has an interesting background - her family is Indian and Jamaican, and important politicians on the Indian side - and the sample chapter is well-written and thoughtful. Will probably be depressing, as she is in favor of prevention and the American system as a whole seems to have zero interest in that, but I got it anyway as she seems to have some ideas I haven't heard before. $2.99.

Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer. For the love of God, skip the horrible anti-Semitic pawnbroker chapter. Otherwise, a really funny romantic comedy with great characterization. $1.99.

The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy. I have an enormous, slightly guilty fondness for this lush, engrossing, often very funny, and utterly cracktastic Southern Gothic epic about a family whose eccentricity, dysfunctionality, and mental illness goes so far over the top that it reaches the stratosphere. The movie doesn't really do it justice. Contains some racist characters, rape, self-harm, and many other disturbing things. Also contains some really excellent food porn. $2.99. Cut for GIANT SPOILER )

ETA: Those Who Hunt the Night, by Barbara Hambly. Really excellent vampire novel for 99 cents... but comments say there are huge formatting problems. Caveat emptor. I'm mostly mentioning it to alert everyone that she wrote a third novel in the series, Blood Maidens, which I did not know of till just now. Very exciting!
This post was not only prompted by a remarkably stupid NY Times review of the "Game of Thrones" TV series, in which the reviewer thought the story was a polemic against global warming, claimed that women don't like fantasy, and further claimed that women do love sex, so the sex was gratuitously crammed in to please them.

It was also prompted by curious fact that while many of the most successful, and by successful I mean bestselling, writers of YA fantasy and sf are women writing under clearly female names, and most of the bestselling writers of urban fantasy are women writing under female names, most of the bestselling writers of epic/high fantasy are men or women writing under male or ambiguous names.

To quickly define terms, by "urban fantasy" I mean "Set in contemporary world much like ours, but in which magic and/or magical creatures exist. Typically involves romance, fighting evil, and/or detecting." By "epic fantasy," I mean "Set in non-contemporary world which is not just our world plus magic or an alternate history of our world, big sprawling stories, typically a series of fat volumes, typically involves a huge cast of characters, war, battles, monarchies, and politics. Typically set in a vaguely medieval period."

I have some questions for you all.

1. Am I correct that the bestselling writers of epic fantasy are typically male or writing under possibly-male names? I'm thinking of Robin Hobb (woman writing under possibly-male name), Patrick Rothfuss, George R. R. Martin, Robert Jordan, Brian Sanderson, Tad Williams, Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks, etc.

I am under the impression that the female authors writing under clearly female names, like Kate Elliott, Katherine Kerr, are midlist or at least not hugely bestselling authors.

Anomalies: Jacqueline Carey - bestselling, I think, but clearly female. Gender of names may not be clear to readers: Sherwood Smith, Mercedes Lackey. I think Sherwood is considered a midlist writer, while Lackey is maybe in between midlist and bestseller?

2. Is epic fantasy really read more by men than by women? In general, women read far more than men do. Is epic fantasy an exception? I would love to see some actual figures here, because I honestly have no idea.

3. Do male or male-seeming epic fantasy authors get a bigger marketing push from the publishers? Are readers more willing to buy their books? Why is this different from urban fantasy and YA fantasy? (Maybe the latter are considered "less serious," because of the association with romance and teenagers, and so the proper province of women?)

(I don't even ask, "Is epic fantasy by women reviewed less?" because we already know that answer. All fiction by women is reviewed less than fiction by men. One of many statistical breakdowns to that effect here.)

ETA: A brief reading list of non-bestselling female writers of epic fantasy:

Sherwood Smith: Overview: Yo, epic fantasy authors. I'm real happy for you, and I'mma let you finish (uh, sorry, George R. R. Martin, I swear that was not a dig) but Sherwood Smith has already written one of the best epic fantasies of all time. OF ALL TIME.

Buy on Amazon: Inda

Kate Elliott: Cold Magic (The Spiritwalker Trilogy)

Mary Gentle: A Secret History: The Book Of Ash, #1

Michelle Sagara: Cast in Shadow (The Chronicles of Elantra, Book 1)

P. C. Hodgell: The God Stalker Chronicles

Judith Tarr: The Hound and the Falcon: The Isle of Glass, The Golden Horn, and The Hounds of God

Barbara Hambly: Dragonsbane: The Winterlands Series (Book One) (Note: This book stands on its own, and is a perfect work of art on its own. For the love of God, AVOID THE SEQUELS.)

Laurie Marks: Fire Logic (Fire Logic)

N. K. Jemisin: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy)

Katherine Kerr: Daggerspell (Deverry Series, Book One)
I notice that many people have gotten curious about the original series after seeing the movie. There are also some quite good novels, many by writers known for original sf/fantasy. Here's a brief, non-comprehensive guide:

The Spirit of Wonder

Diane Duane did the best job of capturing the joy I felt when watching the series. You want to serve on her Enterprise – and her Enterprise probably has a place for you. Her crew is full of aliens, and her stories are all about the longing to breathe in the air of a strange new world.

Spock’s World intersperses a mission to Vulcan with a series of heartbreaking vignettes from Vulcan’s history; the alternation of the intense emotional content of the historical chapters with the more contained emotions of legal trial in the main story works beautifully. Spock's World (Star Trek)

In The Wounded Sky, the main character is a female giant transparent spider physicist, and the story is about the ultimate in exploring strange new worlds, a journey both inward and outward. Poignant and beautiful. The Wounded Sky

Enterprise: The First Adventure, by Vonda N. McIntyre. An epic of alien contact, featuring nice roles for all the main characters (even Janice Rand, who is mentored by Uhura), plus backstage comedy via an interstellar circus (!) and a very angsty and interesting original Vulcan character. Her new crew realistically fails to mesh, then gradually bonds; her aliens and descriptions of zero-g are lovely. Star Trek Enterprise The First Adventure

John M. Ford, as always a category unto himself

The Final Reflection
might as well be an original sf novel, as most of the characters are Klingons – and much more sophisticated and interesting Klingons than actually appeared on the show. A beautifully written and powerful story about power, politics, identity, and the costs and rewards of the choices we make. I can’t be more specific because I have no idea what was going on for a great deal of the story (let me know if you do!), but that’s true of most of Ford’s novels. The Final Reflection (Star Trek, No 16)

How Much For Just The Planet? A musical comedy. No, really. No, really. And it’s actually funny! It’s kind of a parody, but a very fond one. Kirk and the rest end up on a planet in which everyone acts like they’re in some old movie. Uhura lands in a film noir, and Kirk in a chorus line. There are hilarious film strips and an attack milkshake. Oh, just read it. How Much for Just the Planet? (Star Trek, No 36)

What if the Series Hadn't Been Totally Sexist?

My Enemy, My Ally,
by Diane Duane. A Romulan woman commander develops a prickly friendship with Kirk when they’re forced to adventure together for reasons of political intrigue. Lots of convincing detail about Romulan culture. My Enemy, My Ally There are sequels that aren't quite as good.

The Entropy Effect, by Vonda N. McIntyre. Time travel, Angsty!Fencing!Sulu, cool alien characters, several cool original female characters, and a rather slashy Kirk/Spock relationship: what’s not to love? The Entropy Effect (Star Trek)

Uhura’s Song, by Janet Kagan. This is another one that’s almost an original sf novel. When a plague hits, the cure involves going on a quest with a bunch of catlike aliens on their home world. There’s an original female character whom a lot of people call a Mary Sue, but all I can say is that I only wish Mary Sue was usually portrayed as Buckaroo Banzai, Trickster Archetype. Sweet and fun. Uhura's Song (Star Trek No 21)

Crossroad, by Barbara Hambly. A remarkably dark and often darkly funny story involving Lovecraftian horrors in spaaaaace. Christine Chapel is a major character, and her (non) relationship with Spock is developed convincingly and poignantly. Crossroad (Star Trek, Book 71)

Not My First Choice, But Worthwhile

Star Trek, Log One,
by Alan Dean Foster. Based on the animated series, this is nothing really special but nicely written.

The other novels by Barbara Hambly and Diane Duane are worth reading if you enjoy the series, as are Jean Lorrah’s. I note that Laurence Yep, Peter David, Joe Haldeman and Greg Bear all wrote novels for the original series; I don’t remember them, but they should be at least decent. I vaguely remember enjoying A. C. Crispin’s books.

Run Fast, Run Far

All the novels by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath are unreadable, though the “Phoenix” ones do have Kirk naked (and tortured) for most of the book. Avoid, even if that’s a selling point.

The Tears of the Singers, by Melinda Snodgrass. Oh God. Uhura meets a tousle-haired, temperamental asshole of a hot genius musician with a heart condition that will kill him if he gets excited. A planet of baby seal aliens are being clubbed to death by Klingons for the jewels they weep at the moment of death, only their song is holding the universe together. Kirk drafts the musician because he’s the only one who can translate the song, and he dies operatically in Uhura’s arms after saving the world. A baby seal alien spontaneously sheds a single perfect tear of woe, which Uhura makes into a necklace. The Tears of the Singers (Star Trek, No 19)

Did anyone read Spock, Messiah? Was it as dire as it sounds? SPOCK, MESSIAH! (Star Trek)
Y: The Last Man # 6, by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, is in stores now. I can pick up my copy on Friday, and I am extremely excited about this.

Barbara Hambly's Circle of the Moon, sequel to Sisters of the Raven, apparently received a stealth release in trade paperback. It's set in a Middle-East-esque, male-dominated fantasy land where for time immemorial, only men (and only some of them) have been able to work magic. Then one day, men lost their power, and women gained theirs. Cue social uproar. The second book stands on its own quite well if you haven't read the first, and gains extra interest from being past the period of male outrage and denial, and into the period where society is starting to shift to accomodate the new order. As is typical for Hambly, this is all wrapped in a sword-and-sorcery adventure that also functions as a mystery. Well-characterized (my favorites are the dandyish King Oryn and the beggar woman-turned-mage Pomegranate and her imaginary friend, a pig named Pontifer Pig), page-turny, and fun.

Yet another reminder that Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise series (described in my memoir; she's like a female James Bond, only much, much cooler) is back in print. I haven't seen it on the shelves much, but you can order all the books via amazon.com. If you are even remotely into pulp fiction or adventure novels about women who kick ass, I cannot recommend these too highly. She battles evil Siamese twins, she gets locked in a cage with a gorilla, she performs emergency appendectomies with one hand broken, she has affairs but not a boyfriend, and she has a lovely (non-sexual) relationship with her second in command, the cockney knife thrower Willie Garvin. They save each others' lives on a weekly basis, they spar literally and verbally, they amuse each other with humorous stories about their love lives-- it's charming.

On the manga shelves, supposedly Nana # 1 (HIGHLY recommended), Naruto # 8, and Fruits Basket # 12 are out now, but I haven't seen them yet. Maybe when I go to pick up Y.
.

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