Tanith Lee. She has a lush, romantic, gothic style that teeters on the edge of being overblown, and sometimes falls in. I like her short stories better than her novels, probably because that sort of style can become much of a muchness. Red as Blood or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer is worth checking out even if you’ve read lots and lots of revisionist fairy-tales; Lee isn’t so much about amazingly original ideas as she is about conveying intense, luscious, decadent atmosphere.

Megan Lindholm (AKA Robin Hobb) If you like small-scale adventure fantasy, unusual worldbuilding, and tough female protagonists who aren’t magicians or warriors, I can’t recommend Lindholm’s “Ki and Vandien” series highly enough. In the first book, Ki, a trader with her whole life contained in her wagon, takes down Vandien, a desperate man trying to steal her stuff, then pities and befriends him. For the rest of the series, Ki and Vandien wander the extremely peculiar world, having adventures and uncovering the secrets of Ki’s past. The character development is excellent and at the heart of the series, but Lindholm is also very good with depicting the varied cultures of the world. (Many of the inhabitants are basically aliens rather than anything fantasy-normal.) Unlike her “Robin Hobb” books, there is no whining and not a word wasted. The first and last books are my favorites in the series, but they’re best read in order. Harpy's Flight, Windsingers, Limbreth Gate (The Ki & Vandien Quartet), Luck of the Wheels. Click her tag for more reviews.

Elizabeth A. Lynn. I know I’ve read several of her books, so I’m not putting her in the “unread” list, but I apparently didn’t find them very memorable. I vaguely recall thinking that given their subject matter (martial arts and lesbians?), I ought to be more into them than I actually was.

Vonda McIntyre. Dreamsnake is a perennial favorite of mine: post-apocalyptic landscape, healer with bio-engineered medical snakes, and tender adoptive mother-daughter bonding between the healer and an abused girl she champions. Could do without the pasted-on villain unfortunately referred to as “the crazy.” But otherwise, I love this book to bits and pieces. I’m also very fond of her two original (not from the movies) Star Trek novels, and her sf novels. Dreamsnake and several others of her books are available in inexpensive ($4.99) e-book form here, and her space opera with polyamory, Starfarers, is up for free.

Patricia A. McKillip. She is great. I will rec one of her lesser-known novels, a perfect little gem of a book, which has the bonus of having one of the very few “a girl must choose between several suitors” plots which I actually like. It helps that they’re all worthy, sexy, and different… and that she picks my favorite. That being said, it’s not primarily a romance, but is more of a very atmospheric, magical coming of age story. After her fisherman father is drowned, teenage Peri hexes the sea in revenge, an impulsive act which sends out ripples of change into her fishing village, the surrounding kingdom, and the land under the seaThe Changeling Sea

Robin McKinley. She seems to have been left off accidentally, as she’s a major figure in the field. Her first book, Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast, was published in 1978. It’s still wonderful, a quiet, cozy novel without villains, about family love, romantic love and the beauty of both magic and everyday life. I like the beginning parts, in which Beauty simply lives with her family in their little cottage, just as much as the parts set in the castle, with the Beast.

Pat Murphy. The City, Not Long After is about how San Francisco turns into a post-apocalyptic artist’s colony, and is saved from an invasion by a “war is awesome!” right-wing general by the power of art. Sort of. The climax seems to imply that only violence can defeat violence, which goes so completely against the message of the entire rest of the book that it felt as if someone had snuck into the room when the manuscript was almost done and scribbled, “PACIFISM IS TOTALLY UNREALISTIC” on it. Not bad, but I was unfairly irritated by the too-good-for-this-cruel world artists and started reflexively siding with the general.

Authors I’ve never read, L-P: Phillipa Maddern, Ardath Mayhar, Janet Morris, Sam Nicholson (AKA Shirley Nikolaisen), Rachel Pollack. If you’ve ever read anything by either of them, please discuss in comments.
Fandoms I am considering nominating (click on tags to find what I've written about them before):

New to Yuletide:

George R. R. Martin's "Thousand Worlds" space opera stories.

Lois Duncan's psychic kids boarding school YA Down A Dark Hall.

John Woo's film Red Cliff.

Sarah Rees Brennan's Demon's Lexicon.

Vonda N. McIntyre's post-apocalyptic novel about healing, snakes, and biological engineering, Dreamsnake.

Nominated in previous years:

Peter O'Donnell's comic strip and novels about the woman in my icon, Modesty Blaise.

Anne McCaffrey's Pern.

Sherwood Smith's Inda series.

Ann Maxwell's space opera Fire Dancer.

Is anyone thinking of requesting any of these? What are you all thinking of nominating?
Fandoms I am considering nominating (click on tags to find what I've written about them before):

New to Yuletide:

George R. R. Martin's "Thousand Worlds" space opera stories.

Lois Duncan's psychic kids boarding school YA Down A Dark Hall.

John Woo's film Red Cliff.

Sarah Rees Brennan's Demon's Lexicon.

Vonda N. McIntyre's post-apocalyptic novel about healing, snakes, and biological engineering, Dreamsnake.

Nominated in previous years:

Peter O'Donnell's comic strip and novels about the woman in my icon, Modesty Blaise.

Anne McCaffrey's Pern.

Sherwood Smith's Inda series.

Ann Maxwell's space opera Fire Dancer.

Is anyone thinking of requesting any of these? What are you all thinking of nominating?
On [livejournal.com profile] liviapenn's suggestion, I am writing up a couple Yuletide-eligible fandoms which I recommend that people check out before Yuletide.

BATTLE OF RED CLIFF PART 1 & PART 2 ENGLISH SUBTITLES - 2 DVDS. Thrilling battles with extra-cool strategies, a sense of humor, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung being extremely slashy at each other, and the chance to painlessly learn the Cliff Notes version of some important Chinese history and literature. What's not to love?

Dreamsnake, by Vonda N. McIntyre, is post-apocalyptic biological sf in which a doctor named Snake travels with her actual snakes, which have been genetically modified so that their bites can deliver medication. She encounters non-medical problems in the communities she meets as well, which she also tries to help with if she can. Very humane and compassionate, and the biology is pretty cool. If I request this, I'd be asking for the further or earlier adventures of Snake.

Tale Of The Five: The Sword And The Dragon. Diane Duane's perpetually unfinished (though luckily stand-alone) series begins with The Door Into Fire. In an intriguing world where polyamory and all other sorts of sexuality are totally cool with everyone, for generations only women have possessed the magic which enables great works and kills you young. But that's all beginning to change. Extremely sweet, with lots of companionship, adventure, banter, and love. Canonical gay, het, bi, lesbian, poly, and cross-species relationships.


Down a Dark Hall, a YA novel by Lois Duncan. This combines the genres of Gothic with "school for psychic kids," and so of course is a favorite of mine. Four teenage girls with special talents are trapped in a spooky boarding school run by a headmistress with an agenda. There's an obligatory hot young man (the headmistress' son) but really it's all about the relationships between the girls and how they cope with the situation.

Dreamsongs: Volume I and Dreamsongs: Volume II. Early in his career, George R R Martin wrote a bunch of lush, romantic, colorful space opera stories in a milieu called "The Thousand Worlds." They were full of weird planetscapes, vast distances, incomprehensible aliens, and an air of romantic tragedy and sense of wonder. If I ask for this, I'm looking for the setting and atmosphere; they all have different characters because they tend to conclude with the death, despair, or retirement of the protagonist, though there are exceptions.

Fire Dancer, by Ann Maxwell. The sequels are Dancer's Luck and Dancer's Illusion. Romantic space opera with cool aliens, including an adorably vain translating, shapeshifting snake, and a compelling romance. Rheba and Kirtn are the last survivors of their race -- or so they think! -- after their sun went nova. They are two races in a symbiotic relationship. Rheba is a humanoid dancer, which means she has psychic powers -- in her case, the control of "fire" (heat, electricity, etc.) Kirtn is a catlike humanoid, who can help Rheba control her powers. They are madly in love, but for complex reasons which, for once, actually make sense, they both think it's one-sided and are afraid to ask. Cue tons of adventure and smoldering (literally) glances.

Please comment or write your own post reccing small and eligible fandoms.
On [livejournal.com profile] liviapenn's suggestion, I am writing up a couple Yuletide-eligible fandoms which I recommend that people check out before Yuletide.

BATTLE OF RED CLIFF PART 1 & PART 2 ENGLISH SUBTITLES - 2 DVDS. Thrilling battles with extra-cool strategies, a sense of humor, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung being extremely slashy at each other, and the chance to painlessly learn the Cliff Notes version of some important Chinese history and literature. What's not to love?

Dreamsnake, by Vonda N. McIntyre, is post-apocalyptic biological sf in which a doctor named Snake travels with her actual snakes, which have been genetically modified so that their bites can deliver medication. She encounters non-medical problems in the communities she meets as well, which she also tries to help with if she can. Very humane and compassionate, and the biology is pretty cool. If I request this, I'd be asking for the further or earlier adventures of Snake.

Tale Of The Five: The Sword And The Dragon. Diane Duane's perpetually unfinished (though luckily stand-alone) series begins with The Door Into Fire. In an intriguing world where polyamory and all other sorts of sexuality are totally cool with everyone, for generations only women have possessed the magic which enables great works and kills you young. But that's all beginning to change. Extremely sweet, with lots of companionship, adventure, banter, and love. Canonical gay, het, bi, lesbian, poly, and cross-species relationships.


Down a Dark Hall, a YA novel by Lois Duncan. This combines the genres of Gothic with "school for psychic kids," and so of course is a favorite of mine. Four teenage girls with special talents are trapped in a spooky boarding school run by a headmistress with an agenda. There's an obligatory hot young man (the headmistress' son) but really it's all about the relationships between the girls and how they cope with the situation.

Dreamsongs: Volume I and Dreamsongs: Volume II. Early in his career, George R R Martin wrote a bunch of lush, romantic, colorful space opera stories in a milieu called "The Thousand Worlds." They were full of weird planetscapes, vast distances, incomprehensible aliens, and an air of romantic tragedy and sense of wonder. If I ask for this, I'm looking for the setting and atmosphere; they all have different characters because they tend to conclude with the death, despair, or retirement of the protagonist, though there are exceptions.

Fire Dancer, by Ann Maxwell. The sequels are Dancer's Luck and Dancer's Illusion. Romantic space opera with cool aliens, including an adorably vain translating, shapeshifting snake, and a compelling romance. Rheba and Kirtn are the last survivors of their race -- or so they think! -- after their sun went nova. They are two races in a symbiotic relationship. Rheba is a humanoid dancer, which means she has psychic powers -- in her case, the control of "fire" (heat, electricity, etc.) Kirtn is a catlike humanoid, who can help Rheba control her powers. They are madly in love, but for complex reasons which, for once, actually make sense, they both think it's one-sided and are afraid to ask. Cue tons of adventure and smoldering (literally) glances.

Please comment or write your own post reccing small and eligible fandoms.
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)
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)
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