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.
Mely jumped off the bridge, so I will too. Since I despair of ever having time to write up everything individually, I have given brief reviews to the whole month below.

If anything's missing an author, it is because I am too lazy to look them up. If there's no comment, I already reviewed it here.

Three books got the comment wow, terrible! Guess it was a bad month for fiction. )


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