I haven’t posted on my reading recently because I haven’t done as much F&SF reading as usual. I did read and enjoy Katherine Addison’s two “Cemeteries of Amalo” books, The Witness for the Dead and The Grief of Stones. I’m not sure they’re for everyone, because they’re anything but fast-paced, and I may have liked the ties to opera more than some readers. On the other hand, P. Djeli Clark’s A Master of Djinn is definitely faster paced and action filled, as well as based on an interesting conceit. Another rather “fluffy,” but quite enjoyable book is Travis Baldree’s Legends & Lattes about a female Orc who just wants to retire from battles and pillaging and open a coffee shop. Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher definitely kept me reading. Emily St. John Mandel’s Sea of Tranquility has more of a science fiction flavor than her earlier The Glass Hotel and might appeal more to F&SF readers.

On the non-fiction front, I found Temple Grandin’s The Autistic Brain most insightful, and readers who have to deal with those who have autism issues might find it useful as well.

4 thoughts on “”

  1. Morpheus99 says:

    Elizabeth Moon’s ‘The Speed of Dark’ is an interesting take on autism spectrum and how those who see the world differently have value.

    1. R. Hamilton says:

      I’d agree, having read it years ago, and having interacted with a few people that fall in that category.

  2. Sam says:

    A lot of stories I read tend to treat characters as a sort of generic template that is a product of or shaped by their environment. Parenting, the society they are brought up in, lived experiences etc. Things like sex, race and physical ability inform their character due to external factors more often than internal intrinsic differences in thought processes.

    Neurodivergent characters are also shaped by their environment but can respond to situations in unexpected ways because they perceive the world differently to most.

    I don’t recall there being any overtly neurodivergent characters in your fantasy works either as protagonists or secondary characters. There may have been and I missed it.

    I’ve occasionally thought it would be interesting to have one of your protagonists have to work with an autistic savant character who is an incredibly powerful and skilled magician but extremely limited in other areas such as socialising and communication skills. Someone who can be extremely useful but also incredibly hard to manage.

    To be fair your protagonists have had to work with and manage unlikeable characters but I do think there is a difference between people who are selfish and people who don’t process the world the same way.

  3. Chu'Wuti says:

    I agree that it could be very interesting to have a character who is an “autistic savant,” or is at least neurodivergent yet with some of the imaging abilities (for example) that society–or those in power find useful.

    However, it would be better if they were not merely a tool, or, if starting as a tool, they developed the skills they need to be much more. Perhaps that would be the time when they would become difficult to manage–because they would be developing in themselves the ability to move far beyond their user.

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