A new episode of the superb podcast, The Writer and The Critic, has gone live. This time Kirstyn and Mondy look at Hair Side, Flesh Side by Helen Marshall. They are very enthusiastic about it, which pleases me because the book happens to be in my bookstore.
The other book that they picked is Light by M. John Harrison. Surprisingly, they didn’t think much of it, which just goes to show how different people can react very differently to the same book. Personally, when I heard Kirstyn say that she felt “trapped” reading the book, I could see Mike smiling happily to himself at a job well done. It is true that Mike doesn’t present much analysis of the various gender issues highlighted in the book. Perhaps that’s a difference between a literary approach to a novel and a more traditional science fiction approach. What Mike does is more like painting a picture. People interacting with it may come away deeply disturbed, but the picture doesn’t tell you why, or what to do about it, it just sends you away to think about your life. One of the beauties of Light is that it presents this amazing science-fictional concept, and yet none of the characters in it are happy. They can’t get what they want and, try as they might, they don’t know what they need.
Of course, your mileage may vary. If you want to hear what Kirstyn and Mondy have to say, check out the podcast.