Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fantasy Sports Volume One

Written by: Sam Bosma

First line: You…are late.

Why you should read this book: I have to admit to not really understanding anything that’s going on here: a brutish fighter and an impish magician, paired up, against their will, by the local thieves’ guild, are sent to loot some sort of ancient temple. Despite their poor attempts at partnership, Mug and Wiz manage to defeat the low-level guardians and challenge the boss, who is a magical mummy with a basketball jones. It all comes down to an epic, deadly, magical, violent, winner-take-all, one-on-one hoops shootout for a single treasure chest.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: It’s completely ridiculous.

The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw

Written by: Kurt Busiek and Benjamin Dewey

First line: Here’s what you need to know about us—we were good and gentle creatures

Why you should read this book: Action packed and innovative, this volume introduces a society of anthropomorphic animals, some of whom are powerful magicians, concerned that the magic that holds their civilization together is fading. To this richly imagined world, they summon a mythic hero, without fur, fangs, or claws, who is nothing like what they expected. Seen through the eyes of a young dog with a front seat to all the action, Autumnlands introduces a vivid and convoluted world of shifting alliances, political machinations, war stratagems, and massive upheavals of civilization.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: You can't overcome your prejudice against furries.  

Lord of Light

Written by: Roger Zelazny

First line: It is said that fifty-three years after his liberation, he returned from the golden cloud to take up once again the gauntlet of heaven, to oppose the Order of Life and the gods who ordained it so.

Why you should read this book: This Hugo winner from the 1960s more or less stands the test of time, telling the story of Sam, an unassuming but determined figure who places himself in opposition to Heaven itself. In the distant future, on a distant planet, human technology has advanced to the point that some people claim for themselves not on the powers, but also the identities of gods: the gods of the Hindu pantheon, to be specific. With devices so advanced as to be indistinguishable from magic, they rule over their world, until Sam rises again to offer men and woman another way, and to wage war against those who would hold back progress from the masses.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: As with much of Zelazny’s work, some of his experimental writing techniques can make the story difficult to follow; characters constantly change names, bodies, and genders; scenes begin in media res with minimal identifiers to situate the reader; and a foundation in Vedic mythology is necessary to tease out Zelazny’s source from his invention, little of which is explicitly defined in the text.

To Drink from the Silver Cup: From Faith through Exile and Beyond

Written by: Anna Redsand

First line: I left before the church could excommunicate me.

Why you should read this book: Born to Dutch reform missionary parents and raised on the Navajo reservation, Anna Redsand was a devout follower of her family’s Christian beliefs until the day that she heard her mother condemn a lesbian couple and Redsand began to realize that her faith community would never make room for her sexuality. Thus began her own journey through forty years of exile, engagement with Judaism and Buddhism, civil rights activism and personal introspection, questioning and seeking a home that could accommodate her as a complete person. Redsand’s story, powerful and personal, offers something for all of us searching for home.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: You should totally read this book, and not just because I’m personally thanked by name in the acknowledgments.