As you probably know by now, Old School Wednesdays is a new weekly Book Smuggler feature. We came up with the idea towards the end of 2012, when we were feeling exhausted from the never-ending inundation of New and Shiny (and often over-hyped) books. What better way to snap out of a reading fugue than to take a mini-vacation into the past, right?
Logo designed by the wonderful KMont
We asked YOU for your favorite old school suggestions – and the response was so overwhelmingly awesome, we decided to compile a goodreads shelf, an ongoing database, AND a monthly readalong/book club. (Note that we’ve removed books that we have already read, or that we selfishly want to review as solos on Wednesday!)
It’s time for our August poll! The official July OSW readalong happens on Wednesday July 30 (get your copy of The Woman in the Wall by Patrice Kindl, stat!), but the clock stops for no one… so we are looking at August!
You can vote on which title you’d like to read next month by using the poll embedded below. The readalong will take place a bit earlier next month, on August 20, 2014.
Have at it!
Warchild by Karin Lowachee
When Jos’ parents are killed in an attack on their trading ship, the boy is kidnapped by the attackers and then escapes – only to fall into the alien hands of humanity’s greatest enemies. He is soon coerced into becoming a spy against the human race.
Prospero’s Children by Jan Siegel
It began ages past in fabled Atlantis, when a mad, power-hungry queen forged a key to a door never meant to be opened by mortal man–its inception would hasten her own death and the extinction of her vainglorious race. For millennia the key lay forgotten beneath the waves, lost amid the ruins of what had been the most beautiful city on Earth. But however jealously the sea hoards its secrets, sooner or later it yields them up. Now, in present-day Yorkshire, that time has come. And for young Fernanda Capel, life will never be the same again . . .
Lord of the Two Lands by Judith Tarr
In 336 B.C., Egypt lay under the yoke of Persia, ruled by Governors appointed by the King of Kings in Persis. And in the Temple of Amon in Thebes dwelt the only living child of Nectanebo, the last fully Egyptian Pharaoh, who had been defeated in battle and slain by Darius’s servants
But from the north a spirit of fire was moving across the World. A great warrior and general, the king of Macedonia, had risen to rule the Hellenic city-states. Now he was determined to challenge the might of the Persian Empire, to engage Darius himself in battle, and to defeat him. He was called Alexander, and the priests of Amon in Egypt saw that he was destined to rule their ancient land.
So they sent Meriamon, Beloved of Amon, daughter of Pharaoh, Singer and Priestess of the God, up from Egypt to the Plains of Issus, where a great battle had been fought, and the Persian king defeated. There she was to find Alexander, and persuade him to turn from the straight Eastward road and come south – where the double crown of Egypt awaited him.
LORD OF THE TWO LANDS is firmly based in the history of Alexander the Great, and then steeped in the rich, sun-drenched magics of ancient Egypt. It will transport you back to the time of heroes, when one man changed the face of the world.
An Earthly Crown (Jaran 2) by Kate Elliott
In the second book of Kate Elliott’s Novels of the Jaran, Tess Soerensen is pulled between two powerful men—her brother and her husband—and their competing revolutions
On the planet Rhui, the nomadic tribes of the jaran are uniting the settled cities of their homeland one by one. Their charismatic leader, Ilya Bakhtiian, has his loyal wife by his side, but there is something about her he doesn’t know: Tess Soerensen is a human. And not just any human—back home, her brother, Charles, led an unsuccessful revolt against the all-powerful Chapalii empire. Even though Charles was later made a duke in the Chapalii system, his revolutionary bent has not faded, and he is traveling to Rhui to locate Tess and uncover precious information about a past insurgency. Charles’s insistence that Tess join him is as strong as Ilya’s reluctance to part with his beloved wife—and neither considers that Tess may have her own plans for the future. As three fiercely independent spirits struggle for a solution, the fates of both the human race and the jaran hang in the balance.
An Earthly Crown is the second volume of the Novels of the Jaran, which also includes Jaran, His Conquering Sword, and The Law of Becoming.
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree Jr
These 18 darkly complex short stories and novellas touch upon human nature and perception, metaphysics and epistemology, and gender and sexuality, foreshadowing a world in which biological tendencies bring about the downfall of humankind. Revisions from the author’s notes are included, allowing a deeper view into her world and a better understanding of her work. The Nebula Award–winning short story Love Is the Plan, the Plan Is Death, the Hugo Award–winning novella The Girl Who Was Plugged In, and the Hugo and Nebula Award–winning novella Houston, Houston, Do You Read? are included.
The stories of Alice Sheldon, who wrote as James Tiptree Jr. ( Up the Walls of the World ) until her death in 1987, have been heretofore available mostly in out-of-print collections. Thus the 18 accomplished stories here will be welcomed by new readers and old fans. ”The Screwfly Solution” describes a chilling, elegant answer to the population problem. In ”Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death,” the title tells the tale–species survival insured by imprinted drives–but the story’s force is in its exquisite, lyrical prose and its suggestion that personal uniqueness is possible even within biological imperatives. ”The Girl Who Was Plugged In” is a future boy-meets-girl story with a twist unexpected by the players. ”The Women Men Don’t See ” displays Tiptree’s keen insight and ability to depict singularity within the ordinary. In Hugo and Nebula award-winning ”Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” astronauts flying by the sun slip forward 500 years and encounter a culture that successfully questions gender roles in ours.
Get voting, and we hope to see you on August 20!
Got a suggestion? Have an amazing book, published at least five years ago, that you would love to nominate for the OSW monthly readalong? Speak up and submit your favorites! (If you have problems with the form below, you can also access it HERE.)