The Importance of Visibility: Patrick Ness at the National Book Festival

Last Saturday, I got to hear author Patrick Ness speak at the National Book Festival. I’ve read his Chaos Walking series, and am looking forward to his adult novel. He writes high concept fantasy and science fiction that deals with gender issues.

He was a charming speaker with a nice self-deprecating sense of humor. But the thing made me really like him was that he came out as a gay man in a nonchalant way. He alluded to his husband in an aside. I’m loving this way of being visible; the actors Zachary Quinto and Wentworth Miller went this route as well. Instead of a grand announcement, it’s just stated as a fact.

This is extremely important, especially for the audience he’s writing for. Gay youth are at risk for suicide in spite of increased acceptance. It also helps straight youth to have a happens-to-be-gay role model.

Patrick Ness


BOOK REVIEW: City of Bones by Martha Wells. Proto-New Weird Fantasy

City of BonesCity of Bones by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An earlier entry in the Martha Wells oeuvre, City of Bones nicely balances her intricate, almost mystery-styled plots with her imaginative world-building. It’s admirable how the author manages a certain baroque richness to the prose, while maintaining a fairly action-packed, complex plot. The setting is a sort of post-apocalyptic fantasy world with a rigid caste system and strange rituals. Two outsiders stumble upon a mysterious artifact, and ultimately, a sinister world-threatening plan. The magic is magical and weird, and the suspense “pulse-pounding.” In a way, City of Bones fits into the New Weird aesthetic championed by China Mieville, in that it’s a little bit fantasy, a little bit horror, with a dash of science fiction and mystery thrown in for good measure. Fans of Mieville and Tanith Lee should check this book out.

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