Contented Reader

just point me toward the nearest library

Od Magic

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Od Magic

Patricia McKillip


From the day Readercon began, I was checking their web site regularly, looking for the names of next year’s guests of honor.  I went for the first time last year, and had a truly fantastic time.  It was my first con of any kind, because I’m not a fan of crowds and I have a much lower tolerance for high-level nerdery than I used to- Readercon was the ideal con for me, low-key, book-centered, and without costumes, roleplaying, or any of the things I didn’t really want from a convention.  I felt really connected to a community of readers and writers, and I was giddily amazed to pass really good writers, people whose work I loved, everywhere.

The web site never did update, so eventually, I asked on Twitter and got the answer that next year’s guests of honor will be Patricia McKillip and Maureen McHugh.  I’ve read some of McHugh- I own Mothers & Other Monsters and After the Apocalypse.  I had never even heard of McKillip before, so I picked up two of her books at Half Price Books to give them a try.

The Readercon person on Twitter wasn’t able to tell me the name of the memorial guest of honor for next year.  The theme seems to be ‘people whose name starts with Mc.’  Maybe it should be Anne McCaffrey?  Or better yet, George MacDonald?  I loved The Princess and Curdie when my mother read it to me as a child.  Oddly, I didn’t discover it was a sequel until I was in college and delightedly stumbled upon The Princess and the Goblin, which I gather is the MacDonald book that everyone else loves.

Then all this nonsense with Rene Walling happened, and I worried a bit about whether I’d be able to go to Readercon in good conscience.  I was pretty confident that it would all get sorted out, though, and indeed it did, and Readercon is once again a con which takes sexual harassment as seriously as a con should.  I’m planning to bring my girlfriend, who I hope will have a good time.

Od Magic is set in a world so richly developed that I closed it feeling like I’d finished one of those multi-book fantasy series.  It’s about a backward mountain gardener named Brenden who is invited to a royal school of magic, where he explores the magic that is in him and gets unwittingly entangled in the palace machinations of more sophisticated and corrupted people.  It’s a book with layers; I think I’ll want to read it again before I feel like I have a firm grasp on what it’s saying about power and control, about feminine and masculine ways of living, about law and wildness.  It’s slow-paced and almost dreamy in its unfolding.

Apparently, Patricia McKillip has written lots of books.  I have a feeling I’ll be reading more of them, between now and July 2013, when I set out on the long road trip to Readercon.


Written by Contented Reader

August 16, 2012 at 7:04 am

Posted in Reviews

2 Responses

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  1. The Memorial Guest of Honor is usually selected in conference with the living Guests of Honor, so that choice is often not made until a little later. Summers are tough times to get everyone together, even virtually.

    Inanna Arthen

    August 19, 2012 at 12:45 am

  2. I didn’t know that, and it makes perfect sense! There’s a lot of reasonable person in me, so I don’t get unhappy or angry when I don’t have all the information the exact day Readercon ends. I’m just full of n00b enthusiasm for my second visit there, because the first one was so much exactly what I hoped a science fiction convention might be like.

    Contented Reader

    August 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm


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