Friday, November 19, 2021

6 Books with Marjorie B. Kellogg

Marjorie B. Kellogg is an associate professor of theater at Colgate University. Kellogg has written several novels, including Lear's Daughters, Harmony, and The Dragon Quartet series. She has adapted work for the stage and written an original musical. She has a BA from Vassar College. In addition to teaching at Colgate, she has also taught at Princeton University and Columbia University.

Today she tells us about her Six Books

1. What book are you currently reading?

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu,
by Joshua Hammer

The Only Good Indians, by Stephen Graham Jones

After the Fall, by Ben Rhodes

New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson

I tend to read several books at once, for variety and to suit my level of concentration at any given moment. These are all books given to me by friends, except for the KSR, which I made myself wait to read until I’d finished my own book about flooded Manhattan. Fortunately, the two could not be more different. With something as vast and far-reaching as climate change, there are a billion stories yet to tell.

2. What upcoming book are you really excited about?

Any new book feels like an exciting prospect!

But I’ve been too busy this summer to keep an eye on what’s in the pipeline. Plus, I look for enthusiastic recommendations from other readers I trust, and none have come my way recently. A chance to work through the stacks waiting on my desk and bedside table.

3. Is there a book you’re currently itching to re-read?

I don’t tend to reread books, as the surprise element in a narrative is important to my enjoyment of reading. And there are so many books yet to read, with so little time!

But if I really loved a book, and enough time has passed that I feel I might read it differently, see it in a new light or learn something new from it, then I’ll revisit it. 

It might be time to reread Cloud Atlas, for instance. Or early George R.R. Martin.

4. A book that you love and wish that you yourself had written.

The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula LeGuin. 

This book I have reread, more than once, and still find moving and magical. Her portrayal of an alien civilization is so deeply drawn, so compassionate, so non-comic-booky, and yet so relevant and relatable to our own Earth-bound issues and selves. It’s what Science Fiction can do like no other genre.

5. What’s one book, which you read as a child or a young adult, that has had a lasting influence on your writing? 

I didn’t think much about writing as a young adult. I read a lot of science fiction and I thought most about story, and how SF, while being a fun read, could also discuss and bring to life issues like racism, gender, or especially the environment, topics that were then and still are most important to me.

Perhaps, as a youngster I first noticed good writing in the work of Roger Zelazny, Samuel Delany, Johanna Russ, Sheri Tepper: people who paid attention to style when that wasn’t required in genre fiction. Now there’s lots of good writing around, which may be one reason why science fiction, and particularly climate fiction, is being read by a much wider public. About time, since the future that climate fiction has been prophesying for decades is upon us already.

6. And speaking of that, what’s your latest book, and why is it awesome? 

My latest is Glimmer, debuted October 12, from DAW Books. It’s a near-future novel about living with the disruptions of climate change. It’s not a coming-disaster tale. The disasters are already happening, page by page, and Glimmer does not offer some magical fix. Instead, it’s an intimate, first-person narrative by a young woman who, traumatized into memory loss, finds surprising community in chaotic, flooded Manhattan, and with that community, explores new ways to live in a climate-changed world. She endures terrible loss as lethal weather and random violence surge around her, but surfacing memories ignite a healing process of self-discovery. 

We often read how the rich and privileged are preparing for climate change. I wanted to imagine what ordinary folk, the left-behinds without power or wealth, might do to survive as the social order darkens and falls apart. Can Darwinian fitness take on a new definition? Is might-makes-right the only possible outcome? I wanted to locate hope for a reasonable future for the Earth in my characters’ determination and creative ingenuity, the positive side of being human.

Thank you, Marjorie!

POSTED BY: Paul Weimer. Ubiquitous in Shadow, but I’m just this guy, you know? @princejvstin.