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marthawells

Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus


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marthawells

More Book Recs

Had a great weekend going to the annual Thanksgiving party our friends give every year. It's sort of a reunion for older members of Cepheid Variable, the SF/F student club at Texas A&M University, and it's been going on for twenty-eight years. The party, not the club. The club was founded in 1967.

The interesting part of the weekend was that due to my car's recent windshield replacement, the rearview mirror came off in my hand Friday night. You never realize how much you use the rearview mirror until it's in the glove compartment.

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In the comments of the last book rec post, hellblazer said Putting a character in a position where they'll almost certainly be called on to do extralegal things, while they're in a setting where they're socially disadvantaged and will almost certainly suffer harsher punishments if caught, is a very interesting hook to me.

That's a really intriguing hook for me too. I suggested the Barbara Hambly's Benjamin January mystery series, (the first one is A Free Man of Color) which has a black protagonist solving mysteries in 1800s New Orleans. There's several books in the series and I really liked them.

I used this hook to some extent in a few of my books, but mainly in City of Bones, my second fantasy novel that came out in 1995. The main character and his partner are trying to solve a mystery related to their relic-selling business, but they aren't citizens, don't have any protection under the law, and the main character is from a different race who isn't considered human and his bones can be sold for fortune-telling.

So what other books (SF, fantasy, or mystery) use this kind of hook? What are people's favorites?
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You never realize how much you use the rearview mirror until it's in the glove compartment.

So true about so many things...

Susan Dexter's The Wind Witch about a woman who's trying to hide the fact that her husband's dead in order to gain control of her farm.


Edited at 2008-11-24 02:27 pm (UTC)

That's a theme throughout the two Carol Berg books I rec'd back in that first recs post. That was one of the elements I particularly loved about the story.

It's also something that pops up to a lesser degree in the Dresden Files books, in that Harry has to occasionally do wizardy things that can get him nailed under mortal law, but then occasionally the cops he works with demand that he do things to help solve cases that could get him nailed under wizard law. He also has to occasionally deal with people and go places where he could be killed just for the hell of it, just because he's mortal or just because he's a wizard.

The Easy Rawlins mysteries by Walter Mosely are along similar lines to the Benjamin January books, it sounds like; though Easy does his detective work in the mid-1900s (40s through 70s, if I recall correctly).

Transformation, a fantasy novel by Carol Berg, has that theme throughout, as the main character is a slave.

Also Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson. One of the main characters is a victim of an unknown disease and is locked away to die in an ancient city with all the other victims. (I fell in love with this book because of the first appearance of the female lead but the writing kept me hooked throughout).

I'd suggest Elizabeth Moon's 'Serrano' books which are SF. The MC has left the Fleet under a cloud (we don't find out what happened until later) and has a new job, which she rather despises, as captain of a wealthy, elderly woman's yacht.

The growing relationship between Captain Serrano and her employer, and the problems that face them, is excellent. They each grow to appreciate the other, in spite of the assumptions they hold at the beginning.

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