“Why are things as they are? Must they be as they are? What might they be like if they were otherwise? To ask these questions is to admit the contingency of reality, or at least to allow that our perception of reality may be incomplete… There really is nothing to fear in fantasy unless you are afraid of the freedom of uncertainty.” —Ursula K. Le Guin

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September 19-21 I’ll be appearing in Leipzig at Elstercon 2014, talking about James Tiptree, Jr., with my award-winning German translator, Margo Jane Warnken. Appropriately enough, considering Tiptree’s work, the theme of the con is “Crime Scene: The Future.”  

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Saturday, Aug. 30, at 3 pm at the American Book Center in Amsterdam, I’ll be interviewing Corinne Duyvis, author of the widely praised YA fantasy Otherbound. She’s a young Amsterdam novelist and artist who writes and publishes in English. Her debut is a gripping read with an original approach to themes of disability, diversity, and […]

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My review of Lisa See’s China Dolls is out now in the summer issue of Ms. Magazine. The novel draws on the unknown (to me) history of San Francisco’s Forbidden City nightclub and the Asian-American entertainers who worked there. While I was writing I kept looking up more images and footage, great stuff like the […]

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My German translator, Margo Jane Warnken, has won the Kurd Laßwitz Preis 2014 for best science fiction translation for James Tiptree Jr. – Das Doppelleben der Alice B. Sheldon (Septime Verlag, 2013). Congratulations, Margo, and many thanks to Septime Verlag, who are in the process of publishing the complete works of James Tiptree, Jr., in […]

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Welcome to my new website! I’ve put together a selection of my recent articles and posted them here: on Toni Morrison and Michael Chabon, A.S. Byatt and Patti Smith, the art of the love letter, the Lost Continent of Mu, a Turkish writer in Amsterdam, and “Mrs. Dalloway” in the 21st century. Taken together they […]

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My review of Chang-Rae Lee’s “On Such a Full Sea” is in the winter-spring 2014 issue of Ms. I’m still thinking about the book, and about why I so often end up with mixed feelings reading science fiction by “literary” writers. On one hand, Lee makes skillful use of science fiction to explore Asian culture […]

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It’s rare to find a woman writer who is directly inspired or enabled by her experience as a mother. Although I would like to believe that parents have a direct line to the deepest levels of human meaning, I suspect that most of the time parenting and writing, when they’re not actively interfering with each […]

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Women writers need to “raise the bar,” write more forcefully, set aside relationships and other supposedly female business and tackle “bigger” subjects. So says the young male novelist Jamal Ouariachi in last week’s Vrij Nederland, repeating a popular current assessment of women writers’ problem. Now, to my mind, the idea that novels by women are […]

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There are publishers who like to rummage in the jewel box of literature, looking for old books to try on. Some turn out to be diamonds, others semiprecious stones that happen to suit the mood of the times. “Stoner” (1965) by John Williams, last year’s successful revival, is an example of the second. Writing fifty […]

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