Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Trixie Belden Is Back!

God bless Random House. In an act of remarkable corporate wisdom -- nay, genius! -- they are reissuing the Trixie Belden mysteries in glorious plastic hardback. At only $6.99 a pop. (Paperbacks aren't $6.99 anymore!) With the original illustrations from the 1950's, and beautiful brand new covers which perfectly evoke the period while nodding to romance pulps and magazine illustrations of the day.

(With people who don't look 2D! But Trixie is strawberry blonde to redhaired, not mostly blonde with a couple pink reflections from her sweater! Honey's the blonde...sigh. And where're Trixie's freckles? Oh, well, minor complaints...easy to fix on later covers, right?)

For those of you who never met Trixie and the rest of the BWG, she was a tomboy with freckles, brains and spunk who led her friends into mystery, intrigue and danger...and generally not by doing stupid stuff or twisting her ankle. Oh, no, she was a leader with initiative. The boys didn't boss around the girls, Trixie's boyfriend Jim liked her being a strong female character, and the characterizations and storylines were generally more realistic and complex than those in Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys.

The Trixie Belden Homepage is probably the oldest and most extensive page; it also includes a fair amount of fanfic. The Trixie Belden Library has lots of photos of the authors and old editions, as well as some nice themes and downloadables. Labyrinth has fanfic about Trixie and her friends as adults. From there you should be able to get to most of the online Trixie Belden world.

I'm only sad I didn't realize sooner that this world was coming into being. I guessed I've missed Trixie more than I thought. (And they issued five more books back in the eighties? With Jody Lee covers? And I missed 'em? Sigh.)

Great New Books

This week has been rather interesting for me, as I found out that _three_ books I've been awaiting for a long time have just come out! And there's another on the way later this month.

1. Sunshine by Robin McKinley. She's been on my must-read list for many years now. Anything she deigns to write, I will read and buy -- that's all I need to know, and she's never made me regret that resolution yet. Her brand new book is not one of her typical fantasies (and it's not rated G or even PG, just to warn you), but rather takes place in an alternate modern or near-future Earth which is populated by all manner of magic and monsters. Our protagonist bakes Cinnamon Rolls as Big as Your Head for a living, but that doesn't mean she's not going to have a run-in with vampires. C'mon. Just one bite. You'll like it....

2. Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold, another buy-on-sight writer for me. It's a sequel to The Curse of Chalion, Bujold's alternate Spain fantasy, but stands alone if you haven't read Chalion. (Why haven't you?) I'd say this is a hard PG-13, maybe a little more. Once again, Bujold asks what doing God's will and being a saint really means, in a context which won't scare off sf/f fans. The answers she gives are once again the hard truth of the matter.

3. Goddess of the Ice Realms by David Drake. Drake didn't used to be a must-read for me, as he was a bit too depressing. Now he's just satisfying dark and gritty and militarily realistic, which I can take. This book is the latest volume of the wonderfully pulpy fantasy series which started with Lord of the Isles, but this is as good a starting point as any. If you like good old world-saving, monster-killing, evil mage-destroying, weird place-wandering fantasy, you'll love this.

The book that's coming out later this month is also by him: The Far Side of the Stars, the latest installment of the Leary and Mundy Royal Cinnabar (spaceship) Navy adventures. Daniel Leary is a heroic, womanizing tactical genius with starships. Adele Mundy is a quiet, deadly shot who's a genius with information retrieval (legal or no). And there is absolutely nothing between them. Uh huh. You just ask them. 'Cause Daniel would never ever be interested in a permanent relationship, especially with a woman who's not a bubblehead. Yup, Adele's just his bestest buddy and he doesn't think of her that way at all. (Not that I have anything against friendship, you understand. But this is pretty clearly pre-romance. If you enjoy that sort of thing, you'll enjoy this plenty.) You can read/download the first volume for free from Baen; both the 1st and 2nd books will be on the CD that Baen's binding into The Far Side of the Stars. They know books are crack; that's why they give 'em out for free.