Monday, March 9, 2015

February reading: oceans, Pluto and cute baby bats

Quite a delicious list of everything I've read in February introduced to you by the Spotted Dragon!

武内 直子 『美少女戦士セーラームーン』 vol. 5 (Naoko Takeuchi “Sailor Moon” vol. 5) [Japan] 
Wu Ming-Yi “The Man with the Compound Eyes” [Taiwan] 
Issui Ogawa “The Lord of the Sands of Time” [Japan] 
Jeff VanderMeer “Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction” [USA] 
武内 直子 『美少女戦士セーラームーン』 vol. 6 (Naoko Takeuchi “Sailor Moon” vol. 6) [Japan] 
Nnedi Okorafor “Lagoon” [USA]

At first I got this book from the library, but soon I bought my own copy. Wonderbook is a cool illustrated guide for the writers of speculative fiction. Really fun quirky drawings there!

The Lord of the Sands of Time
Time-travel, ancient Japan and aliens! I really liked the reveal about the intruder's origins, but main characters left me cold. It's weird, because one of them, Miyo, is a shaman queen who ends up leading armies, which sounds like my cup of tea. Oh well, it was a nice book anyway. Those scary mononoke!

The Man with the Compound Eyes
“On the island of Wayo Wayo, every second son must leave on the day he turns fifteen as a sacrifice to the Sea God. Atile'i is one such boy, but as the strongest swimmer and best sailor, he is determined to defy destiny and become the first to survive.
Alice Shih, who has lost her husband and son in a climbing accident, is quietly preparing to commit suicide in her house by the sea. But her plan is interrupted when a vast trash vortex comes crashing onto the shore of Taiwan, bringing Atile'i with it.”

This beautifully written novel about the Pacific trash vortex hitting the shores of Taiwan and the fragile balance forever ruined by humans, filled me with sadness. It was also my first Taiwanese book. The characters were interesting and diverse, and there was a lot of nature = awesome.

“When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist, Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa, Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself. Lagoon expertly juggles multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives with prose that is at once propulsive and poetic, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.”

It was not intentional but somehow I read one more book brimming with wildlife. :-) Although Lagoon is quite a different story about an alien invasion, has more action in it and is set in Africa instead of Asia, Lagoon kept making me think about ecology the way The Man with the Compound Eyes did. 

Japanese kanzenban edition of Sailor Moon.

Volumes 5 and 6 of the Sailor Moon manga cover the Infinity arc, which is my favourite in the 90's anime. And I absolutely loved it in the manga too. Lots of intense action, cool new characters, aliens, nano robots, cyborgs and more! Spoilers ahead.

Is Haruka a man, a woman, both or neither?

You'd have to read the manga to find out. ;-)
(But I can already tell you that Haruka is awesome.)

The queerest family ever:
Setsuna-mama, Michiru-mama and Haruka-papa.

God, Pluto, why must you be so beautiful?!

I didn't sob here, not at all.


Magnificent Sailor Saturn.

Princess Serenity is concerned about the sudden weird boobage here.

A fluffy bat ^^

Bonus: A bat quote from Lagoon and a bat video to end this post with cuteness. ^^

“She remembers the moment of her birth clearly. She had opened her eyes and seen little. But then she chirped, and the sound found her mother. Then the others. Then the cave. And a week later, when she echolocated the night, she thought she'd die from the beauty of the trees and the land.”

Aww ^o^

And tiny baby bats!

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