Vast Active Library and Information Science blog. From a recent library science graduate in Wellington, New Zealand. A focus on reference and current awareness tools and issues, especially free, web-based resources.

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Monday, June 23, 2003
(books) The only librarian heroine in sci-fi?  
Steven writes that he won't be reading Harry Potter, and also mentions that he can't read sci-fi/fantasy books in general. I'm somewhat relieved to hear that I'm not the only librarian/book-lover on the planet who hasn't read even a word of J.K. Rowling's writing. On the other hand, I think he's missing something in not reading sf (though maybe not fantasy). Some of the best novels I've read recently have been Iain M. Bank's Culture series, and Stephen Baxter's work - especially the Manifold series.

Which is a somewhat convoluted way to introduce my current reading, Australian sf writer Sean McMullen's Souls in the Great Machine, set in a post-fall (war? technological collapse? not quite sure yet), 40th century Australia. I'm just a chapter into it, but already there are a number of delights. Thrill as the librarian protagonist, already one of the most powerful people in the region:

  • breaks into an observatory to spy on the moon

  • defeats one of the world's best players of their chess equivalent, secretly using a computer with human components

  • Arranges the kidnapping of any numerate individuals she can lay her hands on, to use as forced components in the computer (OK, it's hardly moral - but it does seriously kick ass)

  • fights duels with her opponents inside the library establishment, in order to force through her modernisation programme - and haven't we all wished we at least had the option?

I wonder if "Zarvora was a librarian" could replace Batgirl or Casanova?


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