Posted by Sari
Category 15, An SF book with a female main character: Emma Newman Before Mars
Emma will appear on this list another time, I interviewed her at Åcon, so I have been reading and re-reading her stuff this year. Before Mars is a story of Anna Kubrin, a geologist and an artist dispatched to the permanent base on Mars both to do geology and paint pictures for the millionaire financing the mission. From the beginning Anna feels something is off. She finds note from herself, and begins to wonder if she has been made to forget something or if she is going mad.
Before Mars is on the same continuum as Planetfall and After Atlas, and it has the same preoccupation with power structures and mental health as the other two novels. It is intense and paranoid and excellent. I especially appreciated the exploration of Anna's relationship with her infant child, the alienation of not feeling what you are told you must believe towards your offspring.
Category 35, Dystopian SF book: Kim Stanley Robinson: New York 2140
I did put this as number one on my Hugo ballot. I have loved almost everything Robinson has ever written, and this, I thought, was excellent look at society, economy and climate change with wonderful re-emagining New York as half-sunken city. In 2140, water levels have risen radically, but despite short periods of turmoil society has not collapsed. Capitalist economy has managed to keep inventing financial instruments which allow it keep reaping the benefits of others labour, and if and when a collapse comes the state will always bail them out. The cycle keeps going.
Robinson has multiple point of view characters from street urchings to hedge fund managers, hackers to broadcasters who all have a connection to the old Met Life building which - so very appropriately - is surrounded by water like rest of the Lower Manhattan, but still functions as an apartment building. There is treasure hunting, huge storm, an ice bear in a dirigible and plot to undermine the financial system of the country.
I hesitate to call this dystopia, though many have said so. The society has not collapsed due changing circumstances, there has been massive loss life, but humanity has kept going - locally and globally - so far. And the book is about revolution, people banding together to build a better future. I found it intriguing and inspiring, and loved, loved, loved the way Robinson depicts New York in this novel.
Pukka peppermint & licorice
So not a tea as such, but peppermint and licorice infusion made out of ethically sourcerd (according to the bag) licorice root and peppermint leaves. It is a funny taste. First you get a hit of the peppermint like with Mahgreb tea, and then you get this really, really sweet licorice after taste. I wasn't sure at first if I liked it but on reflection it works quite well. I might try this chilled in summer.