Story Recommendations: Urchins, While Swimming & Blood of Virgins

Both of these stories were interesting in different ways. Both are fantastical things set in modern times but Urchins… has a  darker feel, a more individual story that focuses on the conflict one person has and the discovery and change she has to go through. Set in post-war Russia the atmosphere of the story is dark and mysterious and unrelenting. Urchins…, has the benefit of being written by one of my favorite authors, Catherynne M. Valente who wrote the amazing Orphan’s Tales duology and her way with words and her love of them is in full display in the story.

In Blood… the conflict is more of a constant worry for some people in that world, it also has political leanings, by which I mean there’s political activism focused around the conflict. I also found it interesting that the story was focused on a male, it was interesting because we as a part of Western society don’t really think of men in those terms without judgment. Virgin for men is an insult and for women a virtue according to the dominant paradigm and it was and interesting to see this  represented in the work. I could deconstruct this more but I don’t want to ruin the story. Blood… is by David Barr Kirtley, who I’ve never read before but the idea and execution of the story really kept me interested which is a feat when there’s a male protagonist (usually the only things I read have a female main character, but that’s an essay for another time).

Anyway, check them both out and let me know what you think.

Urchins, While Swimming by Catherynne M. Valente

Blood of Virgins by David Barr Kirtley


4 responses to “Story Recommendations: Urchins, While Swimming & Blood of Virgins

  1. I loved “Urchins”! Valente has such beautiful prose, even when it gets dark, dark, dark. The mosiac feel of the piece really works well, and my favorite section (which I’ve reread just alone, on occasion) is the Ardent Hermit.

  2. Valente has such beautiful prose
    I know! I can always handle dark things from Valente that I’m sure I couldn’t handle from others (I can be something of a wimp at times) and it’s all because of her prose and the beauty with which she paints everything. As a former professor would say she “shows us the beauty in it’s opposite” The Ardent Hermit is a fantastic section, the interaction between the main character and her boyfriend is so layered and subtle, her writing gives me chills.

  3. You say that you usually only like stories where the protagonist is female and promise to write an essay on that topic at a later date. Will you actually write such an essay?

    I’m interested because I’m the same way but am wondering why that would be the case for a man. I have a lot of trouble getting into stories that are male-centric but most men don’t seem to even notice gender disparities in fiction.

    Also, on a somewhat related note, are you still enjoying the Sarah Connor Chronicles or do you find it’s becoming a bit too Derek Reese Chronicles. Is the show Sarah centric enough for you? I’m still enjoying it quite a bit and hope it doesn’t get cancelled and can’t believe how much I’m liking Brian Austin Green but I want me some more bad-ass Sarah!

  4. Nique –
    Thanks for the reminder, I had totally forgotten about saying I would write it up another time. Now that you’ve reminded me it’ll probably be written and up in the next couple of days. Some of it is connected to my strong feminist leanings but the leanings were also informed by reading so much F/SF with female main characters. And some of it is connected to race issues. I’ll definitely work on it.

    I’ve actually fallen way behind on most of my TV shows including Sarah Connor Chronicles but I’ll probably be caught up by next week and I’ll reply more then.

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