Why I Really Like This Book
These are podcasts about forgotten fiction, for curious readers, and for anyone who likes old books. Sometimes they're stories, sometimes they're not. Most of the authors write in English; and sometimes they don't. But all the books I talk about, I really really like. I hope you will too.
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My name is Kate Macdonald: I'm an English lecturer, and a lifelong browser in second-hand bookshops. I post weekly ten-minute podcasts on a Friday, on the books I really like which I think deserve new readers. You can find out lots more at the Facebook page here, and get these podcasts weekly by subscribing on the iTunes link above.

The music for the podcast intro is by The Tribe Band. Lucy Marsh did the drawing and Matthias Opsomer lettered it. Patrick Belk and Martin Fowler hold my tech safety net.

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Questions? Send me a message by mailing me at kate [dot] brussels [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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Imagine a planet where men simply die, they can't live there, and so its society is composed entirely of women. They have children, they trade, they try and kill each other, they're surviving. What happens when a Company ship lands security staff and militarised colonists to try and take over this agricultural world barely out of the Iron Age? Nicola Griffith's Ammonite: for readers who take their anthropology seriously.

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Deep in space, women and men are equal. Elizabeth Moon's Once A Hero isn't about women and men at all, but about soldiers and treachery, leadership and command, truth and lies. Esmay Suiza rides horses reluctantly because she'd much rather be safe in space, where she belongs. For readers who just want a great space navy novel that happens to be saturated in feminism.

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In a post-nuclear holocaust world, how does science get transmitted? Who understands medicine? How do societies adapt and learn from each other? Vonda McIntyre's marvellous novel Dreamsnake about doctors and patients hardly mentions the gender thing, because equality is a given. For readers who like their utopias dystopic.

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If you can't walk, see, move or breathe unaided, you can still fly through the galaxies as a brain ship, encased in titanium, and totally in charge of your own environment, serving the sentient world in intergalactic transport. You can be a hospital ship, a charter flight for actors, and a transporter of 30,000 babies in embryo. Anne McCaffrey's The Ship Who Sang is a pre-feminist novel about why women in space need never be confined except by their own bodies. For those who really want to fly.

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What trouble can lichen cause? If it gives you longer life, and only some people can afford it, that's a lot of trouble. And when the people who've been given the longer life first are women, how are the others going to feel? Why should women have more life? What will they do with it? How will society change? John Wyndham's great novel Trouble with Lichen from 1960 is a classic work of British science fiction from a master story-teller, one of his best, and most far-seeing, because this future is still ahead of us.

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