The 2004 edition (A Marian Wood Book published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons) has on the cover a sketch of six different chairs in arranged in a semicircle. The same drawing is reproduced on the title page and each of the chapters has one of the set of chairs as an emblem. This piece of design work has of course a corresponding moment in the The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler: the host of one of the sessions of the book club has an insufficient number of matching chairs. It also happens (and the pictures cannot convey this) that the host of that particular session is the male member of the group and is a fan of science fiction. Here then is the picture that admirably shows the diversity of the group and their intent common purpose.
A little spoiler: by the end of the novel, the male character captures the attention of one of the other members of the group (in a reversal similar to that of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice) and they converse about, of course, science fiction.
Jocelyn turned directly to Grigg. “I read those two Le Guins you gave me. In fact, I bought a third. I’m halfway through Searoad. She’s just amazing. It’s been forever since I found a new writer I love like that.”
Grigg blinked several times. “Le Guin’s in a league of her own, of course,” he said cautiously. He gained enthusiasm. “But she’s written a bunch. And there are other writers you might like, too. There’s Joanna Russ and Carol Emshwiller.”
My own initiation into the novels of Jane Austen went by way of P.D. James, Death Comes to Pemberley (which, by the way, was also the first novel by James that I read). And I have been reading science fiction for years.
And so for day 857