Or what you will

Jo Walton

Book - 2020

"He has been too many things to count. He has been a dragon with a boy on his back. He has been a scholar, a warrior, a lover, and a thief. He has been dream and dreamer. He has been a god. But "he" is in fact nothing more than a spark of idea, a character in the mind of Sylvia Harrison, 73, award-winning author of thirty novels over forty years. He has played a part in most of those novels, and in the recesses of her mind, Sylvia has conversed with him for years. But Sylvia won&#...039;t live forever, any more than any human does. And he's trapped inside her cave of bone, her hollow of skull. When she dies, so will he. Now Sylvia is starting a new novel, a fantasy for adult readers, set in Thalia, the Florence-resembling imaginary city that was the setting for a successful YA trilogy she published decades before. Of course he's got a part in it. But he also has a notion. He thinks he knows how he and Sylvia can step off the wheel of mortality altogether. All he has to do is convince her."--

Saved in:

1st Floor Show me where

SCIENCE FICTION/Walton Jo
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor SCIENCE FICTION/Walton Jo Checked In
Subjects
Genres
Fantasy fiction
Published
New York, NY : Tor 2020.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
"A novel"--Jacket.
"A Tom Doherty Associates Book."
Physical Description
320 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781250308993
1250308992
Main Author
Jo Walton (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

This is a story told by a nameless figment, an imaginary friend, a muse. He lives bound in the skull of aging author Sylvia Harrison, who is visiting Florence (which Walton refers to in the Italian, Firenze) and revisiting her story about a fictional city called Thalia. She is facing her own impending mortality; her muse wants to survive. Thalia is modeled on Renaissance Firenze, though it lacks Brunelleschi's innovative dome, and death there is voluntary. Thalia has its own peculiar politics, with an entertaining entanglement of characters from Shakespeare and history, and when the narrator sets his plan in motion, there are ripples that will disturb the long, comfortable rut of an immortal city of artisans. It is interesting to see this approach to the consequences of immortality and what it means to the creation of art to have stopped death by stopping progress. Meanwhile, Sylvia's situation is much more individual, focused on her own current experience. Fans of Walton's (Lent, 2019) style will be overjoyed with her storytelling here. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In Queen of Storms, the second in the "Firemane Saga," Hatushaly and young wife Hava restore the fire-blackened Three Stars in trade-rich Beran's Hill, but they aren't the cheerful innkeepers they appear to be (100,000-copy first printing). A young woman in small-town Queensland, Australia, undertakes a gothic journey after hearing from her long-gone brother, thus launching Hugo- and World Fantasy-nominated illustrator Jennings's buzzing debut novel, Flyaway. In The Relentless Moon, sequel to Kowal's Hugo, Locus, and Nebula-Award winning The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, the moon is being colonized even as a meteor strike brings climate crisis to Earth. Originally scheduled for October 2019, Malerman's Malorie reveals what happens to the title character eight years after events in Bird Box, basis of the Netflix mega-hit. The perennial best-selling Modesitt's Quantum Shadows is set in a place called Heaven, where humankind's major religions each have their own land and places of worship are being scarily marked with inscrutable black images. With his stories already nominated for Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy honors, debut novelist Rosenbaum (The Ant King and Other Stories) returns with The Unraveling, which dreams up a far-future, distant-galaxy, rigidly structured society where individuals have multiple bodies and staid-gendered Fift and bail-gendered bioengineer Shria wind up in the midst of an eyebrow-raising art spectacle. Salvatore's Relentless closes his "Generations" trilogy with Zaknafein reunited with son Drizzt Do'Urden and reconciled to life's unpredictability (100,000-copy first printing). In multi-award-winning Walton's intriguing-sounding Or What You Will, a character who's been a dragon, lover, scholar, warrior, and thief in the many books penned by Sylvia Harrison knows that the 73-year-old author won't be around much longer and is trying to figure out how the two of them can escape into immortality. Born in England to South American parents and raised in Africa near the historical territory of his Xhosa ancestors, Winter draws on his background to light The Fires of Vengeance, second in "The Burning" series, wherein a queen who has lost her throne joins with a young warrior in a battle to regain it (75,000-copy first printing). Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Hugo and Nebula Award–winner Walton (Among Others) brilliantly braids somber realism, fanciful metafiction, and Shakespearean-influenced fantasy into a moving paean to the power of storytelling. The unnamed narrator inhabits the mind of Sylvia Harrison, a successful 73-year-old Canadian author. He has appeared, in various guises, as a character in all 30 of her books­­—including a fantasy trilogy set in Illyria, a rough analogue to Renaissance Italy—but he also exists independently of her fiction, if only as a figment of her imagination. Now Sylvia travels to Florence, to draft a sequel both to her Illyria books and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Though Sylvia is loath to admit it to the narrator or even to herself, the narrator knows that she is dying. Unsure of what will happen to him if Sylvia no longer exists, he devises a plan to save them both by immortalizing them in fiction. Walton shifts effortlessly between Sylvia's life, Florentine history, and the plot unfolding in Illyria, giving equal weight to the mundane and the fantastic. The narrator's voice is spellbinding ("What am I? Figment, fakement, fragment, furious fancy-free form. I have been the spark that ignites in a cold winter"), drawing readers into a nuanced meditation on reality and fiction. This gorgeous, deeply philosophical work is a knockout. Agent: Jack Byrne, Sternig & Byrne Literary Agency. (July) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A fictional hero who has assumed the roles of gods, warriors, scholars and lovers in award-winning novels discovers that his author is dying and orchestrates a daring plan to catapult writer and character into immortality. 25,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Or What You Will is an utterly original novel about how stories are brought forth from Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning author Jo Walton. He has been too many things to count. He has been a dragon with a boy on his back. He has been a scholar, a warrior, a lover, and a thief. He has been dream and dreamer. He has been a god. But “he” is in fact nothing more than a spark of idea, a character in the mind of Sylvia Harrison, 73, award-winning author of thirty novels over forty years. He has played a part in most of those novels, and in the recesses of her mind, Sylvia has conversed with him for years. But Sylvia won't live forever, any more than any human does. And he's trapped inside her cave of bone, her hollow of skull. When she dies, so will he.Now Sylvia is starting a new novel, a fantasy for adult readers, set in Thalia, the Florence-resembling imaginary city that was the setting for a successful YA trilogy she published decades before. Of course he's got a part in it. But he also has a notion. He thinks he knows how he and Sylvia can step off the wheel of mortality altogether. All he has to do is convince her.