Monday, November 05, 2007

Nobel Prize Winner Lessing

Doris Lessing is the 2007 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. What makes this remarkable is that not only does she write science fiction, but, contrary to the nudge nudge wink wink conventions of literary academe, she admits it. We could make a sad, long list of authors for whom such intellectual honesty is apparently not possible.

Lessing was born in Persia, a very long time ago. She's lived in what used to be called Rhodesia (I'm assuming they changed their name - it seems a fair assumption) for a while, and for the past almost sixty years has lived in England. (Didn't they change their name, too?)

She has a lovely way with the language, which explains why people who give awards for literature can look past her science fiction.

I'm suggesting one of two books by her for our November book. The first has this very long title: Re: Colonised Planets Shikasta Personal, psychological, historical documents relating to visit by Johor (George Sherban) Emissary (grade 9) 87th of the period of the last days.

I've already read a bit into the story. It's stylistically a bit unusual, as if Lessing wants to emphasize the alien nature of the point of view she's using. The opening scene reminds me a bit of ideas from What Dreams May Come.

The second book is called simply: Mara and Dann. Its main characters are a couple of kids, though it's not a children's book. The time is in a distant future with half of the Earth buried under miles of ice.

What do you all think?