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Author Topic: Pagan fiction  (Read 11678 times)
Juniper
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« Topic Start: June 20, 2008, 08:06:52 pm »

I would say the closest I have gotten to 'pagan fiction' is the Avalon trilogy by Marion Zimmer Bradley (which I absolutely loved). Historial fiction is my favourite genre. Philippa Gregory, Anya Seton and Jean Plaidy are the three authors I have the most regard for.

But I had a recommendation on my Amazon account of a book called Confessions of a Pagan nun by Kate Horsley, and the synopsis sounds fantastic so I put it in my cart. It's about one of St Bridget's nuns in Kildare.

So I decided to search for other books grouped with this one, and have found a few books by Elizabeth Cunningham that sound rather interesting. I'm going to give one a try and see what I think.

Anyway, I was wondering; do any of you read pagan fiction?
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« Reply #1: June 20, 2008, 08:45:39 pm »

But I had a recommendation on my Amazon account of a book called Confessions of a Pagan nun by Kate Horsley, and the synopsis sounds fantastic so I put it in my cart. It's about one of St Bridget's nuns in Kildare.

I absolutely hated this book. It's really short and the prose is just terrible.

I've never really made the distinction between my fiction, really. I've always enjoyed the Juniper trilogy by Monica Furlong (it's pretty short, as it's in the Young Adult section, but it's really well done), and I liked The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea. Also, the Sevenwaters trilogy by Juliet Marillier is very good.
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« Reply #2: June 21, 2008, 01:54:01 am »

Anyway, I was wondering; do any of you read pagan fiction?

Well, there's always Morrigan's Cross, by Nora Roberts, which is about Morrigan charging a circle of six to fight against Lilith and her vampire army. So this one guy time travels to present day New York to form said circle. Where he meets his vampire brother.

I really wish I was kidding.

I was walking in Borders one day, chatting with Morrigan ("Do you really need more Pagan-ish books? No! Turn around and go look at science fiction with your boyfriend. All Borders has is crap anyway," was pretty much how it went, with me going "I'm just going to look, no harm ever came in looking," thinking furtively of a few certain Greek myths where a lot of harm did come from looking), and I passed the Romance section on my way to the New-Age section.

And saw m'Lady's name. On a book. By Nora Roberts.

Silence befell us. I reached to pick it up. "No," said Morrigan, a hint of barely-suppressed mirth in Her voice, "Don't. You'll regret it." I did anyway. I read the back.

And then both myself and m'Lady ROTFLOL in Borders, hysterically. When Travis found me laughing, all I had to do was point at the book, and he made that "Oh. Oh I see," comment he makes when I need to explain no further. Which was just as well; I was incoherent with mirth. And then he dragged me away before security did.


Ok, so that's not really Pagan fiction. It's "Paranormal adventure romance". (Or maybe it is Pagan fiction; who knows?) And that's fine if Roberts wants to use the gods in fiction. Far be it from me to take offense. But I still find it HILARIOUS. (Anyway, who am I to judge? I read Sherrilyn Kenyon.  Roll Eyes)


In all seriousness now, I really did enjoy The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk. It's Pagan spec-fic, is how I would classify it, and a bit post-apocalyptic, which is one of my favorite subgenres of spec fic. (And I see there's a prequel out, Walking to Mercury, which I have not yet read.)

And then there's the Kushiel series, by Jacqueline Carey, which I guess isn't Pagan so much as AU historical fantasy, but there's an interesting blend of Pagan and Christian elements woven artfully throughout the story.

The Moon Under Her Feet by Clysta Kinstler is an interesting bit of historical fiction/fantasy that depicts Mary Magdalene as a High Priestess in the temple of Isis. Quite well written; I enjoyed it quite a bit.


So I guess the answer to your question is yes, though sometimes it's very hard to tell the difference between Pagan fiction and Fantasy.
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« Reply #3: June 21, 2008, 09:43:08 am »

Anyway, I was wondering; do any of you read pagan fiction?

Yep. As with Pagan music, I make a significant distinction between 'Written with explictly Pagan themes/questions/etc. by people in the Pagan community' and 'Stuff that makes me think about religious stuff or see something in a new light, but is not explictly modern Pagan'

First category:
- An anthology called _Words of the Witches_ which is a collection of short stories. (I like short story anthologies anyway: I find the themed ones often get me thinking in interesting ways, but this one is focused on modern Pagan type settings.

- Rosemary Edghill's _Bell, book and Murder_ - a three-volume in one of the Bast mystery stories. (Bast is a Gardnerian priestess in New York City. The murder mystery parts are exaggerated, but they're a riot in terms of the supporting characters/community situations, etc. and actually raise a lot of good questions about community. There's also a number of short stories about Bast out there.)

- The M.R. Sellars mystery series: Rowan Gant. I haven't read all of them, and again, the mystery parts are exaggerated situations, but a lot of the surrounding material is nifty.

(The latter two are more Wiccan-focused than other things: the first one has a couple of recon-centric stories, and several that hit other path choices. There are probably others, but those are the ones I'm spotting on the shelves right now.)

Then there's the Pagan friendly ones:

Diane Duane's _So you want to be a wizard_ series, the second of which (_Deep Wizardry_) is really high on my 'top books someone should read about initiatory paths'

Pamela Dean's _Tam Lin_

Emma Bull's _War for the Oaks_

Various Marion Zimmer Bradley (She's got an explicitly esoteric series: Ghostlight, Hearthlight, etc. Also, I like _The Firebrand_ rather a lot.)

Charles de Lint

Katherine Kurtz - both her Deryni series and her Adept series. Neither are Pagan, but both are very magical in focus.
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« Reply #4: June 21, 2008, 02:36:40 pm »

Anyway, I was wondering; do any of you read pagan fiction?

I guess the closest thing I ever read would be The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, although based on a Biblical figure (Dinah) the author does the most amazing job of describing ancient times and blending Pagan beliefs into her story.  There was really nothing "Christian" about the book (being a pre-Christianity story) although there are of course ancient cultural elements of Judaism. This is one book I always highly recommend (and I am picky).

I do dearly love anything by Amy Tan, although these are contemporatry stories, she often refers to ancient Chinese Gods and the past life (or sometimes switched life) experiences of various characters.
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« Reply #5: June 21, 2008, 04:52:04 pm »

I would say the closest I have gotten to 'pagan fiction' is the Avalon trilogy by Marion Zimmer Bradley (which I absolutely loved). Historial fiction is my favourite genre. Philippa Gregory, Anya Seton and Jean Plaidy are the three authors I have the most regard for.

But I had a recommendation on my Amazon account of a book called Confessions of a Pagan nun by Kate Horsley, and the synopsis sounds fantastic so I put it in my cart. It's about one of St Bridget's nuns in Kildare.

So I decided to search for other books grouped with this one, and have found a few books by Elizabeth Cunningham that sound rather interesting. I'm going to give one a try and see what I think.

Anyway, I was wondering; do any of you read pagan fiction?

I don't read much in the way of fantasy novels lately, but some friends of mine really like Starhawk's fiction.  And Monica Furlong's youn adult fiction, Juniper and Wise Child is awesome. And if you go in for mid-20th century Brit lit, Dion Fortune is a blast. I read Sea Priestess last year, and really liked it a lot.
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« Reply #6: June 21, 2008, 07:19:55 pm »


But I had a recommendation on my Amazon account of a book called Confessions of a Pagan nun by Kate Horsley, and the synopsis sounds fantastic so I put it in my cart. It's about one of St Bridget's nuns in Kildare.

Now I liked Confessions of a Pagan Nun, I thought it was evocative and charming and hated The Moon Under Her Feet . Horrible history and convoluted plot, it made my head hurt. Go figure lol.

Loved The Red Tent, even though it has a quasi biblical premise it's just fabulous story telling.

The books by Monica Furlong, Wise Child and Juniper are
great. There's also a third one called Colman, I haven't read that one yet though.

Terry Pratchett's books are mostly pagan oriented. The witch books in particular skewer the new age witchy folk so thoroughly.

There are a couple of books set during the Puritan age. One takes place in England called The Minister's Daughter in the US and The Merrybegot in the UK by Julie Hearn. The other is set in early America called Witch Child by Celia Rees.

They both have similar themes of the old way vs. the new. They're fun reads but the history is floppy at best so have some salt handy.

Chocolat, the book is very pagan and there's a sequal Lollipop Shoes, that I need to get my hands on some day.

Practical Magic, an old standby.

The Fox Woman and Fudoki by Kij Johnson blends Japanese fairytale with Shintoism in a historical medieval Japan. I thought they were both lovely.

I also liked Anvil of the World by Kage Baker. It's set in an alternate reality but is paganish and cool, nonetheless.

Hmm...I'll think on it some more, it feels like there's more in there tickling my brain.
 
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« Reply #7: June 21, 2008, 07:29:47 pm »

Hmm...I'll think on it some more, it feels like there's more in there tickling my brain.

This one just popped up, lol

An off the wall recommendation but Lucy Maude Montgomery's Emily of New Moon is very interesting under the surface.
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« Reply #8: June 21, 2008, 08:46:27 pm »

Chocolat, the book is very pagan and there's a sequal Lollipop Shoes, that I need to get my hands on some day.


Interesting. I just checked out a sequel to Chocolat yesterday that's a new book by a different name...The Girl With No Shadow.

I wonder if there are two books or one book with two names. Ah...yes. In the UK it's the Lollipop title and in the US it's the Shadow title.
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« Reply #9: June 21, 2008, 08:54:29 pm »

Interesting. I just checked out a sequel to Chocolat yesterday that's a new book by a different name...The Girl With No Shadow.

I wonder if there are two books or one book with two names. Ah...yes. In the UK it's the Lollipop title and in the US it's the Shadow title.

I wish they would stop doing that.
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« Reply #10: June 21, 2008, 09:41:10 pm »

I wish they would stop doing that.

LAUGH...at least you'll know what book to look for. I'm looking forward to this. I never read Chocolat, but I adored the movie.
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« Reply #11: June 21, 2008, 10:37:35 pm »

LAUGH...at least you'll know what book to look for. I'm looking forward to this. I never read Chocolat, but I adored the movie.

I liked the movie too but I recommend reading the book. There are some significant differences between the book and the movie. The book is set in the present day and there's no Aztec chocolate princess mom. There is a mystery involving her mother though Smiley

That may or may not effect how the sequel reads.

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« Reply #12: June 22, 2008, 10:32:20 am »

I liked the movie too but I recommend reading the book. There are some significant differences between the book and the movie. The book is set in the present day and there's no Aztec chocolate princess mom. There is a mystery involving her mother though Smiley

That may or may not effect how the sequel reads.



Sounds like I might need to read it, then. I'm hoping I can read it after this one (since I saw the movie) because I nabbed it from the library before a bunch of people queued up to request it. If I turn it in before reading it, it will be a long time before I can get it again.
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« Reply #13: June 22, 2008, 11:25:48 am »

I wonder if there are two books or one book with two names. Ah...yes. In the UK it's the Lollipop title and in the US it's the Shadow title.

I absolutely HATE that. Three times I have been caught out by that. I've picked up a book at Barnes and Noble and haven't seen the title before. I've even read the synopsis, and that's completely different too. So I've bought it. A couple of pages in and I'm thinking...I remember this...
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« Reply #14: June 22, 2008, 02:11:38 pm »

I absolutely hated this book. It's really short and the prose is just terrible.

I didn't hate it, but I honestly didn't understand the hype.  It was slow, repetitive, and stilted in an obvious way.  But as you mentioned, it was at least blessedly short.  Wink

Brina
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