BooksOfTheMoon

Travel Light

By Naomi Mitchison

Rating: 4 stars

Baby Halla’s stepmother, the new queen, wants her gotten rid of. Her nurse takes a bear’s form and escapes to the forest with her, where young Halla is first raised by bears and later by dragons. When she loses her dragon benefactor she must choose between dragon-ish hoarding and travelling light. She makes her choice and travels to human lands where she has many adventures.

I’ve not read much Naomi Mitchison, although I very much enjoyed her Memoirs of a Spacewoman. This is a very different book, but it has the same somewhat gentle, and slow-paced feel to it. I enjoyed it quite a lot reading it now, I think I would have enjoyed it more reading it in my youth, and I think I would enjoy it even more if I were a young woman.

Despite the suggested interference in her fate by the Norns and by the All-Father, Halla is still a spirited young woman who is active in controlling her own life. This is a lovely, if short, fantasy novel, with an active female protagonist that deserves to be better-known.

Book details

ISBN: 9781931520140
Publisher: Peapod Classics
Year of publication: 2005

Memoirs of a Spacewoman

By Naomi Mitchison

Rating: 4 stars

I very much enjoyed this book but find it difficult to describe. It is written as exactly what it says on the tin. A space explorer by the name of Mary is writing a record of her adventures. Set at some point in the undefined future, the heroine is a scientist, explorer and “communications expert” who explores and establishes communication with alien species. It’s never stated what “communication” is, although it’s clearly not just language, and it’s suggested that some form of telepathy is involved.

This is very much the antithesis of gung-ho SF of the Heinlein/Doc Smith variety. It’s thoughtful, with no up-front conflict, more concerned with the ethical concerns of exploring space and the problems of communication. Despite, or perhaps because of this, I found it compelling reading.

Book details

ISBN: 9780704339705
Publisher: The Women's Press Ltd
Year of publication: 1962

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