Friday, February 27, 2015

Auston Habershaw

On the day Auston Habershaw was born, Skylab fell from the heavens. This foretold two possible fates: supervillain or scifi/fantasy author. Fortunately he chose the latter, and spends his time imagining the could-be and the never-was rather than disintegrating the moon with his volcano laser. He lives and works in Boston, MA.

Habershaw's new novel is The Iron Ring: Part I of the Saga of the Redeemed.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
So, my reading life is a complicated one. As a literature professor and a fantasy author, my reading time is split between three things: my love (fantasy and science fiction), my work (literary fiction), and my curse (student writing). In any given semester, I need to read between 6 and 12 novels for my classes and grade an additional 2400 pages or so of student writing. After that, I can squeeze in whatever reading for pleasure I can get. Because of this, my reading for pleasure list is way, waaaay longer than I have time for, unfortunately.

Nevertheless, here’s what I’m reading now:

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

This is a classic of hard-boiled detective fiction from the 1930s—one of the seminal works of the genre. I’m currently teaching it in my Modern American Writers class. If you haven’t read Chandler, you really should (even if you don’t care for detective fiction). What you’re learning here is style. Chandler’s voice is so unmistakable that it’s almost a cliché, but back then it wasn’t. Back then it was new, edgy, and very abrupt. The images stick to your ribs and the people are hard and dark and grim. It’s a perfectly realized, perfectly spare world.

Favorite Line: “Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.”

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

This is my most recent pleasure-reading foray. This is a wonderful fantasy novel by an acknowledged master of the genre. Bujold creates a vivid fantasy world with overtones of 15th century Spain and implements an engaging and deeply interesting religion that colors and affects everything in the world. The main character, Cazaril, is brilliantly drawn and quite unique; I loved nearly every minute of this book and, if you care for fantasy or for theology at all, you should too.

Favorite Line: “So you’re saying that I could die at any moment!” “Yes. And this is different from your life yesterday in what way?”

Starship Troopers by Robert A Heinlein

As you can see, I have a tendency to read the classics over the current. This is a classic, too—the basis for pretty much all modern military science fiction and a must read for fans of the genre. I teach this book every year for my Technology in Literature course, wherein we analyze this piece both for its vision of futuristic warfare (from the perspective of a writer living in 1959) and for its interesting social structure—a militocracy billed as a meritocracy yet with fascist overtones. A fascinating, if somewhat controversial, work that I highly recommend.

Favorite Line: The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion…and the price demanded for the most precious of all things in life is life itself—the ultimate cost for perfect value.
Visit Auston Habershaw's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Iron Ring.

--Marshal Zeringue