Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Esther Friesner

Nebula Award winner Esther Friesner is the author of more than 30 novels and over 150 short stories, including the story “Thunderbolt” in Random House’s Young Warriors anthology, which lead to the creation of Nobody’s Princess and Nobody’s Prize. She is also the editor of seven popular anthologies. Her works have been published around the world. Educated at Vassar College and Yale University, where she taught for a number of years, Friesner is also a poet, a playwright, and once wrote an advice column, “Ask Auntie Esther.”

Her latest novel is Deception's Pawn.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Friesner's reply:
I admit it: I read comic books. It doesn't matter if they are living under assumed names like "graphic novel" or "mana," I read them. A lot. And I am always happy when I come across one that I have not met up with before that turns out to be a real winner. That proved to be the case of The Shadow Hero.

I'm familiar with the work of one of the creators, Gene Yuen Lang (though not that of the other, Sonny Liew, until now). I really enjoyed his American Born Chinese and the duology Boxers and Saints.

The Shadow Hero is the backstory created for an obscure comic book hero, the Green Turtle, who well may have been the first Chinese superhero, though the Powers That Were did all they could to downplay that. The samples of original Green Turtle issues at the back of The Shadow Hero are as racist as any of the old Bugs Bunny cartoons where he's fighting the Japanese during World War II because that's what the Green Turtle's doing, too.

There's a lot to love in The Shadow Hero but from my extremely subjective point of view two of the best things about it are the use of humor and the wonderful characterization. My favorite character is the hero's mother, hands down. She is every mother who ever believed that nothing was beyond her child's ability to achieve. She's a force of nature powered by love. Do not stand in her way! (Probably good advice when dealing with all mothers.)

Will there be a sequel? Pleeeeeease?
Learn more about the book and author at the Princesses of Myth website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Spirit's Princess.

--Marshal Zeringue