Betwixt and Between: A Review of Within Without, by Jeff Noon

The crossing of a border is a sacred act, a transgression representing a metamorphosis from one state to another.  To most, borders represent the barriers between nations, or states, the crossing between one civilization and another.  But there are many more borders in our everyday lives.  The crossing of the threshold from within your home to without it.  The crossing from a street to inside an apartment building to inside a singular apartment, and in reverse.  But most borders are not physical objects, until we bring them into being.  Without a human mind, there are no borders anywhere.  One world stretches and encompasses everything.  It is us who gives borders their significance and power.  Borders are not just for people either, but ideas.  There are borders of the mind that welcome you across, and borders that bar your entry.  Thoughts come to us unbidden across closed borders, but so too much mental borders be crossed in order to grow and learn.

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Suneater: A Review of Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse

Epics are a form of literature as old as storytelling itself and continues to be just as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago when The Epic of Gilgamesh was first told.  Every culture has its own tales, passed down from generation to generation, and literature has continued to keep this particular genre relevant.  Even today, modern authors still write epic fiction, even if the format has changed from poetry to prose.  No one could look at The Lord of the Rings trilogy or A Song of Ice and Fire as anything other than modern epic stories, but those are far from the only ones.  All epics share a few common characteristics.  An epic will feature multiple main characters, each on their own important journey.  Sometimes this journey will take them across several locales, other times the journey will not a physical one.  Magic may play a part, but it is usually rare and, when it does appear, can be exceedingly powerful.  Often, the stakes will threaten the world, but the characters growth is just as important to the story as the plot.

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