Writing women into The Wind in the Willows revitalises the canon

Making imaginative room for another sex in this much-loved classic opened up its world to me

I grew up in a very small town in Iowa in the 60s, where the library was a single, graceful room with a golden oak circulation desk, which overlooked everything but a lone bookcase packed with the complete American Heritage backlist. Books were divided into children’s, mysteries, science fiction, romance, biography, science, nonfiction (we didn’t have rarefied arcana like history or current events). “New Acquisitions” were whatever had been dropped off recently: old Agatha Christies, accidentally ordered Book of the Month Club selections, agricultural yearbooks from the 1950s.

I read them all. Once I finished the children’s section, I started at the upper left-hand corner of the first bookcase (mysteries), and proceeded methodically. This made for some highly age-inappropriate choices, as when I waded through the Decameron aged 10. I read everything the same ...

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson

< p class="frontmatter">Professor Vellitt Boe teaches at the prestigious Ulthar Women’s College, in the heart of the Dreamlands. When one of her most gifted students elopes with a dreamer from the waking world, Vellitt must retrieve her.

But the journey sends her across a world ruled by capricious gods and populated by the creatures of dreams and nightmares—and into her own mysterious past, where some secrets were never meant to surface…

Kij Johnson’s The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe is both a commentary on a classic H.P. Lovecraft tale and a profound reflection on a woman’s life—available August 16th from Tor.com Publishing. Read an excerpt below, and get an in-depth look at the mapping of the Dreamlands from artist Serena Malyon.

      Vellitt Boe was dreaming of a highway and ten million birds in an empty sky of featureless blue. The highway, broad and black as a tar pit. ...