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Blood Oranges
By Caitlin R. Kiernan writing as Kathleen Tierney

Discussed April 2015

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  1. Did you like the book?
  2. Have you read other books by Caitlin Kiernan (other than the other two in this series)? Is this one similar? Different? Better? Worse? Does it “feel” like a Kiernan book?
  3. How well does the blending of werewolves and vampires work in this magic system? Does the overall magic system work well?
  4. Does it feel like Caitlin’s background as a vertebrate paleontologist influences her paranormal biology?
  5. In interviews, Caitlin describes this book as a parody of a romantic urban fantasy? Does it read as a parody to you?
  6. If you’ve read urban fantasy from the 90’s, you might remember several grittier vampires, such as the Sonja Blue series by Nancy Collins, keeping those books in mind, is this a parody, “retro,” or a period piece? Note, Kiernan does not consider Holly Black’s Tithebooks to be romantic urban fantasy.
  7. Given its bloodiness, what genre should this book be marketed in?
  8. Although many of her books are marketed in the horror genre, in interviews, Caitlin regularly challenges the genre since she thinks “horror” is an emotion, and she tries to elicit a variety of emotion with her fiction. What emotions does this book evoke? Based on the emotions, what genre should this book be marketed as?
  9. This book is told in the first person with Siobhan Quinn narrating her own story. Does the POV work? Is she a reliable narrator? Is she a good narrator? Does the POV work?
  10. Even though she is using an open pseudonym, Caitlin still provides a biography for Kathleen at the back of the book. Why?
  11. Here is an excerpt from a 2008 Locus Magazine interview with Caitlin. Given this, what should we say about GLBT issues during this discussion?

    “The same way that I don't want to be thought of as a horror writer, I don't want to be thought of as a gay writer, or 'that transsexual writer.' In interviews it's something I shy away from addressing directly. I don't want strictly feminist critics saying, 'You have no right to be writing all these women from their point of view because you're not a real woman,' or whatever. I've never tried to keep the transgenderism a secret; I just don't put a big sign over my head. It does not define me.“

    So, as a transsexual, how can I not write about the transmutation of flesh? How can I not write about having one mind, and a body that doesn't match? So when I'm writing about parahumans in a story like 'Faces in Revolving Souls', it's partly autobiography -- writing about what I've been through. I'm never going to be comfortable in this body, for a lot of reasons, and I'm constantly drawn to the subject of transformation, in a lot of different aspects.”
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