The Next Chapter

Candy Palmater shares her 3 favourite sci-fi & fantasy books

The comedian and media personality reviews The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, The Devil's Cure by Kenneth Oppel and The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab.
Candy Palmater is a Canadian comedian, broadcaster and avid reader. (Submitted by Candy Palmater)

Candy Palmater loves a good book — especially a sci-fi and fantasy novel.

The comedian, broadcaster and columnist spoke with Shelagh Rogers about three sci-fi and fantasy novels: The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, The Devil's Cure by Kenneth Oppel and The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab.

The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares

The Invention of Morel is a novel by Adolfo Bioy Casares. (NYRB Classics)

"It's a 1940 novella and the famous Argentine writer, Jorge Luis Borges said it was the perfect novel. It is so unbelievably relevant to the moment we're living in right now. 

"It basically is the story of this fugitive from Caracas, Venezuela, who escapes to a tropical island. He is very paranoid. He believes the police or some authority is after him. The only thing on this island besides him is a museum, a swimming pool and a chapel. So he's on the run. He's paranoid. Then suddenly out of nowhere, all these people show up on the island.  A big party is happening. One of those people keeps walking down to the beach.

It is so unbelievably relevant to the moment we're living in right now.

"She's a beautiful woman named Faustine. He starts watching this woman and he falls in love with her. He decides he's going to get up the nerve to approach her. When he approaches her and he tries to talk to her, she can't hear him. She can't seem to realize that he's there. This is where the sci-fi comes in.

"We figure out after all this beautiful world is set up, all those people are pictures. They're not real, but they're pictures that were taken kind of ahead of this whole group. The head of the whole party is a guy named Moral who has invented some kind of a machine that takes very complicated pictures. He had invited all those people to the island for a whole week, recorded all their movements and their images. Now that recording was on replay that same week replay over and over into infinity. 

"It's very meta."

The Devil's Cure by Kenneth Oppel

The Devil's Cure is a novel by Kenneth Oppel. (Hachette, Mark Raynes Roberts)

"I loved this book. It's got everything that turns me on. It's got investigation, crime, psychopathic minds — and one of my favourite subjects, cults. 

"It's basically a story of a woman named Dr. Laura Donaldson. She's one of the leading experts in the world on cancer research and she discovers what she thinks is the cure for cancer. It's in the bloodstream of a man, but that man is a serial killer who's on death row and is about to be executed in a couple of days. She is desperately trying to get his blood before they kill him. She's trying to actually stop them from killing him. 

It's got investigation, crime, psychopathic minds — and one of my favourite subjects, cults.

"Then there's another excellent twist — the serial killer is a religious nut who is a former cult leader and who believes that medicine is the work of the devil and that if people are meant to be cured, God would do it. She's trying to get the blood. He's trying to keep his blood. And he escapes from prison. 

"It's this race to see who's going to win — and there's this struggle between science and religion."

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is a novel by V.E. Schwab. (Tor Books, veschwab.com)

"Addie LaRue is a woman who's wandering the Earth as an immortal, but nobody will ever remember her. This young woman is from France. It's 1714. She's an only child. She's kind of a tomboy. She's got an adventurous spirit and they're marrying her off. It's her wedding day and she feels like it might as well be her execution. She does not want to be married, so she makes this wish. And, of course, this character named Luke shows up and grants her wish. But he says to her, in exchange for this, when you do die, I am going to want your soul. 

Addie LaRue is a woman who's wandering the Earth as an immortal, but nobody will ever remember her.

"The twist is nobody remembers who she is. If you met her, say you run into her in a coffee shop. You talk to her and as soon as you walk through a doorway and come back in, you have no memory of her. She can't establish relationships and her parents don't know who she is.

"The theme through this is be careful what you wish for."

Candy Palmater's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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