Last month the internet realized that Lee Pace – Thranduil, Ronan the Accuser, Brother Day, a number of other close and beloved SFF characters – enjoys science fiction. In fact, he loves science fiction. He talked about it a lot. And then he tweeted the choices for his (imaginary?) sci-fi book club, which was slightly disconcerting given that he associated the books with the pictures of a Squire photo shoot in which he was (a lot) dressed in very expensive outfits. But it is certainly not a complaint. Just an observation.
Lee Pace loves science fiction, and the Internet loves Lee Pace, and I love all of those things. I also like to recommend books. So, in the spirit of all good things online, I present to you: sci-fi book club picks for some of Lee Pace’s SFF characters (and adjacent SFF).
I will cheat and choose fantasy sometimes. Just to put that aside in the front.
Aaron Tyler (Wonderland Falls, 2004)
Leah Schnelbach recommends A hymn for Leibowitz for Aaron, Jaye Tyler’s brother, which is quite fitting given that Aaron is a graduate student in Comparative Religion and also a nerd. But I haven’t read it, so I can also choose another book. I think Aaron might like to discuss Becky Chambers A psalm for the savage built, who asks a lot of questions about humans, happiness, and existence, and asks them in ways that might not show up in her doctoral studies. Aaron asks a lot of questions when he suspects that inanimate objects are talking to his sister, but maybe with the right book he could give her a little slack and realize that everyone is moving around the world. in its own way. With or without talking cow creamers.
Roy Walker / Masked Bandit (The fall, 2008)
It was the hardest choice on this list. The fall is my favorite movie, and Pace is amazing at it. It’s all lush and surprisingly imagined and symbolic and rich and so much at the same time – a film about a heartbroken stuntman, about a brave child, about the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we create for others, and on how our stories overlap and connect. (And much more.) In the end, there is only one book for Roy: that of Catherynne M. Valente Sparkle, which talks about movies and mysteries and stories and family, and, like The fall, can sometimes seem like a beautiful secret that not many people know.
Ned (Push the daisies, 2007-2009)
I’m very protective of Ned and also he’s always a little sad even when he doesn’t act like that, and I just think he might appreciate the inventiveness, the loneliness and the meta of Charles Yu How to Live Safely in a Sci-Fi Universe. Not just because Ned and Chuck have to do a lot of homework to be safe in their own world; and not just because the main character has a dog, but not really, and problems with his father; but partly because of these things, and partly because it’s pretty and sweetly smart and touching and I just think Ned would like it. It is the story of a particular life, but also like any other life. Kind of like Ned’s own story.
Garrett (Dawn part 2, 2012)
Somehow I never watched the final dusk film, which is a terrible oversight on my part as Dawn part 1 was a delight off the rails. Watching screenshots of the character of Lee Pace in this film is also quite a pleasure; he looks a bit like a ragged elf-vampire who doesn’t really know how he got here, wherever “here” is. He wears leather vests and velvet blazers, but not at the same time. Garrett’s vampire book group set to settle in with a drink of hot blood and the vampire romance that made me love vampire novels again: Holly Black’s The coldest girl in Coldtown. Everyone knows vampires in Black’s world, but that doesn’t really make it any easier for them, or the teenage girl who wakes up in a house full of bodies with only an ex-boyfriend and a vampire for company.
Thranduil (The Hobbit films, 2012-2014)
Elves … do they read? Thranduil is extremely fantastic, incredibly well dressed, and inclined to ride around on a moose (which was apparently, in the movie, played by a horse called Moose). But does he read books? Scrolls? Old tomes? Would he make someone read To him, making all the voices as required by a given book? I just can’t see him relax his shoulders enough to lean over the book in his lap. But if he wanted – if he considered removing that crown and sitting in a more comfortable chair (albeit still in a fabulous dress, of course) – he would have to read Nalo Hopkinson’s book. Midnight thief, the story of a girl named Tan Tan who is sent to a prison planet with her terrible father. This book was a game changer for me and honestly I think every book group should read it, but if Thranduil needs a specific reason he should know that Tan Tan is finding a new home among the people who live in the trees. He loves trees, right?
Ronan the accuser (guardians of the galaxy & other Marvel movies, 2014-eternity)
This guy definitely doesn’t read. You can’t force Ronan to join a book club. He would kill you just for suggesting it.
Having said that, he might appreciate Gideon Ninth. The is a lot of inventive death.
(Please don’t judge me comic book people. I’m only talking about the movie Ronan here.)
Joe MacMillan (Stop and catch fire, 2014-2017)
Surprisingly, I didn’t watch this show either. This is a big oversight on my part as it combines a lot of things that I really like including Lee Pace, Mackenzie Davis and being online in the 1990s. Starting only with what little I know about the show and the Pace character, I guess Joe Macmillan would probably read seminal cyberpunk exclusively, like Neuromancer and Snow accident. But because this list of recommendations does not obey any law of time or space, I would like to give it that of Nicole Kornher-Stace Firewall, so he could see what the internet might lead to, all the way down the fictitious line.
Brothers’ day (Foundation, 2021)
Every Lee Pace character – and Lee Pace himself – should read NK Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy. But I let it fall (with a heavy and painful I think, I hope) on Elder Day’s lap, who could certainly learn a few things about power, oppression, family, love, tough choices, and the amazing things the world is capable of. I also chose Jemisin’s series for Day because, being part of a long line of clones, he needs something with a huge sense of scale. He’ll see himself in all the wrong characters and probably be confused by the end, but I want him to remember that the rocks will outlast him no matter how many times he clones himself.
(Or he can read Never let Me Go and think long and hard about what he and the rest of him have done. To him. We just don’t rule around the Empire.)
Molly Templeton lives and writes in Oregon and spends as much time as possible in the woods. Sometimes she talks about books on Twitter.