alias_sqbr: (bookdragon)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
This is a 90s cyberpunk novel about a lesbian water engineer, it's well written if a bit dry and I enjoyed it, but there is a lot of rape-y stuff that happens on and off screen and some related unfortunate implications (see below)

It is definitely the best example I can think of of a genre novel with a protagonist who is believably mogai/lgbt but whose story has nothing to do with their sexuality. It has some nice, not too heavy handed commentary on corporations and copyright, too, and the non linear structure gives us layered picture of life at the top, bottom, and near bottom of society. I have no idea if the water treatment science is right but it felt realistic. It's a bit grungy but has a basic compassion and optimism at it's core.

My main problems were (a)all the really squicky sex (b)I could see some of the cracks in the plotting (c) I guessed some twists so early I didn't realise they were twists, and so felt a bit deflated when I realised THAT was what we'd been building towards all book.

Finally, there was a subtext I hate in fiction which will probably hit some people with rape triggers super hard. Under a cut for spoilers.

So a theme is that we all get beat up by life, some so much it's almost impossibe to get back up again, but it's our responsibility where we go from there. Which isn't so bad in principle, but LITERALLY everyone who is shown giving up on life and/or passing on their pain to others is shown or implied to have had something ~break them~ as a child, generally sexual abuse. And vice versa. Just...ew.

Date: 2014-06-27 10:55 pm (UTC)
lizbee: (Games: Chell (file))
From: [personal profile] lizbee
Oooh, that was on my list. I'm glad you posted this! (I finished Hild a few weeks ago, and I guess between that and this, Nicola Griffith is just Not For Me?)

Date: 2014-06-28 06:53 am (UTC)
lizbee: Korra smiling, her face at three-quarter view (LoK: Korra's firebending test)
From: [personal profile] lizbee
Oh, I haven't reviewed it, except as a series of rants at [personal profile] yiduiqie. It was an interesting book, and I couldn't put it down in places, but it left an odd feeling in my mouth. Especially the ending, which I think was intended to be happy. (Spoilers on request.)

Date: 2014-07-06 06:44 am (UTC)
lizbee: Tom Baker and Mary Tamm lean against each other, half-smiles on their faces, their heads close together. (DW: Four and Romana (hugging))
From: [personal profile] lizbee
Okay, well, it's made quite clear that Hild is bisexual, but her primary emotional relationship is with her BFF, who is also her unacknowledged half-brother. (She eventually works this out, he never does.) So she has relationships with women, but they're mostly about the brother -- she even seeks out one of his former lovers for sex -- and at the end of the book, they're married. Which is politically dangerous (people close to the king have probably guessed they're relatives, though the king himself is unaware) but mostly it comes across as Hild getting her happy ending. Which I found quite problematic, given that from her brother's perspective, it's surprise!incest. And frankly, he's a jerk, and wasn't worth chucking aside more interesting women.

Date: 2014-06-29 03:27 am (UTC)
transcendancing: Darren Hayes quote "Life is for leading, for not people pleasing" (Default)
From: [personal profile] transcendancing
I really love Griffiths' writing style, and I found 'Cold River' difficult going too, but also liked parts of it very much. My favourite book of hers (of the 2 now that I've read, but this book became an instant favourite) was 'Ammonite', not sure if it would be your thing, but I did review it on Good Reads if you're interested, and ping me if you wanted to talk further about it.

Date: 2014-07-01 01:46 pm (UTC)
transcendancing: Darren Hayes quote "Life is for leading, for not people pleasing" (Default)
From: [personal profile] transcendancing
Ammonite is more speculative, and more far reaching and it's primarily the story of a woman about herself.

Date: 2014-07-06 08:55 am (UTC)
transcendancing: Darren Hayes quote "Life is for leading, for not people pleasing" (Default)
From: [personal profile] transcendancing
Very much looking forward to hearing how you find it and if it's your cup of tea or not.

Date: 2014-06-29 03:24 pm (UTC)
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
From: [personal profile] sanguinity
I came out of Slow River feeling like I *ought* to like it more than I did. In the plus column, reasons you say: lesbians, and while I wasn't that kind of engineer, I did have some oversight of our wastewater treatment processes, and as you say, that *felt* right. And these are very significant reasons for me to like a book!

And yet, I never really got to the point of liking it, except in a vague, "oo, more engineering!" sort of way. Couldn't say why at the time (not that I tried particularly hard), but if *that* is what was going on as major themes... eh.

Date: 2014-07-01 10:19 pm (UTC)
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
From: [personal profile] sanguinity
And those of us reading your book-blogging appreciate your precision, too, for similar reasons. :-)

(Not that I expect your book-blogging to encompass any and all things that I'd want to know about! But they provide useful info that can be difficult to come by.)

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