Karen Lord – THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS

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The Sadiri were once the galaxy’s ruling élite, but now their home planet has been rendered unlivable and most of the population destroyed. The few groups living on other worlds are desperately short of Sadiri women, and their extinction is all but certain.

Civil servant Grace Delarua is assigned to work with Councillor Dllenahkh, a Sadiri, on his mission to visit distant communities, looking for possible mates. Delarua is impulsive, garrulous and fully immersed in the single life; Dllenahkh is controlled, taciturn and responsible for keeping his community together. They both have a lot to learn.

What the fuck is this shit.

I was lukewarm toward Lord’s previous book, though I didn’t hate it. It was an easy read. There was a lot of hubbub surrounding The Best of All Possible Worlds enough that I was interested, even though the synopsis frankly sounds like shit.

Turns out, it’s really absolutely fucking shit. My nickname for this book is The Best of All Eugenics. 

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MLN Hanover/Daniel Abraham – UNREADABLE SPIRITS

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Jayné Heller thinks of herself as a realist, until she discovers reality isn’t quite what she thought it was. When her uncle Eric is murdered, Jayné travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it’s all hers — and vaster than she ever imagined. And along with properties across the world and an inexhaustible fortune, Eric left her a legacy of a different kind: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College.

Led by the ruthless Randolph Coin, the Invisible College harnesses demon spirits for their own ends of power and domination. Jayné finds it difficult to believe magic and demons can even exist, let alone be responsible for the death of her uncle. But Coin sees Eric’s heir as a threat to be eliminated by any means — magical or mundane — so Jayné had better start believing in something to save her own life.

Aided in her mission by a group of unlikely companions — Aubrey, Eric’s devastatingly attractive assistant; Ex, a former Jesuit with a lethal agenda; Midian, a two-hundred-year-old man who claims to be under a curse from Randolph Coin himself; and Chogyi Jake, a self-styled Buddhist with mystical abilities — Jayné finds that her new reality is not only unexpected, but often unexplainable. And if she hopes to survive, she’ll have to learn the new rules fast — or break them completely….

Oh fucking shit, even the synopsis is terrible. “A self-styled Buddhist with mystical abilities”?

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Ken Grimwood’s REPLAY – misogyny and the American Dream

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Jeff Winston was 43 and trapped in a tepid marriage and a dead-end job, waiting for that time when he could be truly happy, when he died.

And when he woke and he was 18 again, with all his memories of the next 25 years intact. He could live his life again, avoiding the mistakes, making money from his knowledge of the future, seeking happiness.

Until he dies at 43 and wakes up back in college again…

This book was published in 1987, and yea, there shalt be many cries of “BUT ‘TWAS A PRODUCT OF ITS TIME” since 1987 was–like–the fucking Middle Ages, man. It’s steeped to the eyeballs in what I’ll charitably call the American Dream, a heaping shitload of sexism that makes Philip K Dick look vaguely evolved, and an easy rival to both Jonathan Lethem and Jim Butcher when it comes to unrelenting misogyny. For fuck’s sake, the story begins with Our Hero–middle-class white dude experiencing a midlife crisis–being nagged by his disillusioned wife. Then he dies.

Unfortunately, that’s not the last we see of Jeff Winston.

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SNOW WHITE AND THE INTERNALIZED MISOGYNY – or how Ravenna’s the one you should be rooting for

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I know, I know. The movie’s shit. I knew it was shit going in. Popular media make masochists of us all.

Isn’t it remarkable by the way that every dress in this movie bares and emphasizes a woman’s cleavage? Little wonder that the only kiss initiated by Bella Swan in this film–her one moment of sexual desire–is directed at another woman. All the other kisses are initiated by men who decide it’s awesome to molest her while she’s either comatose or dead, and therefore can’t consent.

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shitty YA cheatsheet with Farla – more on Graceling

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Farla is a blogger who makes it a thing to dissect a lot of shitty books, many of them shitty YA (insofar that such a thing as “non-shitty YA” exists, which I’m not convinced it does in any appreciable quantity). I’ve been reading her take on The Hunger Games and Graceling, both books that curiously feature emotionally broken “strong” female protagonists, both books that (witness here a frothing fanboy defending the lack of homosexuality in The Hunger Games) feature unbelievably atrocious world-building, unbelievably idiotic names, and unbelievably terrible writing.

Even by YA standards (and those standards are so very low to begin with) Kristin Cashore can’t fucking write worth one bird dropping.

Since I’ve been reading along I thought I might as well do the meta thing and comment on the commentary. Farla has this irritating habit of equating “third-world” to places of starvation with no electricity

The fence is supposed to be electrified, but it only rarely is because they only get a few hours of electricity a day. This is the first suggestion this is more third-world than primitive.

–and I imagine it’d blow her mind to realize that some of us have not only electricity (constantly and reliably!) but also plumbing and Internet access, and this kind of third/first-world thing comes up a whole shitting lot in her analyses.  It’s that mindless, casual thing a lot of westerners do and they don’t even think it’s offensive in any way. This is why we want to kick you in the mouths, folks, and laugh as you choke to death on your own teeth. This is also why:

This is all particularly inane given that it’s standard in Western society that you can’t actually force someone into a marriage, there has to be some nominal amount of acceptance

Non-westerners, of course, constantly rape women and marriages aren’t even about nominal amount of acceptance oh fuck you. But, unfortunately for people who like Graceling this doesn’t mean I disagree with her views on Cashore’s steaming pile, so let’s get to that.

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