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Courtship Rite

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  346 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A vast alien landscape, a human culture based on our own, yet evolved in strange ways by the forces of an inimical nature provide a panoramic backdrop for the romantic adventures of a large cast of memorable & attractive characters.
Courtship Rite is a sf novel by American writer Donald Kingsbury, originally serialized in Analog magazine in 1982. The book is set in the
Paperback, 409 pages
Published September 1st 1983 by Timescape / Pocket (first published 1982)
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A heartwarming tale of cannibalism and group marriage.

Courtship Rite is set in a lost colony stranded on a desert planet without much life above insects and somewhat regressed technologically, with the exception of biology and bio-engineering, which is above present-day levels. The cultures that have developed are rather pragmatic about survival (creches where children must prove themselves by a certain age or become food), though not entirely without morality (after all, our protagonist's cultu
So on the one hand: the writing is turgid, the pacing is bizarre, and the political lecturing interminable. Also there is cannibalism (did I mention the cannibalism?) on almost every page. Spousal abuse and child rape both make appearances and are treated as the unexceptional actions of reasonable people.

And on the other hand: I loved this book.

Partly it's the culture. (Or cultures. Geta is not a monoculture, and its clans' beliefs frequently clash.) Courtship Rite is more "here, let me show you
I just can't get into this book. Perhaps it's that the writing is "harsh" and "clunky," at least to my mental ear. There are points where a character says something and I'm jarred out of the scene, asking "huh?" Perhaps it's the characters, of whom I like or care for none.

It's a shame for two reasons: One, the world (Geta) is potentially fascinating. A harsh world, most of whose flora and fauna is poisonous to human life. A situation that has forced the development of ritual cannibalism, and liv
Courtship Rite takes place on a human colony world, Geta, that has forgotten it is a colony. Their legends tell them "God" brought them across the stars to protect them from "war", and "God" still watches over them from the sky. We learn later that their word for "God" was the original colonists word for "ship", and the colony ship does indeed still orbit above them. [return] The only source of protein the colonists have are bees and human flesh, so cannibalism is common and accepted. They also ...more
This is one of the better alternative societies created for a science fiction book. In this society, the perfect marriage consists of six people, and there is a complicated food imbalance in the native food availible that impacts who and when a family can court another member. Humans are not native on the world, earth plants and animals are hard to maintain, and native food is poisonous, but some hungry people are adapting to eating it. I read this book every few years.
A little known classic of the genre that blew me away when I read it 25 years ago. The author does an incredible job of world building in the first part of the novel. The characters are all well-drawn and complex.

Marjorie Turner
Wow! This definitely got me thinking about morality and mortality! I'm such a novice sci-fi reader that I think I probably didn't "get" some of the sub-context. But it was a real page turner and I enjoyed it!
John Park
A recent reread after a couple of decades. I found I'd forgotten all the plot and some of the setting.

Geta is a far-future, mostly desert world precariously colonised by humans, who have no other surviving vertebrates (the Horse is known only as a chesspiece) and so must be their own source of meat protein, through ritual cannibalism. The biosciences are well developed, but physics is also making progress as the story develops. Kingsbury employs the traditional assumption that such a civilisati
O.K. I didn't actually finish it. I found it slightly confusing in spots and then it would get really interesting and then it would get confusing again. The character build up was nice and the premise of the book was interesting I just kept finding other things to do and to read and that usually doesn't bode well.
Pauline Ray
Just read it. It's wonderful. Thought-provoking, disturbing, and so very detailed and real.
Easily the best book about the political machinations on a planet filled with polyfidelitous cannibals that you'll ever read. Life on Geta is harsh--the mostly-desert environment means the only animal life around is insectoid, so the only source of labor or meat is other humans. And to make matters worse, all but eight "sacred" plants are poisonous to humans. This gives rise to a very specific set of social institutions where cannibalism is seen as perfectly acceptable in certain situations and ...more
Mark Schomburg
The heavy tone is worth savoring, especially given the food discussion which is cannibalistic. I found this fantasy world comparable to stuff by various writers ranging from RA Salvatore or Clive Barker to even Asimov. The "psychohistorical" connection here is that society is structured around "Predictors," a major theme which resonates pretty strongly with Asimov's Foundation series, albeit in a very different way. The writing is adult and sometimes explicit which sets it apart from Salvatore t ...more
Fascinating far-future SF set on a harsh planet where humans came at some point in the past (how is not entirely clear, though the "god" they worship is apparently their spaceship, orbiting silently above the planet). They have developed a bizarre culture that glorifies pain and suffering (elaborate scarification is normative, and the "courtship rite" is in fact an elaborate death trial), polygamy (logical enough, perhaps, in a depleted environment where reproduction would be difficult), and can ...more
Mon avis
Parade nuptiale est un roman étrange, issu d’une ligne de Hard-science qu’on peut sans problème faire remonter à Dune, tant par l’hostilité du milieu que par la forme du récit, et d’autres postures d’écriture.
Cependant, il serait réellement réducteur de le positionner comme une simple copie du roman de Herbert, car Parade nuptiale est un récit beaucoup plus riche, plus fort, et plus difficile d’accès que Dune. Ce récit se situe sur une planète autre que la Terre, où des humains lutten
Erik Graff
Jul 12, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kingsbury fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Oh, if I had only read great literature or at least informative non-fiction instead of all the forgetable science fiction novels and collections I've spent so much of my life reading! I knew I'd read a lot of sf, but going over the lists of books completed which have been kept since the end of college has been sobering. With few exceptions, most of the genre isn't worth reading except as escapist literature and I never attended much to quality, simply reading almost anything to hand except when ...more
I liked the idea of Geta, a harsh world with an excellent culling system, and cannibalism.
Eric Post
Difficult to explain. Generations after a starship dumped its crew on a very dangerous planet they have evolve a religion about the orbiting craft and the rituals that allow them to survive on a planet where everything is toxic to humans. It is also a love story of a marriage of five people seeking another mate. It is also the story of a technical tipping point in the civilization. Complicated. Delightful.
Janine Southard
I wanted to like this book. I forget who rec'ed it to me, but it had lots of gene splicing and interesting group marriages.

Sadly, the characters all drove me crazy, the women seemed rather pointless (even the Jesus-figure), and everything was written in the overblown medieval fantasy style that turns me off of medieval fantasies. :(

This book is awesome for someone else. But not for me.
El relato no plantea un hilo conductor que lleve la trama a ningun lugar, ni plantea ideas que ameriten seguir la lectura
This book does what books in its genre ought to do. It presents a fully developed world and alternative culture, much as Herbert did with Dune. The world presented is not so different from Earth. But the culture is out there, fully developed and consistent.
Dedaimia Whitney
Interesting ideas, but very much overwritten. Story about a planet colonized by escapees from a devasted, war-ridden earth. Interesting commentary on "priest" classes and human nature, but too much detail not required for the plot or characterization.
Tomass marked it as to-read
May 02, 2015
Bsrg marked it as to-read
Apr 27, 2015
Marianne marked it as to-read
Apr 26, 2015
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