I'm a "visual learner." I need to be shown with a clear example before I can really absorb crucial information. As a writer, that makes it quite diffi...moreI'm a "visual learner." I need to be shown with a clear example before I can really absorb crucial information. As a writer, that makes it quite difficult to grasp what is meant by some common writing terms. I have to pick up on just the right example in order to understand a particular concept in writing.
For a decade I failed to understand what was meant by the old writers' axiom, "Show, don't tell." I just didn't get it. How can you not *tell* a story? And how can you use words to convey a clear difference between "showing" and "telling?" Why is "telling" considered bland when the point of writing a book or story is to *tell* the reader some kind of information? The whole concept of there being any difference at all between showing and telling eluded me for years and years.
Then I read The Shore of Women. Now I get it.
Don't get me wrong: This is not, by any means, a poor novel. The world Pamela Sargent has built is vivid and memorable, but much more so because of what I've inferred about it while reading than from any vital information the writer conveyed. The characters are well developed and distinct, yet somehow difficult to connect with and appreciate as people. I finally figured out why: Because the narrative voice is full of telling, not showing.
I still couldn't accurately describe to you what the difference between showing and telling might be. But now I know it when I see it.
Is this a book worthy of reading? Definitely. It's great sci-fi, and it has a thought-provoking message. But I did find it difficult, at times plodding, and often hard to visualize. I believe I will probably read it again in the future (my personal litmus test for whether a book was good or not good) but likely not for several years.(less)
**spoiler alert** Not one of my favorites. I found too much of the plot just impossible to swallow. The entirety of human civilization being a-okay wi...more**spoiler alert** Not one of my favorites. I found too much of the plot just impossible to swallow. The entirety of human civilization being a-okay with sacrificing themselves? I think not. That's just against biological imperatives. Sorry. Couldn't swallow it.
Two stars because the world-building is as tight as Card's always is.(less)
This is one of the under-appreciated gems of the sci-fi genre. One of Card's earlier works, this reflects his darker style that was prevalent during t...moreThis is one of the under-appreciated gems of the sci-fi genre. One of Card's earlier works, this reflects his darker style that was prevalent during the time period before the Ender books. Think Hart's Hope and Songmaster...ooh, dark and disturbing in spades. Good times.
The characters are gorgeously formed and full of life. The world of Imakulata is brilliant. The various races that inhabit it are unique and fresh. And it is laced through with Card's lyrical darkness, making for a read that impacts you and stays with you.
As for those who will call the climax scene (pardon the pun) "icky" and knock down a few stars in their rating, I say: Hey, it's sci-fi. Although I will admit that, listening to the audio version (narrated by Card's eldest daughter, who does a spectacular job), I actually yelled "GROSS!" out loud when the part with...the baby...happened. Yeah, you know what I mean if you've read the book.
In spite of its one icky chapter, this is true, serious, delicious science fiction with twists you will not see coming and brilliant imagery. Read it.(less)