I'll be honest - I didn't expect to like this book at all. I half hate-read Fizzy McFizz's totally obnoxious blog: A Cartoon Guide to Being a Doctor,I'll be honest - I didn't expect to like this book at all. I half hate-read Fizzy McFizz's totally obnoxious blog: A Cartoon Guide to Being a Doctor, because she is just so self-pitying, especially about residency. I went into this knowing that this was a semi-fictionalized account of Fizzy's intern year and expected the same over the top, self-pitying whining about a pretty normal internship. I've got to say, this was more enjoyable than I expected, and on the nose about many aspects of medical training: it had the intern who always seems to manage to do less work than everyone else (and yet still complains about it), the cruel senior resident who seems to be enjoy being mean and you wonder how she can possibly also be a mom (my equivalent senior resident made me cry when I was an intern...more than once), the way that there is a culture to how to do everything (in my program it's four-colored pens, rather than sticky notes), and how bad things happen only to the nicest patients. Overall, it was kind of fun and not nearly as obnoxious as expected....more
Nussbaum succeeds at her goal here: to write a book about characters with disabilities, who have personalities beyond their disabilities, interact witNussbaum succeeds at her goal here: to write a book about characters with disabilities, who have personalities beyond their disabilities, interact with each other and with characters who are able-bodied. The characters are fully fleshed out and interesting, realistic characters.
But this absolutely comes off as a political piece. It is certainly enjoyable in its own right, but it is impossible to read without thinking of it as a piece about disability-rights, criticizing institutions (which, I agree with in spirit, but also agree that there are nuances to the discussion not fully elucidated here.) and discussing discrimination, over-utilization of intelligence and personality testing and casting a cynical eye over seemingly all parties involved in providing care to those with disabilities.
Perhaps the best part of the book is that Nussbaum portrays even most of her villains as human, simply ignorant or over-worked or otherwise preoccupied. She does have a few truly irredeemable characters, but by and large, especially for a piece trying to make a statement, this is done well -- an invitation to dialogue. ...more
I'm not even sure where to begin. The Xenogenesis trilogy is completely unlike anything I've ever read beforeIn conclusion, Octavia Butler is amazing.
I'm not even sure where to begin. The Xenogenesis trilogy is completely unlike anything I've ever read before. The closest I can come in comparison is to The Left Hand of Darkness: this is a book with rich, thorough world/species building, compelling characters, a solid plot and more theme than you can shake a stick at. Butler understands that meaningful speculative fiction asks "what if" questions to cause readers to reflect on the world as it is. And here, she does that artfully, weaving in questions about whether human nature is intrinsically violent, how different we are able to tolerate our children being from us and still perceive them as "ours," whether it is better to die sticking with the familiar, or be irrevocably mutated and survive. In there are implications about environmentalism, gender relations, racial relations, consent, and warfare. But all of this lies under an intricate plot, and beautifully devised characters: the bitter, resigned, maternal Lillith; the optimistic, daring Akin; sweet Tino and others. The Oankali as an alien species feel so real: Butler has developed for them a physicality, a culture, a morality, subdivisions, etc. such that it is as easy to predict how an Oankali will feel as a human character, and yet they feel so alien that it's easy to feel that undercurrent of revulsion towards them that is felt by the characters....more