oof. that was just... unnecessary. I could've gone a long time without reading that. I feel like I should say something about this story and how it hioof. that was just... unnecessary. I could've gone a long time without reading that. I feel like I should say something about this story and how it hinges on an exceptionally transmisogynist trope of violent forced feminization and much could be said about how, to Carter, a woman seems to be defined solely by the degradations she endures at the hands of men because it really ended up hitting me in a surprisingly personal place, primarily because of the way in which her trans girl internalizes the message of abuse she endures as valid and deserved, recompense for her past life.
Having seen firsthand all too much of the bitterness and violence that some feminists whose awareness was cemented during the late seventies rise of exclusionary radical feminism and the expulsion of radical trans women like Carol Riddell or Sandy Stone from the groups they'd long called home, can and still do espouse towards trans women, I know full well that Carter isn't writing Eve's story as an affirmation of her womanhood. It's smarmy torture porn that reads so much like "how can I make this tr*nny suffer more?" that snuck in under my radar, cloaked in the well regard of its author, and managed to uncomfortably disturb me. I don't know why this work of hers was so highly acclaimed because even leaving aside the problematic portrayals elaborated above, the entire story, such as it is, is reconstituted "secret drug/sex cult conspiring to birth the messiah to usher in a new age as the old falls to pieces" pablum that's been served better dozens of times before from the likes of Pynchon or Ismael Reed. And Honestly? Even as smut, it's pretty lackluster. I've read far better on fictionmania. I loved Carter's fairy tale retelling in The Bloody Chamber, but this is just execrable....more
Masturbatory fantasy for older white men who feel smug in their own sense of superiority. In which real rugged man's men persevere at the fall of civiMasturbatory fantasy for older white men who feel smug in their own sense of superiority. In which real rugged man's men persevere at the fall of civilization to build a new world in the ashes of the old. Lots of "we need only one leader, not a committee" bullshit to justify strong arm tactics. Lots of colonialism, particularly in Stirling's digs at the Nez Perce tribes loss of traditional knowledge, portraying it as an aspect of how a people had degraded without any mention or even hint of the genocide and cultural whitewashing that went into ensuring that indigenous cultures were erased and assimilated. The casual racism that just oozes off the page is such a very recognizable NorthWest style of unthinking whiteness that I threw the book at the wall on more than one occasion. Even more sexism, because this book doesn't have a single female character who isn't condescended and patronized at one point or another by the alpha male, former marine, clan leader hero.
I picked this up because I read nearly all dystopian fiction and because it is set in Oregon and it's neat to match events to the real world geography I know so well. I kept reading it through the sea of toxic masculinity because there was a really neat coven of witches who was vastly more my style- overseen by the coven's matriarch but run on a consensus model that allowed all's concerns to be aired, rooted in the land and an appreciation of what it provides, valuing music and love. But this wasn't enough to keep me interested. There's more to this series but I strongly doubt I'll be picking any of them up....more
More 3.5 stars than 3, this was an interesting enough read that kept me rather solidly enthralled from start to finish. An iteration on the classic "sMore 3.5 stars than 3, this was an interesting enough read that kept me rather solidly enthralled from start to finish. An iteration on the classic "street rat saves princess" theme made famous in countless Disney films, but set against the backdrop of a post-oil dystopia that does nothing to hide not only the grim ecological future we will likely be inhabiting but also the human cost this future is likely bring with it. The opening third of the book laying out the culture of the ship-breaking community that has set up on the Gulf Coast fighting and dying for every square inch of copper wiring and waste oil they can strip from now-derelict oil tankers was incredibly interesting. The whirlwind adventures with the escaped heiress of a powerful shipping family? Not so much. Bacigalupi is a writer to watch, though. Between this young adult effort and his fantastic Wind-Up Girl he has shown himself more than capable of creating incredibly vivid dystopian worlds that bear just enough semblance to the world as it looks right now so as to be all the more haunting. I don't know if I'll read the rest of this Ship Breaker series, but I'll certainly make time for his future adult novels....more
Best book of the series so far. The US Army and the Free States Army try to force an election on the war-torn DMZ and it all looks a little too much lBest book of the series so far. The US Army and the Free States Army try to force an election on the war-torn DMZ and it all looks a little too much like Karzai in Afghanistan until Parco Delgado announces his candidacy for governor of the DMZ. A lifetime resident of New York, Delgado espouses some of the most fiery anti-imperialist rhetoric I've ever heard outside of an Immortal Technique record and he seems dead-set on setting up his own government regardless of what the USA and FSA have to say about it. At the same time he provides an inspiration to the beleaguered residents who have been pinned between the two warring powers for nearly a decade and even jaded reporter Matty Roth gets swept up in the hoopla. Lot's of great commentary in this volume and a good evolution of Matty's character. If you're at all a fan of dystopias, this is a must read series....more