Megan's Reviews > Happy Snak

Happy Snak by Nicole Kimberling
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Aug 06, 10

bookshelves: 4-stars, science-fiction, fiction
Read in August, 2010

I wanted to read some fun sci-fi with a kick-ass female protagonist and that dealt with culture just as much as, if not more than, tech, and I came across Happy Snak. This was a surprising and solidly entertaining read that kept me turning pages and delighting in Kimberling's world-building. A good sense of humor, curiosity, and adventure drives the tone of this book in a very memorable way.

Gaia is a distant and often unemotional protagonist, which was frustrating at times, especially when displays of or explanations of emotions were seemingly shoe-horned into the narrative; however, she is a steady character who doesn't lose sight of her business goals and who is at once understandable even if she is closed-off. None of the other human characters get much development, but the real story here is between Gaia and the aliens; the other humans are undeniably secondary.

The cultural world-building is what makes this book sing. The aliens, despite the benevolent interest some of them have in the human race, are quite alien, and constant mutual cultural shock and misunderstandings make the story a vivid experience of cultural contact & conflict for the reader. I was, however, a little skeeved out by Gaia gleefully looking to get aliens addicted to "Orange," a human-made substance that proves appealing to the aliens, for her own commercial gain; the uncritical, unexamined use of this trope was a bit uncomfortable to read. However, the story did convince me of a growing respect and friendship between the humans and the aliens in this story, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent reading it!
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