Althea Ann's Reviews > A Paradigm of Earth

A Paradigm of Earth by Candas Jane Dorsey
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's review
Dec 09, 2010

it was ok
Read from December 07 to 09, 2010

I've anticipated reading this book for a long time. Dorsey's Black Wine was a book that I seriously loved, and kept recommending to people for years. Sadly, this book not only didn't live up to the expectations created by Black Wine, it frankly just wasn't very good. The premise sounds intriguing - an alien comes to earth to learn about humanity, and ends up in a co-op household full of non-conformists and artists. I liked a lot of the concepts - how the main character explores different types of love for different people through sexuality, etc. And some of the language and imagery is lovely. Still, maybe it has something to do with its near-contemporary setting (rather than the remote world of Black Wine), but the book felt more like a socio-political lecture than a novel. The messages, rather than working smoothly through the metaphors of fantasy, were very in-your-face and clunky. The characters felt like their traits were imposed on them by using a checklist (black, gay, disabled, lesbian, dancer, artist, etc.), rather than stemming from the experiences of real people. The protagonist's emotions were spoken of at great length, but didn't feel convincing. The antagonist was even more mystifying - with motivations which were nearly completely opaque, and unconvincing when admitted in an awkwardly-stuck-in, cliched confessional. The plot lacked tension, even when dramatic events were occurring. This may sound harsh, and it's probably much harsher than it would have been if I hadn't fully expected to be giving this book 5 stars - but I can't even come close to doing so.
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