Zach's Reviews > Bone Dance

Bone Dance by Emma Bull
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's review
Jul 05, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, post-apocalyptic, science-fiction
Read from July 05 to 27, 2011

A neo-noir post-cyberpunk faux-apocalyptic urban fantasy. The first two kind of go hand in hand but the latter two... let's just say that I, as a sucker for post-apocalyptic nonsense and a... whatever the opposite of a sucker is for urban fantasy, find myself pretty indifferent to this book.

Why "faux-apocalyptic?" We are reminded over and over again that this takes place about 50 years after "the Bang" destroyed civilization in the Western hemisphere, and yet everything seems to play out exactly like in all the other delightfully outdated cyberpunk novels from the period, only without cyberspace. You know what I mean: the protagonist's social circle exists on the edges and in the frayed cracks of the city, thumbing their noses at The Establishment and throwing off-the-grid underground raves and repurposing artifacts and using crazy street lingo and what have you. I guess instead of cyberspace here we have voodoo as a metaphor for social systems, which is unfortunate (and, honestly, particularly uninteresting to me as fodder for a story by a white woman). Everyone seems to pretty much have what they need (and the characters are, I think, supposed to be part of the less privileged class?), there's a functioning government and even a border patrol between the US and Canada... the less things change, the more they stay the same.

This Bang was caused by the Horsemen, mind-controlling soldiers created by the US government for use in their war against the nations of South America. You might think that Bull would relate this somehow to the voodoo spirits/gods active in this world (deus ex machinas abound), but... she does not. The narrative here concerns a confluence of the surviving horsemen and the pawns they manipulate (who are also being manipulated by the voodoo spirits and who are, the protagonist especially, basically just a bunch of chumps), and something about a power monopoly in the City (Minneapolis), which isn't mentioned until about 2/3rds of the way through the book, and which doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything, frankly.

Also the much-lauded gender stuff here basically boils down to pronouns/semantics, which is cool I guess but not really thought-provoking or as deep as I expected.
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message 1: by Camden (new)

Camden Drash this looks interesting, i like "post cyberpunk". sounds like life after hackers, relevant to my interests

Zach give it a shot!

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