Zach's Reviews > Glory Season

Glory Season by David Brin
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Jul 11, 12

Read from June 30 to July 05, 2012

Zach stood at his desk to write his review of David Brin's interminably boring science fiction novel, Glory Season.

I'd better start off by mentioning how tedious it was to listen to the main character's thoughts in every other paragraph, Zach thought to himself. That way, the people reading this review will understand my frustration with having the author spell out every tiny nuance of the main character's motivation in tiresome detail, as if internal monologue were the only way to accomplish this feat in writing.

Zach raised his arms to the keyboard, feeling the muscles in his shoulders, back, and neck tense up. He laid the heels of his palms on the ergonomic padding and placed his fingertips on the keys of the home row, preparing to type his review. It really bothered me how often the exact condition of all the protagonist's main muscle groups was described right in the middle of an ostensible action sequence, he thought. I wonder how I can best get across what an obstacle this was to my enjoyment of the novel. Just as he began to type, he experienced a flashback for the purposes of character development and world building.

It's pretty inconvenient to my readers to continually break up the narrative with all this back-story exposition. But how else can I establish setting and character? Zach was swept back in his mind to weeks earlier, when he was reading David Brin's interminably boring science fiction novel, Glory Season, and thinking about the premise of a woman-dominated agrarian civilization. I would have thought this would be so much juicier, but it's incredibly dry and bland. Ethan of Athos did a much better job of exploring the converse scenario, a world composed solely of men, and did so despite being shorter and spending much less time on the unusual planet. And unlike Glory Season, it actually challenged gender stereotypes, rather than just snidely reversing some and tacitly endorsing others.

Just then, Zach's aching calf muscles, fatigued from his long stand at his desk, spasmed painfully, dumping him to the carpet. His head brushed the desk on the way to the ground, knocking him unconscious.

Zach came to an indeterminate amount of time later, his lapse into senselessness hopefully having created some dramatic tension. He stood warily to resume writing his review. Why does the main character get knocked out so often? he wondered. It's like two thirds of the plot movements occur while she's dead to the world. Want to talk about gender stereotypes? How about female hypo-agency? How about a "heroine" who is shuttled like a pawn from scene to scene, unconscious as often as not, with no understanding of what's going on or what her goal is?

Zach again placed his hands on the keyboard to begin writing. Suddenly, he was overcome by another flashback memory. He decided to explore it fully, unconcerned what this would do to the pacing or readability of his book review. He thought back to his computer science education, and learning about cellular automata.

These are pretty interesting for someone completely enamored with mathematics and puzzles, like I am, he thought, but I'm quite obviously abnormal in that regard. He watched the little black and white squares flicker on and off on his computer screen, as he sat in a dimly lit basement lab surrounded by pale, friendless virgins with poor hygiene. Most men would rather do anything else than play Conway's game of life -- even with my unusually abstract interests I find it only mildly engaging. There is absolutely no chance that this game would ever, ever, ever become the basis of a popular pastime.

Zach sighed deeply, and shook his head at Brin's indefensible choice to make Life the basis of male recreation in his world. And that's just one of so many problems with this book. How can I possibly convey everything that's wrong with it? Well, I had better get started and see where it gets me. He again rested his fingers on the home row, feeling the muscles ache in his back, forearms, and shoulders, resolved to begin writing.

Just then, Zach lost consciousness.
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message 1: by Jan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jan Best review I have ever read. Keep it up, Zach!


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