C.'s Reviews > Grass

Grass by Sheri S. Tepper
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bookshelves: 2011, science-speculative-fiction

This started absolutely brilliantly, but I found the resolution a little ridiculous. It's quite a long book and the resolution started to come at about half-way through, so it added up to quite a lot of ridiculous. I think this is a manifestation of a common problem with this sort of book (intriguing alien world with a strange underlying secret): the build-up to the revelation makes it seem like it will be something utterly revolutionary, but the reality is inevitably disappointing. Also she never explains why the hippae hunt with humans or how this relationship came about; and the science is so obviously, obviously - by the most basic of genetics - wrong.

I think Tepper's greatest failing as a writer is the way she treats her 'bad' characters (not villains - there are no villains, really, at least not in this book). She does not describe in detail the thought processes of her protagonists - through this they are granted the possibility of complexity of thought and motivation. But her antagonists (in this case Rigo is the most obvious example) have their every thought laid out on a plate for all to see, which diminishes them, turning them into near-psychopaths. I don't think this technique necessarily diminishes them, but perhaps Tepper isn't a good enough writer to manage it properly. It's kind of annoying and also, I think, a bit insulting (coincidence that the vast majority of these 'bad' characters are men? I don't think so, and that annoys me also).

But I still think she's pretty great. In my vague quest to read more science fiction, she is the first author I've found whose books are really interesting. She makes me want to read more, and then more.
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Reading Progress

April 11, 2011 – Shelved
April 12, 2011 – Started Reading
April 24, 2011 – Shelved as: 2011
April 24, 2011 – Shelved as: science-speculative-fiction
April 24, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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message 1: by Velvetink (new) - added it

Velvetink I've only read "Sideshow" - a long time ago. Must dig it out again.

message 2: by Hazel (last edited Apr 24, 2011 01:29AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hazel That was quick! Are you going to write a review, Choupette? I think this and Women's Country were my favourite Tepper books.

message 3: by C. (new) - rated it 3 stars

C. I just wrote one! (though not a very long one). I hope goodreads hasn't deleted it!

message 4: by C. (new) - rated it 3 stars

C. Actually I just didn't save it. I also read a (much more interesting) review here: http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/nonfict...

message 5: by Hazel (last edited Apr 24, 2011 03:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hazel I wonder if you'd like Nancy Kress. Her Beggars in Spain was a favourite of mine around the same time. I'll go read that review.

If you're exploring science fiction, I think Octavia E. Butler was wonderful. In her Xenogenesis trilogy, she brought the intriguing aliens here. Her characterisation was also flawed, but I thought the premise made up for it. She was a little more gender-neutral, too. (Or am I just imaginng that?)

Hazel Choupette wrote: "Actually I just didn't save it. I also read a (much more interesting) review here: http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/nonfict..."

Thanks for posting this review. I'd forgotten how complex the novel is. And of course I'd never recognised its links to the great American classics! :-)

message 7: by C. (new) - rated it 3 stars

C. Naturally, I didn't recognise its links to the great American classics either :P

Elizabeth, I loved Beauty when I read it at age 12! Its because of that book that I came back to her, I think. I plan to read it again soon, i.e. when I can be bothered to make the massive half-hour trek to City Library, where they have a copy available.

Thanks for all the recommendations - my quest is rambling, slow, intermittent and largely directionless, so I may not get around to them for a while, but I'll keep them in mind

message 8: by Mir (new)

Mir I was disappointed by the villains in The Visitor, too -- stock characters. Here we have the hypocritical fundamentalist religious leader, and here we have the power-mad military despot, etc. The one bad female character had to be bad because she was the protag's step-sister.

message 9: by C. (new) - rated it 3 stars

C. I hadn't actually thought about that until you pointed it out - it's definitely true, but I thought she put a bit of subtlety into their roles. It's more the depiction of their thought processes that puts me off (I noticed it in The Gate to Women's Country, too).

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