Eric Mesa's Reviews > A Planet for Rent

A Planet for Rent by Yoss
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2018-laser-challenge

This is a book I'm rounding up on with the score because I'm not sure I would say it's amazing (GR's definition of 5 stars) but I more than just "really liked it". With that out out of the way...

I've mentioned in previous reviews that I listen to Escape Pod and listen to/read Clarkesworld Magazine. Both publications have introduced me to international science fiction. What I've found to be fascinating is seeing what different cultures do with science fiction. Some of the Asian fiction I've read has been indistinguishable from American/British SF. Other stories have been so strangely different in what they project about the future or how they view utopia or dystopia. The same has, of course, happened with continental African SF.

This book is my first Cuban science fiction story. Yoss makes such brilliant use of the form. For those of you who read my reviews often you'll know that I always say that the point of SF is not predicting the future, but using an alien world (sometimes literally) to explore our present. With A Planet for Rent, Yoss essentially turns all of Earth into Cuba and gets the world to understand the situation by being able to see themselves as a citizen of Earth instead of Team First World vs Team Third World. (Which can get disgusting as described in Trevor Noah's most recent comedy special in which they take a tour of someone's home in a third world country) After opening with an ad for a rich alien race to buy Earth, the book alternates between a textbook-like description of various aspects of Earth under the alien regime and short stories. The textbook entries allow Yoss to do a lot of world building without interrupting stories with background information. The short stories allow Yoss to tell a series of self-contained stories that each showcase how the situation affects an individual. However, the reader quickly realizes there is a connecting thread running throughout the short stories, giving them way more punch than they would have on their own. The stories tell of corruption, of a government willing to do anything to keep tourists happy, of a resourcefulness because the citizens are denied technology and medicine that are common on the alien worlds.

It is biting commentary, but it is also great science fiction. I highly recommend it.
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Reading Progress

November 6, 2018 – Started Reading
November 6, 2018 – Shelved
November 6, 2018 –
page 7
2.02% "Wow, Yoss just throws the reader into the deep end. This is quite a future for Earth he's imagined. Very intrigued, I'll tell you that."
November 9, 2018 –
page 15
4.32% "So far one helluva biting criticism of how developed countries treat the under-developed countries where they vacation."
November 9, 2018 –
page 21
6.05% "I wonder if Yoss' use of social worker as a euphemism for prostitution is based on Cuban slang or meant to obscure things from the reader for a few pages"
November 13, 2018 –
page 33
9.51% "Alternating chapters between descriptive and narrative - I definitely enjoy that style and it keeps a wall of description from interrupting story flow"
November 13, 2018 –
page 42
12.1% "I like the relationship between Moy and Etubrute"
November 14, 2018 –
page 55
15.85% "Still with Moy"
November 14, 2018 –
page 71
20.46% "Wow, Moy's performance was incredible. I wonder what the exact meaning of the last couple lines are. Haunting no matter what."
November 15, 2018 –
page 79
22.77% "After an interlude about government a chapter on the baseball metaphorical analogue"
November 19, 2018 –
page 87
25.07% "Voxl game about to start"
November 20, 2018 –
page 104
29.97% "More Voxl"
November 20, 2018 –
page 116
33.43% "Voxl match is over. Surprise ending to that story .Very neat."
November 26, 2018 –
page 126
36.31% "The tiger section - I guess that's one of those things I didn't realize happened in countries where hunting is illegal.

Next chapter somewhat continues story from Buca the social worker. Also, just realized the ilegality of humans leaving Earth (and its dangerous nature is a metaphor for the rafts leaving Cuba)

Finally, must have been fun for Yoss to have each chapter be told in a different narrative style"
November 27, 2018 –
page 136
39.19% "A lesson in police corruption"
November 27, 2018 –
page 155
44.67% "Cop story is over with a double twist so that I both predicted and didn't predict the ending to that chapter"
November 28, 2018 –
page 166
47.84% "A chapter on the brother of the cop from the corruption chapter. So far very interesting"
November 29, 2018 –
page 176
50.72% "Continuing the autistic storyline"
November 30, 2018 –
page 200
57.64% "Finished the autistic story. An interlude on divers. Finally a story with Jowe."
December 4, 2018 –
page 213
61.38% "Jowe story continues"
December 6, 2018 –
page 231
66.57% "The end of Jowe's story. A meta-commentary on SF and hope and terrorism."
December 7, 2018 –
page 231
66.57% "Friga's daughter."
December 10, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-laser-challenge
December 10, 2018 – Finished Reading

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