K.J. Charles's Reviews > The Lesson

The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull
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bookshelves: sff

This. Was. Terrific. Set in the Virgin Islands, the premise is that aliens arrive to do some research and give humanity all sorts of amazing tech in exchange for their stay. But they stay on an inhabited island. They look like people, mix with people, drink and have sex with people...and if anyone bothers or threatens them, they kill brutally and immediately. It's just their culture.

Obviously this is about colonialism--one of the characters is even writing a book about the subject and we go into the history of the island's slave revolts. It's terrifically powerful, conveying a tremendous sense of choking injustice and rage, plus the way some people just shut down or even collaborate with the new, advanced, fascinating invaders.

I couldn't stop reading. There's a terrific engaging cast (it's multiple stories and voices, some of which we dip into only briefly) and the set up is really compelling. One of those books that leaves you compulsively imagining yourself in the situation. I can't believe I hadn't even heard of this book till a recs thread.

The lesson of the title, btw, is "if we feel threatened [no matter if it's a real threat, no matter that we'd be better off and safer reacting another way] we will kill and kill to assert our power." Which, looking at the US right now, sounds about right.
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Reading Progress

June 7, 2020 – Shelved
June 7, 2020 – Shelved as: sff
Started Reading
June 8, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Nina ( picturetalk321 ) Wow. Must read. The premise reminds me of Claire G Coleman's terrific Terra Nullius (indigenous Australian author).

Justine Yes, Terra Nullius was excellent. This one has been on my ereader forever but I keep forgetting about it. Time to move it up!

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