The Book of Strange New Things The Book of Strange New Things discussion


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affects of religion

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Bob Jenkins I was disappointed, myself, in the latest Michael Faber, after his previous ones had been so good.
I found the hero, Peter, terribly self-centred, as indeed I'm afraid I tend to find the very religious often are (it's certainly a characteristic of the fanatic of any kind).
The aliens he comes amongst are delighted by the Gospel as children are delighted by a new toy, and one wonders just what will happen when they tire of it, and/or find that prayers do not always mean salvation: also they may discover that "the things in the bible ain't necessarily so." Possibly, benign and accepting as they are, they will retain an unshakeable faith, as religious communities may do, at least for a while, but of course they will in practical every-day life just get on, as they must, locking religion into a labelled compartment. One hopes that they would not spawn a class of priests who would frighten them, live off them, and possibly abuse them in some way.
None of these possibilities seem in any way to resonate with Peter, any more than his wife's sufferings and eventual announcement of pregnancy does
very much.
Thus I found I was unable to maintain sufficient sympathy with the main character to remain very interested in what he did.
More generally, I found the labelling of natives as "Jesus lover.." suffixed by number, very wearing, and I would have thought highly disrespectful (unless it's supposed to be ironic or satirical?).
About the book in general, on the plus side, I thought the way that bureaucracy is allowed to clog things up (back of earth) even when the planet is falling apart a nice touch of black humour.
The writing is excellent, of course, the descriptions marvellous.
Human changeability is tellingly portrayed in the declining relationship between our hero and his wife.
Slight criticism: the technology seems difficult to believe in that means have been found, we gather, for transport across galaxies, yet other things are more or less as we know them, even motor transport. Or is the mysterious organisation USIC in fact itself from an alien world?
Robert.


Lobstergirl Slight criticism: the technology seems difficult to believe in that means have been found, we gather, for transport across galaxies, yet other things are more or less as we know them, even motor transport.

I never understand why people have this criticism. New technology always exists alongside old technology. Books were invented several centuries ago, yet we still read them. Not everyone uses a tablet or computer or phone to read books now. The invention of motors didn't mean that no one ever rode a horse again, or used a pushcart or wheelbarrow or bicycle.

terribly self-centred, as indeed I'm afraid I tend to find the very religious often are (it's certainly a characteristic of the fanatic of any kind).

Needless to say this is batty.


Richard have to admit I found it so woeful that the thought of reading any other Faber books is very unlikely


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