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DMS

Saturdays in Books

Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.

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The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent
Kathryn Morrow, James K. Morrow

Review: The Best of All Possible Worlds

The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Novel - Karen Lord

Jane Austen Star Trek is pretty much everything you need to know. Humor, drama, telepathy and genetics combined in a tale where Mr. Darcy, one of the few Vulcans* who survives the destruction of his home planet, sets off to save his culture.

 

Lord does an amazing job of what she set out to accomplish, but it's not quite what I wanted. She says a lot of wry things about gender, but more for laughs than criticism. This is where I get heavy on spoilers. These aren't the only things that got on my nerves (for instance, the cover....), but I don't want to spend the rest of my day typing.

 

We get one of the few remaning Sadiri women as a major character and she pretty much immediately gets knocked up. For the story, this is great. For me, it would have been nice if this hadn't also set up such constant comparison between the "logical" men and the "hormonal" woman.

 

Also, towards the end, when she's asked about her plans, her response is:

 

1. Obviously she'll stay home with the kid for the next 7 years while her husband does whatever off-world.

2. Possibly at the end of that time, he'll take a turn, but this is optional.

 

There is no observation that this default plan is exactly why their population is nearly extinct.

 

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Homosexuality only exists in the portion of the population that are beyond their reproductive years.

 

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Only Sadiri men get to drive starships. On the one hand, there's no story here if the tragedy of their planet's destruction plays out differently. On the other hand, ONLY SADIRI MEN GET TO DRIVE STARSHIPS. They even have a saying:

 

"A man with a mindship is half immortal, but a man without a wife is half alive."

 

Which reads to me as a "men do things, women are things."

 

As a side effect of this, the gods that definitely exist are exclusively male.

 

I think it was a smart move on Lord's part to not discuss this as there is no explanation that I wouldn't have hated.

(show spoiler)

 

Still, an amazing read. Masterfully constructed. Highly recommend.

*Not actually a Vulcan, but lack of pointy ears aside, totally a Vulcan.