just a bear whose intentions are good (two_star) wrote,
just a bear whose intentions are good
two_star

Recent Reading

Robert Heinlein: The Door Into Summer

There's a delightful anecdote about a cat at the beginning, which (of course) was turned into (at least one) filk song. As for the rest of it, the "gee whiz, the future will be wonderful because engineers will make it so" vibe is somewhat endearing, and Heinlein's writing captures the feel of making one's way in a strange future world quite well, even as the future itself is so informed by the time of the book's writing as to be ridiculous.

But. The romantic subplot is all about our (adult, male) viewpoint character setting up time travel shenanigans so that he can marry his business partner's 11 year old daughter, with her having spent a few more years living at the normal rate so she'll be in her early 20's. And this is DEEPLY WRONG AND CREEPY.

Do read the first few pages for the cat bit if you see a copy, though.

Connie Willis: Blackout / All Clear

More time travel, which I swear is coincidence; I didn't know what the The Door Into Summer was about (beyond the cat bit) when I picked it up at the library. This is another one in set in Willis's universe where time travel is monopolized by Oxford historians, this time with several characters stuck in WWII England. I liked the depictions of life in London during the Blitz. I could have stood more of the Bletchley Park aside, if only because it was one of the few places where we see the kind of humor prevalent in To Say Nothing of the Dog. On the other hand, there's a trick with the viewpoints that Willis plays on the reader which (IMO) is completely unjustified, and I hope to never see again. And in the end, a romance is tacked on that follows a similar template to the one in The Door Into Summer, but with the genders reversed, which was only moderately creepy, but I never felt that the female character involved had a particularly good reason to have any interest in a romance there.

Jay Lake: Green
Hi Jay Lake! Jay Lake has a Google Alert. So, hmm. There's a euphemism for "vagina" that I would very much like to unread.

There's a secondary world setting split between alt-Europe and alt-India, with gods that are real, and through which people can do magical things. I liked that. It was veryvery serious the whole time, which I liked less. There's a bit with Green and another teenage girl having sex, which aside from inevitably involving vaginas and running into the problem above, is veryvery serious, with no laughing whatsoever, and while I must stress that I WOULD NOT KNOW what teenage girls having sex is like, I imagine that if it's anything like anything else they do, there's a lot of giggling.

I wonder about the story of the white chick on the cover. (I refuse to believe it is Green, who is not that light-skinned.) I imagine a model from that world's future's version of a former Soviet Republic who was offered a gig in a photoshoot reënacting pieces of Green's story. And she took it, because, hey, it was safer than porn, and they promised the cuts would barely scar, and the rich foreigners in charge were offering a sum that she would normally make in a year for three days work. And I wonder whose story is sadder, the model's, because when Green cut herself it meant her freedom, and not just a paycheck, or Green, because at least the model gets to hang out with her friends and sometimes laugh, and Green never does.

John Scalzi: Agent to the Stars
This wasn't even remotely serious, and there was no lesbian sex, although if there was, you know that they'd giggle, and possibly sprout tentacles, and maybe it's a good thing that there wasn't any then. Recommended.
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