Spider Robinson makes some jarring narrative decisions throughout the book! The most jarring for me has to be the end of chapter fifteen where Isham is in too big of a hurry to explain why he’s on “red alert” and why he’s summoned a Musky cavalry but has enough time to dispense a lecture about using grain alcohol as a fuel instead of gasoline. (Robinson is often info dumpy in this way, but this was particularly dumpy.) Continue reading
Tag Archives: science fiction
Seven Stories Press
Fledgling is another one of those books that took me a while to get around to reading. I was not entirely sure what to think when I first heard that Octavia Butler was going to write a vampire novel. (Let’s just say there was some metaphorical pearl-clutching and leave it at that.) I do not really like vampire novels all that much, even though I always seem to end up reading them. (Most urban fantasy novels have vamps in them. There is no escape.) Continue reading
What is interesting here is that from Isham’s point of view, things like racism, homophobia and sexism are non-issues. (Of course, he considers homosexuality to be a non-issue because there is only one homosexual person in the entire world.) Isham has experienced bigoted individuals such as Alia’s father, but he has been more or less sheltered from actual systemic racism. Contrast this with Jordan (or even Jacob Stone) who have experienced systemic racism and whose personalities have been shaped by it. When Jordan tries to get Isham riled up and knocked of balance by calling Isham “boy,” Isham doesn’t even realize that he should react. Jordan seems to read Isham’s non-familiarity as evidence that Isham “acts white.” (Jordan also levels this accusation at Isham’s father.)
We know from part three that Helen Phinney has been carrying a torch for Isham’s Dad. What we do not know is if those feelings had been returned. All we know about the relationship is from Isham, and he phrased the relationship as Helen being in love with Jacob Stone. (This kind of makes sense, because Jacob seems like an emotionally distant person. and is highly unlikely to talk about his relationship with his son.) We also know that when asked, Jacob said that he wasn’t going to marry her because she was white. It is pretty clear that Isham does not really understand why this might be an issue. Continue reading
Just before the ship’s arrival at the space station, he learns the full extent of the information Ramirez withheld from both his crew and the planetary governments he had been negotiating with. It turns out that the space station was attacked as a result of Ramirez completely screwing up a first contact with the aliens he encountered. (Hint: Not replying to an attempt to communicate and then zipping for home can generally be seen as a hostile action by anyone with a brain.) Continue reading
The Papal Stakes is mostly about various attempts to rescue Frank Stone and his wife. It is also about pope Urban trying to decide whether he wants to accept the help of the USE. In addition, we have a great deal of debate on whether or not Grantville is part of some vast plot conceived by Satan. (The debate is not very interesting or exciting however.) Continue reading
So far, our mental image of Carlson is of a radical mad-scientist type. The guy who worked with him (Our Hero’s Father) has Carlson pegged as a somewhat pathetic anarchist would-be rebel without a clue, an ivory tower liberal who desperately wants to be a social justice ally. (Who is primarily frustrated by not being considered a social justice ally of the groups he wants to defend.) Someone we are primed to dislike intensely because he is an ivory tower academic liberal.
Our Hero’s Father, Jacob Stone on the other hand, is self-defined as an absent minded professor and a slightly pompous, distant authority figure. The elder Stone has basically turned his son Isham into a weapon to be directed at the villain of the piece! Isham doesn’t mind very much, as he is completely on board with the entire killing Carlson thing.
This is going to be important later. Continue reading