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review 2018-11-09 11:45
Saturnalia-like SF: "Heritage and Exile" by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Heritage and Exile - Marion Zimmer Bradley


(Original Review, 1980-10-22)



Boy, are you going to get answers to this/ query! (Darkover tends to arouse very strong opinions). The Darkover stories comprise about a dozen novels and a few shorts by Marion Zimmer Bradley, plus a lot of (fortunately) mostly unobtainable fan fiction. Darkover is a harsh world with a few cities and a basically feudal/manorial social structure complicated by the presence of psionic faculties ("laran") in most of the aristocracy and many of the commoners.
 
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
 
 

 

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review 2017-09-22 23:06
Darkover Landfall
Darkover Landfall - Marion Zimmer Bradley

Erf. I've started re-reading this series, because I remember how much I loved it when I was a teenager... but damn, I didn't remember this one was so bad. (Or is it because I sometimes used to like shite as a teenager, and that was part of it?)

The story in itself is not uninteresting, all the more since it's THE origins book in the Darkover series, but the relationships... especially the way women are viewed and treated... Wow. That was one special level of bad.

I can sort of accept a patriarchal society, women being treated as wombs, etc. in the more 'medieval-like' novels of the series, because 1) it fits a certain conception of 'dark ages obscurantism', as cliché as that may be, and 2) as far as I remember, in those books, it was often presented as something that isn't so good: while it does remain infuriating, it's part of the conflict underlying those narratives.

Here, though, in a group of engineers, colonists, space crew, scientists, where men and women have similar levels of skills, with gender equality laws on Earth? Nope. Doesn't sit with me. Especially not as soon as pregnancies enter the picture, and give yet another reason for males (and some women!) to be patronising, chalk every reaction to 'she's pregnant', veer towards gaslighting at times (because obviously, the guys in the story know better than Judy Lovat who's the father of her child), and go spouting crap about how not wanting children is some sort of mental illness. Camilla's arc was particularly painful, because, yes, she is being reduced to a walking womb, what's with the doctor even threatening to sedate her during her pregnancy (actually, it does happen once), like some kind of stupid, ignorant being who needs to be locked for her own good. Empowering much, right?

So basically, you get accidentally pregnant (not through any fault of hers—ghost wind was to blame, same for her partner), while you thought your contraceptive was doing its job, you don't want to have a child, but you're denied an abortion. OK. Not cool. In the context of colonists stranded on a hostile planet, that poses an interesting conundrum (= it's obvious that either they need to spawn as much as possible, or they'll die in one or two generations). However, was it really necessary to lay it in such rude and demeaning ways? The Battlestar Galactica reboot has a similar subplot, but the episode about it was at least treated with much more gravitas and moral ambiguity.

It is also important to note that, no, Camilla didn't sign up for this, so treating her as a spoiled kid throwing a tantrum was inappropriate. Putting it back into context: she's an engineer and programmer, she signed up to be part of the ship's crew during the trip, not to be a colonist meant to help populate a new planet. And even in the event of staying on that colony, it would've been in a society where she would've had a few years to make the decision.

(spoiler show)



I have no idea if anyone considers this book as a 'feminist' work, but if you do, please stop. This is not feminist, it's patriarchy at its worst: insidious.

[To be fair, I didn't remember this book as being the best in the series either, nor my favourite at all, so I'm still going to try rereading 2-3 others.]

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text 2017-06-04 14:28
3rd June 2017
The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley

Remain true to yourself, child. If you know your own heart, you will always have one friend who does not lie.

 

Marion Zimmer Bradley

 

Best known for The Mists of Avalon, a Camelot retelling, Marion Zimmer Bradley (born June 3, 1930) also wrote LGBT pulp fiction as well as several fantasy series, including the popular Darkover series. She began her writing career by publishing fanzines as a teenager.

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text 2017-06-02 19:56
Set aside @ 60% or so
The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley

This audiobook is 50 hours long, which I've concluded is way too effing long for a single audiobook. Davina Porter is a fabulous reader, and did a terrific job with the source material, but I'm simply unable to take it anymore. I need a break. I hit a good stopping point, so stopping I am.

 

Someone should've drowned Gwenhwyfar at birth. The fall of Camelot is her fault because she was an annoying, barren, self-pitying, self-righteous, demanding, shallow, whiny (oh, my, god, the whining) twat. May she die an inglorious death.

 

That's all I've got at this point.

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text 2017-05-25 15:58
Reading progress update: I've read 50%.
The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley

I have been listening to this 50 hour audiobook for what now feels like forever, & I am only 1/2 way through. It's so freaking long that it has been broken up into 6 smaller parts, and I just started part 4.

 

The narrator, Davina Porter, is incomparable. She also narrated the Outlander series, so I knew she was fantastic going in, and was one of the reasons that I decided to listen to this book.

 

However, Guinevere is on my last fucking nerve. I don't think I've ever encountered an adaptation where she was more annoying. 

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