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review 2017-09-08 19:27
Grass / Sheri S. Tepper
Grass - Sheri S. Tepper

Generations ago, humans fled to the cosmic anomaly known as Grass. But before humanity arrived, another species had already claimed Grass for its own. It too had developed a culture......

Now a deadly plague is spreading across the stars, leaving no planet untouched, save for Grass. But the secret of the planet's immunity hides a truth so shattering it could mean the end of life itself.

 

There’s a lot of things going on in Grass. Religion, tradition, health & illness, education, relationships—all these things get batted around during the course of the book, and that’s a big load for just 500+ pages, but not unusual in a planetary romance of this sort. However I liked the main character, Marjorie Westriding, with her love of her horses, her ability to ask the right questions of the right people, and the willingness to put herself in danger.

As in her book The Gate to Women’s Country, Tepper explores human relationship territory in which men and women seem to talk past one another, with Rodrigo not taking Marjorie seriously enough and Marjorie taking him way too seriously. They do approach mutual comprehension several times during crises, only to back away quickly.

Also explored is the issue of who is worth caring for. The church of Sanctity has decided to let the plague run its course and the resurrect only a chosen few (although they refuse to admit publically that there’s a plague at all). Marjorie has done charitable work, helping the people who have run afoul of Sanctity, and wonders why they are treated so unfairly, even if it’s according to the church’s rule-book. When she & Rodrigo change planets, she begins to wonder if the native creatures of Grass give or receive consideration? What about the noble class on Grass, who believe themselves in charge but are actually humoured by the so-called lower class who run the planet’s economy and are much more educated than the aristocrats? When aristocratic children are abducted and abused by the mysterious Hippae on Grass, are they heartlessly forgotten by their parents or are their minds being controlled? And ultimately, are the people of Grass, who are immune to the plague, obliged to do anything for the rest of humanity?

Unsurprisingly the aristocrats and the priests come out of this tale looking poorly and I can’t help but think that Tepper had colonialism in mind as she crafted this tale. I can see where I’m going to get thinking about this tale for several days to come. Also, I’m disappointed to note that the following two Arbai books follow different characters—no more Marjorie.

Book 262 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy reading project.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-03 08:19
August 2017 — A Wrap-Up for the Month of Graphic Novels & Comics

 

 

The previous month was all about graphic novels and comics. Here is what I read in August and what I thought about it:

 

Monster of Frankenstein Vol. 1

 

1

 

As part of Project Frankenstein, this volume failed to make an impression. I was sad to see that all the stories missed the most essential characteristic present in the monster from the original work: its intelligence. This monster came off as a creature on a rampage. Even where it was shown to be clever, it was in an evil sort of a way.

 

Anyway, another book that I can cross off my list!

 

Kamala has my heart and is keeping it as far as I can see. The humor is amazing, I mean references to Dune, Spiderman’s wisecracks, and keeping things real— the comic has it all!

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A Plague of Angels

 

2

 

I enjoyed the heck outta this book and have reviewed it in detail here.

 

Gotham Academy: Endgame #1 &

Annual #1

Gotham.jpg

 

These were cute and nerdy but I am still not too crazy about them.

 

Preacher, Volumes 1, 2, & 3

 

Preacher.jpg

 

Irreverrent as heck but funny and kick-you-in-the-gut sad too. If you can get past the first issue or two, then you are going to love it. If you are easily offended, this might not be the thing for you!

 

Raptor Red

 

5

 

I have already reviewed this one in detail and on Instagram; it was part of my Books&Chai series. Read my expression of Dino-Mania here.

 

Original post: https://midureads.wordpress.com/2017/09/03/august-2017-a-wrap-up-for-the-month-of-graphic-novels-comics/

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text 2017-08-25 21:24
Reading progress update: I've read 20 out of 544 pages.
Grass - Sheri S. Tepper

It feels good to be getting back into my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project again, after 3 months of impulsive romance & urban fantasy choices.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-09 08:42
A Review of the Feminist Fantasy book, A Plague of Angels, by Sheri Tepper in 6 Quotes
A Plague of Angels - Sheri S. Tepper

 

My second Tepper read was succulently good! I wanted to savor the book, so I took my time with it. I am sharing my favorite parts of the book here like I do in most reviews. However, this time, I have chosen 6 quotes that sum up how I felt about the book.

 

Quote # 1

Sometimes, it was the way the author described an emotion, such as the horror that a character felt when the Witch took her mask off.

 

 

Quote # 2

Other times, it was how a character expressed a philosophical thought about gangers simplifying language to such an extreme that they started looking down at poetry and literature. The quote below reminded me of the restrictions being placed on characters in the novel 1984.

 

If you take out the different words that describe completely different things that are also the same, what are you left with? For instance, I think love when I read the word, red. I don’t think that when I come across scarlet because I associate it with scandal. Then there is crimson, which reminds me of blood.  

 

 

Quotes # 3 & 4

Then there were times when a character stated the truth in the simplest manner. The line is easy to miss with so much else that is going on. Yet, if you stop and think about it, there is depth in those words. Two particular examples that made me shudder are mentioned below:

 

 

 

Quote # 5

As were the times when a character who is still young and inexperienced said something profound. I went back and read this quote multiple times because it resonated with me. If you find it touching your heart too, you might want to check out my review of The Handmaid’s Tale.

 

 

Quote # 6

Finally, there were some parts that sparked something in me. While reading them, I thought I could base my next story on these lines. I find that the books that end up on my favorites’ shelf have that in common. I think that each line in those books could be hiding a story in itself.

 

 

I would very much love to read the second book in the series even though it would be lacking one of my favorite characters from this one. Care to join me for a buddy read?

 

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review 2017-03-10 17:07
The Gate to Women's Country / Sheri S. Tepper
The Gate to Women's Country - Sheri S. Tepper

Tepper's finest novel to date is set in a post-holocaust feminist dystopia that offers only two political alternatives: a repressive polygamist sect that is slowly self-destructing through inbreeding and the matriarchal dictatorship called Women's Country. Here, in a desperate effort to prevent another world war, the women have segregated most men into closed military garrisons and have taken on themselves every other function of government, industry, agriculture, science and learning.

The resulting manifold responsibilities are seen through the life of Stavia, from a dreaming 10-year-old to maturity as doctor, mother and member of the Marthatown Women's Council. As in Tepper's Awakeners series books, the rigid social systems are tempered by the voices of individual experience and, here, by an imaginative reworking of The Trojan Woman that runs through the text. A rewarding and challenging novel that is to be valued for its provocative ideas.

 

Very much a product of its time! Post-nuclear war, societies are sorting themselves out and we get to witness two ways of dealing with things. One is very, very matriarchal, the other over-the-top patriarchal. As I began reading, I started with the impression that I was exploring a very patriarchal set-up. Fooled me! Yes, the women and men live (mostly) separately and the women must present sons to the warriors to be raised in warrior culture. But women control almost everything else (medicine, agriculture, trading, education, etc.). Not very religious, but any references present are based on Greek mythology. Sex is viewed as healthy & desirable as long as disease is prevented.

On the other extreme is a community apparently organized much like the polygamist culture in Bountiful, B.C. and in Utah. Older men appropriate all the women & girls for their own “harems,” leaving the young men frustrated and angry. Sex is viewed as an evil necessity, but still avidly desired and “religiously” pursued. Very religious society, based on the Judaeo-Christian model.

Although the author does seem to favour the matriarchal culture, my impression from the book is that she wanted to show that NEITHER extreme is desirable and that both fail in crucial aspects. Perhaps influenced by Margaret Atwood’s excellent The Handmaid’s Tale as well as other post-apocalyptic novels of the 70s and 80s. A bit dated today, but worth reminding ourselves that we can co-operate together to run society fairly.

Book 247 in my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.

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