Yes, life is the opposite of rare and precious. It’s everywhere; it’s wet and sticky; it has all the restraint of a toddler left too long at day care without a juice box. And life, in all its infinite and tender intergalactic variety, would have gravely disappointed poor gentle-eyed Enrico Fermi had he lived only a little longer, for it is deeply, profoundly, execrably stupid.
I was expecting funny, and I was expecting space and all the sci-fi vibes, but I was not expecting the deeply philosophical, edgy writing that has more than a tint of Terry Pratchett-like anger lurking around the edges, giving the tone of the writing a definite red hue.
But in the end, all wars are more or less the same. If you dig down through the layers of caramel corn and peanuts and choking, burning death, you’ll find the prize at the bottom and the prize is a question and the question is this: Which of us are people and which of us are meat?
Of course we are people, don’t be ridiculous. But thee? We just can’t be sure.
On Enrico Fermi’s small, watery planet, it could be generally agreed upon, for example, that a chicken was not people, but a physicist was. Ditto for sheep, pigs, mosquitoes, brine shrimp, squirrels, seagulls, and so on and so forth on the one hand, and plumbers, housewives, musicians, congressional aides, and lighting designers on the other. This was a fairly easy call (for the physicists, anyway), as brine shrimp were not overly talkative, squirrels failed to make significant headway in the fields of technology and mathematics, and seagulls were clearly unburdened by reason, feeling, or remorse. Dolphins, gorillas, and pharmaceutical sales representatives were considered borderline cases. In the final tally, Homo sapiens sapiens made the cut, and no one else could get served in the higher-end sentience establishments. Except that certain members of the clade felt that a human with very curly hair or an outsize nose or too many gods or not enough or who enjoyed somewhat spicier food or was female or just happened to occupy a particularly nice bit of shady grass by a river was no different at all than a wild pig, even if she had one head and two arms and two legs and no wings and was a prize-winning mathematician who very, very rarely rolled around in mud. Therefore, it was perfectly all right to use, ignore, or even slaughter those sorts like any other meat.
No one weeps for meat, after all.
I was also not expecting the prolific number of run-on sentences.
But so far it's all working and it's working brilliantly. So far, I really, really like Catherynne M. Valente.
Plus, who wouldn't love a purple flamingo showing up in their flat?