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review 2019-06-22 12:01
Eurovision in Space
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

So exactly what it says, the Eurovision in Space only the first time you enter you have to not place last so your species survives. It's a bit twisted and idea driven but very interesting.

 

It's not a bad read but I'm not sure it's a Hugo worthy read.

 

Part of the Hugo read.  I now have read half of the nominees.  Two require I read others first and are part of the series nominees and the other is The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal.

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text 2019-06-11 13:45
Reading progress update: I've read 72 out of 304 pages.
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

This is being a bit of a bear to read, I'm alternating reading it with others.  It's funny but it seems to be trying too hard, cohesively it's jumpy and there are funny moments but they pale in comparison to other funny writers.

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review 2019-03-28 08:06
Space Opera
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

I hemmed and hawed over whether to give this 4 or 4.5 stars.  While generally, 4 stars is sort of my default for 'this was good', in this case, several pertinent facts should be kept in mind:

 

- I don't like space related books.  

 

- I don't like fantasy books that involve names I can't pronounce without physically hurting myself.

 

- I am not a fan of Eurovision.

 

Given all this, my 4 stars is a downright declaration of adoration.

 

(For the record, I didn't go with 4.5 stars because the story sagged a bit mid-way and I thought the deus ex machina at the end was both predictable and disappointing because she went there.)

 

Valente wrote a truly exceptional book.  I loved the writing, though the run-on sentences took a while to get used to; MT got his fair share of dark looks whenever he spoke to me while I was reading this, as it often meant I had to go back to the beginning of the paragraph/sentence and start over again.  But her biting satire, her anger tinged humor and her way of calling humanity out while holding it up was almost miraculous for the balancing act involved.  

 

I'd recommend this to almost anybody, though some might find Valente's refreshing honesty and brutal truth confronting.  

 

Speaking of brutal truths, I'll leave you with Goguenar Gorecannon's 11th General Unkillable Fact (you were right BT, it is sadly too long to put on a t-shirt):

 

You can't stop people being assholes.  They do love it so.  The best you can hope for is that some people, sometimes, will turn out to be somewhat less than the absolute worst. When they manage to trip and fall over that incredibly low bar, they'll make you want to end it all.  But when they leap over it, they'll make you believe this whole mess really was created for a reason...

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text 2019-03-26 09:54
Reading progress update: I've read 225 out of 304 pages.
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

"Now, this personification of mediocrity would like to ask–humbly–what barbarity her betters are discussing?"

 

"This!" Oort threw up his hands. "Everything! All of it! You must know it is.  It's pure savagery."

 

[...]

 

... does not wish to presume she has the right to disagree with such a wise and discerning mind, but may I ask—have you got any lions left?"

 

"P-pardon?" Oort stuttered.

 

"It is unsurprising that this supremely useless melted ice cube failed to make herself understood. Her speech must be as an infection of ear mites to you. On your planet. Have you got any lions left?"

 

Oort and Decibel glanced at each other. "Well, no, not... overly," Oort admitted. "No. They went extinct a few years back."

 

"Please forgive the arrogance of a being who cannot even dream of becoming a hat rack for the use of those as exalted as yourselves, but strictly speaking, they didn't go extinct, you made them extinct. Because they were carnivores. Because they were carnivores and they didn't look like you or think like you or talk like you, and they were a danger to you and yours, or at least they were years and years ago, because you're made of the sort of thing they like to eat."

 

"I suppose, but . . ."

 

"Even knowing that I am a discarded Popsicle stick on the sidewalk of intellectual discourse and thus wholly incapable of higher-order thinking, I beg you to tolerate the shrill and childlike whine of my asking: How about rhinoceroses? Dodos? Giraffes? Those are herbivores, so they presented no danger to the continuation of your species, but you wiped them out all the same. To a one. And then there are the more immediately pertinent examples of the Lakota, the Cree, the Aboriginal Tasmanians. Now, please tell this execrable excuse for a sentient being who is not worthy to receive your diseased secondhand blankets, before you cut the throat of the last lion or rhinoceros or dodo or Mayan farmer, did you let them sing a song? Did you let them lay down a beat? Did you let them dance for their lives? Did you let them try to prove to you that there was more in them than just a longing to eat and breed and lie in the sun and die with a full belly?"

 

Oort thought he was going to be sick. "N-no."

 

"Mmm," said Nessuno Uuf. The moons of Litost shone in through the sky bar windows, illuminating the beautiful bone knives of her face. "Barbaric. Of course, what can someone like me know?" 

 

 

**MIC DROP**

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text 2019-03-25 08:46
Reading progress update: I've read 163 out of 304 pages.
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

How much do I love Valente's explanation of wormholes (and what they have to do with cows)?  A lot.

 

At just before the halfway mark, I think I might have hit the draggy bit BrokenTune mentioned, though it's not horribly draggy; I can't imagine how you'd make an 11 day trip through space any more exciting and still have all the players survive until performance day.  The chapter as told from the cat's POV, however, while definitely not exciting (you're just getting the snippets Capo hears between napping), is particularly brilliant when you think about it.  Valente found a perfect way to impart information needed for character development without boring the reader into stasis. 

 

In this bit, I think my favorite part is Goguenar Gorecannon's General Unkillable Facts.

 

First General Fact:  Life is beautiful and life is stupid. [...] You can only ever fix one of these at a time, and wouldn't it be nice if anyone could agree on which one was the bigger problem?

 

I want this on a t-shirt.  I'd wear this t-shirt all. the. time.  

 

and her Second Unkillable Fact:

For everything that exists, somewhere in the universe, there is a creature that eats it, breaths it, f*cks it, wears it, secretes, perspires, exhales or excretes it.

 

Valente certainly has a way of putting things into perspective, doesn't she?

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