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Search tags: interlibrary-loan
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text 2017-08-16 22:01
Status: Currently drowning in ILL books
Parasite Eve - Hideaki Sena

I got another one in today. On the plus side, this one will probably work for Halloween Bingo. On the minus side, I seem to be in some kind of combination reading and reviewing slump at the moment.

 

ETA: But if I wait to start this until September, I'll have less than two weeks to finish it before it's due. Argh. If only this ILL deluge had waited another week or two.

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review 2017-08-15 19:46
Imago / Octavia Butler
Imago - Octavia E. Butler

In the third book of her Xenogenesis series, Octavia Butler gives us the alien’s perspective.  It makes the Oankali marginally less creepy, but only a tiny bit.  Butler excels at creating truly alien life forms, with wildly different forms of reproduction.

 

The Oankali having stinging cells and tentacles, giving them some resemblance to jellyfish (Cniderians) in our world, but they are upright walking, hand-and-arm-possessing, intelligent life forms.  And, it turns out, they have a three stage metamorphosis like Earth’s insects do.  This installment follows that mysterious third sex, the Ooloi, as one of Lilith’s children matures sexually into the adult form (hence the title, Imago).

 

In the first book, the Oankali have rescued the small remainder of humanity from a disaster of their own creation and have begun combining the two species.  That’s what the Ooankali do and they consider it their payment for their rescue services, but that’s not what it looks like or feels like to humans.  Lilith gradually becomes convinced that she won’t be allowed to live as human and reluctantly gets involved with the aliens, although it is against her true wishes.

 

In the second book, we follow Lilith’s construct child, Akin, who actually has five parents and who understands the relationship between the two species better than either the humans or the Oankali.  He sees the basic incompatibility between the two species but also how they can also become compatible.  Seemingly a paradox, which Akin reveals as a prejudice of the Oankali against humanity—we’ve always known that humans are prejudiced against the aliens.

 

This third installment reveals just how much the Oankali need and long for relationships with humans.  To this point, they have seemed very unemotional, almost clinical, in their desire to revitalize their own DNA through incorporation of the human genome.  Jodahs, who is metamorphosing into one of the mysterious Ooloi, shows us the depth of feeling, the intense sexual need, and indeed the pain of separation that we have been missing so far in the story.

 

Despite gaining understanding, the whole sexual system of the Oankali feels deeply creepy.  The human male and female in the sexual constellation experience repulsion when they touch one another directly, but when joined by an Ooloi, experience intense sexual pleasure.  Pheromones by the Ooloi make the situation addictive—being apart from one’s group becomes torment.

 

Butler is skillful in her refusal to “pick a side.”  She provides logical reasons for the aliens’ behaviour and points out both the logical and totally illogical responses of humanity.  She explores co-operation, coercion, limited choice, and unequal power without making it obvious which species she favours.

 

In some ways, this series makes me think of Arthur Clarke’s Childhood’s End, in that humanity is being absorbed into a genetic continuum, but likely won’t survive on its own ever again.  Do we mourn the loss or celebrate what survives?

 

Book 260 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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text 2017-08-15 18:18
Yet another book via ILL
Jane Jensen: Gabriel Knight, Adventure Games, Hidden Objects (Influential Video Game Designers) - Jennifer deWinter,Carly A. Kocurek,Anastasia Salter

I normally try not to submit more than a couple interlibrary loan requests, but I've been breaking that personal rule a lot lately and now everything seems to be coming in at once. I have three ILL books checked out at the moment, with another two or three that could come in at any time.

 

It's iffy whether I'll manage to read and finish this. I'm not really that good with nonfiction, except in audio form. Still, I thought it might be interesting to read about Jane Jensen, who I know primarily as the creator of the Gabriel Knight adventure games.

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text 2017-08-14 21:56
Just arrived via ILL
The Drops of God 2 - Tadashi Agi,Shu Okimoto

Ooh, it's time for more wine tasting education and characters communicating via wine. Based on the end of volume 1, this volume will probably feature a contest between affordable French wines and affordable Italian wines.

 

I happened to look at the last page while getting the ISBN, and there's a character I don't recognize sadly admitting that she has amnesia. Will volume 3 show her regaining her memories via wine tasting? I suspect I'll eventually find out.

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review 2017-08-08 20:05
Thunder Heights / Phyllis A. Whitney
Thunder Heights - Phyllis A. Whitney

When Camilla King's grandfather leaves her the family estate in his will, she is shocked. Before her summons to his deathbed, she had never met any of her late mother's relatives. Although the rest of the family clearly does not want her there, Camilla honors her grandfather's wish and becomes the mistress of the magnificent Thunder Heights.

But along with the grand house, Camilla has inherited a legacy of hatred and secrets. Not knowing who, if anyone, she can trust, Camilla searches for the truth about her mother's death. Soon she begins to suspect that it was no accident, but rather murder.

 

 

 

***2017 Summer Lovin’ Reading List***

A disappointment, as I had high hopes of Phyllis Whitney. So many gothic romances are set in England, at first I found it refreshing to read one set in New York instead. But I just couldn’t connect with the heroine, Camilla King, who seemed to be unrealistically naïve, especially for someone who had been through so much loss and was supporting herself through governessing.

The big party that happens close to the book’s ending would have been better placed in the middle or slightly before that, and to have introduced at least one other man into Camilla’s sphere of influence. As things stood, as a reader I knew she would have to end up with either the artist or the engineer/advisor. Whitney spent very little time letting Camilla form relationships with either one of them. As a result, when the choice was made at the end, I just couldn’t feel it was realistic—she barely knew the man she ended up with.

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