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review 2014-07-04 14:56
DNF...Again
DarkShip Thieves - Sarah A. Hoyt

This is the second science fiction book I've had to DNF in less than a week due to stomach-turning ableism. 

 

I mean, not that that's the only problem. There's some misogyny vaguely disguised as pseudo-feminism, fucktons of gender essentialism, some mind-boggling Libertarian-esque politics that make no sense at all (a society that has survived 250 years with no laws, just contracts? How are those contracts even reinforced?), an anti-polyamory attitude (loving more than one person? how weird!), and a heroine with a supposed--and inexplicable--knack for making trouble and having people hate her wherever she goes (no in text evidence of this is ever really presented) and an even more inexplicable name of Athena Hera Sinistra. 

 

Early on in the book, however, I found myself flinching as the main character thought, basically, why be born with a disability if you don't have to. This is an atrociously ableist attitude, especially since most things that are disabilities are disabling due more than anything else to societies inflexibility. It's basically saying entire groups of people should cease to exist so that "normal" people can continue to always be catered to. I winced and tried to move on.

 

Then this happens:

 

The parking attendant made me flinch, because she was obviously mentally deficient. I'd seen mentally deficient people on Earth before, of course, but none with six arms [...]

(The arms, for clarification, are part of a freaking suit that assists her with her work, not part of her body. Athena is just ignorant of this.) Okay, first of all, fuck you. Second of all, FUCK YOU. Mentally deficient? Mentally deficient!? Just how fucking gross can you be? Athena literally flinches because OMG a person with a different brain than hers! Noes! You wouldn't think it could get more disgusting, but it does:

 

As we walked out of the garage I was silent, filled with horror at what had been done to this poor woman. Given the ability to bioengineer your children in the bio-womb, why have a deficient one at all? And if you chose to have one, why have her so grotesquely...dehumanized?

 

I reiterate: FUCK YOU. Excuse me? Her having extra arms (which again, she in fact does not) is "grotesquely dehumanized" but calling her mentally deficient and questioning her right to exist isn't? Just...just...

 

 

Nothing is more dehumanizing than this attitude. It's horrible. And then it turns out that the reason this woman is "mentally deficient" is because she wasn't bioengineered, which is spoken of much in the same way sensible people would criticize parents who won't vaccinate their children or refuse to get them medical care due to religious reasons. Like it's irresponsible to allow neuroatypical people to exist in the world. Like it's worse to let people be themselves than to completely eradicate entire swathes of neurotypes.

 

Of course, the suit with all the arms is there to assist the disabled woman in her job, which "allows the poor thing to earn a living." Because let's devalue her further by insisting her life is utterly worthless if she can't make money.

 

Joy, a society that eradicates disabled people and treats them like shit when they do exist. Fun fun. Did I mention there are no people of color in this society, because all the bioed people who escaped Earth 250 years ago were apparently white? 

 

Excuse me, I have to figure out whether I want to puke or cry. 

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review 2014-06-30 18:44
DNF: Bad Author! No Cookie! EVER!
Natural History - Justina Robson

It's fairly rare that I stop reading a book as early as I quit Natural History, but it deserved it. There I am, on the train into Copenhagen, when I get slapped in the face with this:

 

Frosty-assed and autistic, she was; he didn't want to touch her.

 

I sat in stunned silence for a while, blinking, wondering if I read that correctly. I read it again, several times. Finally, feeling like I'd been punched in the gut, I showed it to my husband.

 

The character in question is not, to my knowledge, autistic. Even if she was, that would be a fucked up thing to write, but she wasn't, and what the ever loving fuck? Not that I think there is a context in which that would ever be okay, but in context, it appears to be a slur.

 

A slur.

 

What the fucking fucking fuck? What ever possessed the author to think that was all right? No. No, no, no, no, no. Fuck that. Fuck this book, and fuck this author. My neurology is not an insult. This is gross and hurtful and seriously, fuck you.

 

This piece of shit is going back to the bookstore ASAP. 

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text 2013-10-06 16:15
6%
Every Which Way - Calia Read

 

 

The girls she’d insulted earlier were dressed like they were about to catch a flight to Cabo. Severine stopped a groan from emerging from her throat. There should be a shirt for all girls like them. Not even that... maybe a club. Their slogan: Destroying the impression of girls everywhere since the word ‘tramp stamp’ was invented.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2013-09-30 10:28
More like AWFULLY DISASTROUS.
Beautiful Disaster - Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Disaster has inspired me to create a shelf named WORST-BOOK-EVER which will contain just this book.


If I started to review this piece of shit I think I might never stop because it was that pathetic. Even words will fail to express what I felt after finishing a book with standards so low that I'm even considering giving Twilight 2 stars in comparison to this.


This book was just a diluted version of 50 Shades of Grey with lesser violent sex scenes but a more violent character.
Travis, my son, you NEED to see a psychiatrist, you're not normal and as for Abby, you should just fuck yourself, you have no dignity, no self respect and you bring shame on womankind. The so-portrayed relationship between the two of you is NOT romantic. None of this is romantic, it is just pure psychotic behavior. No one in real life would want a lunatic, unbalanced boyfriend like Travis, believe me.I have seen a violent relationship, - it was someone very close to me actually - where the guy dominated the girl to no extent and trust me on my word the girl did NOT find it romantic, she felt mentally harassed and tried her best to get out of that relationship as soon as possible. 

Its really hard to believe that a woman has written this book, it is just so shallow and shameful. I live in India and I see women fight for equality ever single day...seeing this kind of stuff written by an American where women have already achieved the equal status after so much of struggle breaks my heart. 

Okay, now I really need to stop or else all hell will break lose and I will start ranting.
In my opinion the best review of this book can be found here - Sophia.'s review

INTENSE. DANGEROUS. ADDICTIVE can kiss my ass!

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review 2013-09-27 23:19
Anomaly, by Krista McGee: Heavy Christian fiction with some sheer YA window-dressing
Anomaly - Krista McGee

For this reader, Anomaly was true to its name, in that its sheer level of terrible landed it on my rarely-used "too-awful-to-finish" shelf.

 

A YA dystopian? Sure, I'll give it a whirl. A YA dystopian that beats me over the head with the author's particular brand of religion and is more than a little short on character development, believable worldbuilding, and plot? Pardon me while I Hail Mary the book like there's five seconds left in the Super Bowl and I'm Tom Brady trying to finish off a crazy comeback.  

 

I ran across this book in July while perusing my library's new YA ebook purchases. There were already quite a few people on the hold list, which piqued my interest, and the blurb looked okay at first glance, so I signed up for it. I waited nearly three months for my turn to arrive and finally today I received a message saying the book was available. Excited, I downloaded Anomaly, plopped down in my favorite chair, and settled in with my Kindle to read it.

 

That's when I discovered that this book treats people like they're heathen tent pegs that can be forced into the desired position on religion if hit hard and often enough with a Christian hammer.

 

I'm not knee-jerk hating on this book simply because it involves religion. In the past, I've enjoyed a variety of stories that included or were based on religious themes and elements, with Cynthia Hand's Unearthly series being a prime example. Anomaly contains a ton of evangelical Christian messages and biblical quotes; however, things like characters that are sufficiently developed for the reader to give a rat's ass about them and a coherent plot are notably absent. To me, the MC, Thalli (yes, the kids in this book are named after elements from the periodic table, because Evil Scientists), was about as interesting and appealing as a bowl of cold oatmeal. She's supposed to be a huge danger to the Pod where she lives BECAUSE SHE HAS EMOTIONS AND NO ONE ELSE DOES, OH NOES! But she doesn't do much of anything, so it was hard for me to take that portrayal at all seriously. Now, I will freely admit that I couldn't make myself finish this book (a rare event for me), so it's possible Thalli becomes a dynamic and fascinating character by the end. It could have happened. For all I know, it did happen. I'm just saying I doubt it.

 

The contemptuous portrayal of science and scientists is another extremely disturbing aspect of Anomaly. Yeah, scientists, those evil jerks. What have they ever done for the world? It gets even worse when Thalli encounters a plot device man named John who tells her about the almighty Designer. And of course, we're talking about a very evangelical-friendly Christian version of said Designer. From that point on, we're on our way into Preachytown by way of the Science Is Bad line, and it's one hell of a fast ride.

 

I shouldn't have assumed the book would be an entertaining read for me on the basis of a generic blurb and a long waiting list at my local library. That was stupid on my part, especially considering that I live in an area that's home to a large evangelical college; I know my tastes often don't coincide with the local general consensus. Now, there are plenty of ways to include religious ideas and elements in a story so that readers of any (or no) faith enjoy it, so Anomaly's strong appeal to people who are very religious didn't automatically make it a miss for me. But the way the author shifted quickly from storytelling into preaching and stayed there (with an occasional jump into proselytizing for variety) definitely moved it into swing-and-a-miss territory for me.

 

Anomaly's true deal-breaker for me, though, was the overwhelming impression it gave me of being a vehicle for evangelical Christian messages first and an actual story a sad and distant second. If you want to preach, that's fine, but be up front about it. Don't encapsulate your message inside a hollow shell of a YA dystopian in a ham-fisted attempt to attract more readers. Just be honest about your true purpose. That way you'll get readers who'll appreciate your work and avoid irritating or infuriating those who won't.  

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