Enter into Neth Space and you will find thoughts and reviews of books and other media that fit the general definition of speculative fiction. This includes the various genres and sub-genres of fantasy, science fiction, epic fantasy, high fantasy, hard sci-fi, soft sci-fi, new weird, magical realism, cyberpunk, urban fantasy, slipstream, horror, alternative history, SF noir, etc. Thoughts are my own, I'm certainly not a professional, just an avid reader avoiding his day job.
Friday, October 04, 2013
Mini-Review: The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
the usual suspects (i.e. – blogs that run in the same circles I do) and look
for any reference to ‘year’s best’ or similar, and you’ll probably come across
a reference or 5 to The Best of All
Possible Worlds by Karen Lord (Indiebound, Book Depository, Amazon). Karen
Lord is an author I’ve been looking out for since I heard a lot of good about
her debut, Redemption in Indigo (Indiebound,
Book Depository, Amazon), and after I overcame my initial reluctance to jump on
the ‘Best of All Possible Bandwagons’, I final have gotten around to reading
I’m glad I
did – I enjoyed it a lot and can see why it’s frequently mentioned as a front
runner for various awards.
The Best of All Possible Worlds does much of what science fiction is at its
best – it’s a throwback to classical science fiction of the Star Trek variety,
though it’s framed in much more of a progressive, humanistic light. It explores
humanity through extreme ethnic evolution where humans of varying origin can
still interbred, but have evolved a wide-range of telepathic, empathetic, and
other abilities. Through this lens Lord explores such deeper ideas as
emotionally damaged people, arrogance, humility, communication, dominance, slavery,
and genocide. But all that is really a sideline.
The Best of All Possible Worlds is a romance and shame on you if your
initial reaction considers this a negative description of the book. This book
tells the story of how two individuals from very different upbringings, with large
emotional scars, come to love each other. This is not a book about sexual
seduction, but friendship building into a deep love and respect. And it’s
subtle. So deliciously subtle.
When I call The Best of All Possible Worlds a
romance, that shouldn’t mean that’s not science fiction. It is – the two are
not mutually exclusive no matter how many times I’ve read a review that suggests
it is so. Both exist in the same book. Both are well done. And the combination
is what makes this such a great book. And if you’re inclination is to not read
this book because I invoked the icky word ‘romance’, take that as one giant
reason why you should read this book.
don’t read other reviews of a book I plan to review. With so much attention
already brought to The Best of All
Possible Worlds, I made this one the exceptions. The result is that my
review is somewhat in response to what I’ve seen in several other reviews. There
is a lot more that can be said of this book – much of it positive, and some of
it negative. But I’ll let you read about that elsewhere. In short, I very much
enjoyed The Best of All Possible Worlds and
I can see why it’s talked about as front-runner for awards.
that whole business with the faerie world/elves analog. That part really didn’t
work for me at all.