Dust by Elizabeth Bear
I read this on suggestion of the Women of Science Fiction book club. I would not have read it otherwise.
I did not finish this book.
I tried. Honestly, I did. But at page 250, I just kept thinking to myself, “There are other books you could be reading. Why aren’t you reading those?”
Part of the reason I kept at this book as long as I did is that I can’t quite put my finger on what I dislike about it. Many of the problems I had earlier in the book (see below) are pretty much answered as the world is revealed. And I have to give Bear props for that. I don’t expect that everything be utterly clear about a world that I’m being dropped into. Playing with medieval tropes in a science fiction setting is interesting as well, but kind of leaves me feeling like it tries too hard. I guess my problem is that I’m not really interested in the world or the characters at all. I just haven’t figured out why I’m not interested.
Rather fond of Gavin the basilisk, though.
Interesting that the most definitely male character that shows up, Tristen, is described as “adult” and taking “care of things.” In fact, the only other on-screen males seems to be Dust and his brother, who are manipulating things. They are using the soft power aspect.
Also, not a fan of using fruit as a device to implant needed knowledge into characters. What is this, fruit with nanites in it that affect memory? Is that what the whole taking of memories is anyway? I’m dubious of how that should work in a scientific way.
Okay, Head is a kant. Ungendered. But, why? What role does the ungendered play in this tale? (Is a robot?)
Not a fan of exhausted/weak yet occasionally capable Perceval during this escape.
By pg. 28:
There is a baroque quality to Bear’s writing that I’m not fond of.
What’s the deal with Head? Why the funky pronouns?
Is this book actually science fiction? ‘Cause right now it seems pretty much like fantasy is sci-fi trappings.
I really hope that there is some good reason that Ariane didn’t off Perceval the day she captured her. We’re led to believe that the prisoner will be executed, but really given no reason, aside from inexplicable laziness on Ariane’s part, why it doesn’t happen immediately. Does Ariane not consider Perceval a threat? It’s a little like a Bond villain leaving James to the shark tank instead of putting a bullet in his brain.