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Seventh Sigma, by Steven Gould - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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Seventh Sigma, by Steven Gould [Jul. 2nd, 2011|03:19 pm]
Marissa Lingen

Review copy provided by Tor.

So I was rattling along through this book at a pretty good clip, thinking about the Heinlein parallels, which extend all the way through to the Kipling influence--the hero's name is Kim, for the love of Pete, this is not a coincidence--and with the exception of a couple of failures of tone, it was going pretty well. The present tense in descriptions of the "bugs" in contrast to the past tense of the rest of the book didn't work for me, but that wasn't very often; the more series tone failure was in stuff like, "Kimble shrugged and watched her walk. She was wearing tight pants and he'd reached an age where watching the opposite sex fascinated him." (Seriously, way to condescend to your audience. No young reader ever has to have "he liked looking at her ass" explained to them. Ever. I mean, really.) But the self-sufficient young narrator was working all right and the episodic plot seemed to be accumulating to the larger thing, and in fact it eventually did.

All right, kids. What one thing does a Heinlein-esque Juvenile need to be updated for the 21st century's view of SF?

If you said "the internet!" or "cell phones!" or "the Singularity!," alas, you are having too much fun here.

Apparently the correct answer is rape. Gratuitous rape. Rape for the purpose of demonstrating that Our Young Hero is a good guy; rape for the purpose of teaching him lessons. Sexual assault that upsets him more than it upsets, oh, I don't know, the actual victim. Who is a victim and requires Our Young Hero to Save Her and does not at any point do anything with agency. At all. We can't do anything without it, apparently. Not one. Damn. Thing.

I have said it before,, and I will probably have to say it again. I am so tired of this. Stop. Please, please, just stop. This is the wrong trend for us to have.

[User Picture]From: sartorias
2011-07-02 09:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, sigh. I'd really been looking forward to this book.

Not now. Thanks for taking the bullet for the rest of us who are really, really sick of rape, and refrigerator women. Especially to boost the male protag's agency.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-07-02 09:42 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry that this is what I have to report, because it could have been a fun book. Sigh.
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[User Picture]From: auriaephiala
2011-07-03 04:19 am (UTC)
Ditto the disappointment. I put a hold on it at the library, and I'll see how far I get in it.
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[User Picture]From: tanac
2011-07-06 04:11 pm (UTC)
Exactly what sartorias said. Avoiding this one, now.
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From: ellen_fremedon
2011-07-02 10:02 pm (UTC)
Rape for the purpose of demonstrating that Our Young Hero is a good guy; rape for the purpose of teaching him lessons. Sexual assault that upsets him more than it upsets, oh, I don't know, the actual victim.

Ah. Manpain. I will be giving this one a miss.
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[User Picture]From: txanne
2011-07-02 10:28 pm (UTC)
Oh, hell. Oh, Steve, WHY?
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[User Picture]From: apis_mellifera
2011-07-02 10:59 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2011-07-03 12:17 am (UTC)
This rape business is weird. Because in both my first two NaNo novels, when I needed something dramatic, I put in "'omg near-rape!" Not rape but ALMOST rape until something external happened and it changed the (female; victim) protagonist's life and world.

You know what those books did not ever get? Published. (I didn't try to get them published.) Good grief, that is obviously the zeitgeist or something. In my third NaNo I said, "OK, not doing THAT again!" (Instead, there was a birth.)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-07-03 02:26 am (UTC)
I don't mean to condescend to your NaNo efforts, but yes, the, "What shall I do when I want something dramatic? I know! A crime that happens in real life and is often badly handled in fiction!" thing is not, shall we say, the highest level of professionalism the world of letters has ever seen.
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[User Picture]From: pameladean
2011-07-03 08:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, dear. How very annoying, to say the least. I was planning to read that book. Bah.

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[User Picture]From: cissa
2011-07-05 09:06 pm (UTC)
I am really disappointed by this, since Gould has written pretty decent women before, if I recall correctly.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-07-06 03:09 am (UTC)
Oh, there were women characters who were not assaulted and were very well done. It's just the combination we did not get to have in this book.

I was disappointed too.
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