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July 04, 2008

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That's the US cover. I got the UK cover from SFBC, which I like better. I haven't read it yet, since I'm not voting, but I know he's going to do a sequel.

(And Charlie and his wife Feorag are not only living in Edinburgh, but have friends with wide ranges of gender orientation and attraction.)

Yeah, I've heard about the sequel. It's following one of the minor characters who didn't interest me passionately, but I'm willing to trust Stross and pick it up on the strength of HS.

I'm a little more worried about his new one, Saturn's Children. Books about "femmebots" or "sexbots" are not generally at the top of my list; too much shades of Gord (link not safe for work!) and other hardcore porn. But I have trouble imagining him writing the sort of idiotic teenage-geek sex fantasy that the description and cover suggest, too. I'm waiting for a woman who's read the book to reassure me.

I really struggled with whether I should mention the one character's sexuality, since it isn't relevant to the story in any way, and that's exactly what I like about it. That's where we want to be; the female character's wife should be of no more interest than the male character's wife. But I also wanted to give him points for arriving at that lovely post-orientation mindset.

it's nice to see a major character whose lesbianism is both taken completely for granted and utterly irrelevant to the plot

I guess it's a sign that things are changing for the better when that happens. This reminds me of an episode of 1964's The Outer Limits that had a secondary character be a black astronaut. The show's creators had problems with the censors because, well, there was no reason for the character to be black.

As for Stross's book... I msut admit that 2nd-person narration might give me trouble. Well, I can always take a chance when the book is out in paperback.

No need to wait: it's out in paperback! If you shop at Amazon, the link at the end the post will take you right there to buy it.

I haven't read Saturn's Children yet, although I know a lot of people who have, but I know about it. It's a Heinlein pastiche and Freya, the sexbot on the cover (of the US edition), is actually looking for other work because the human "style" has changed. Nobody wants to have sex with her anymore. Okay, I looked at Gord books -- nothing like that. Let's see, here's Charlie's Diary post about it coming out (and you'll see lots of people you know posting comments about reading it) and here's the interview Freya gave.

No need to wait: it's out in paperback!

Perfect. I have just now added it to my list of books I must look for when I'm in San Francisco next week. There's Stacey's Bookstore near my employer's building on Market Street, and Berkeley has at least two F/SF bookstores that I know of.

Marilee:
Okay, now I get that it's a play on Friday I feel a little better about it. But since I hated Friday and haven't thought much about it since I first read it, I don't know if that'll help me with Saturn's Children. Maybe I'll find a library copy first before spending the money.

I didn't like Friday either, but Charlie is a much better writer. I ordered mine from SFBC and it should be here soon.

Please let me know what you think when you've read it.

I've never read Friday, but my wife did, and it irritated her greatly too. I can't remember the details, but I don't think it was about Friday being very sexy. She's sleeping right now so I can't ask. So, what is it that both of you didn't like about the book?

I'll make a confession about Heinlein. He's a Grand Master of SF, but, for reasons I don't understand, I never could get into his stuff much, except for the juvenile about the Venusian dragon who called himself Isaac Newton. I did read some of his adult stuff, but I never had the urge to seek it out.

Serge:
I can't speak for your wife, of course, and it's been awhile since I read the book, but I'll go out on a limb and say I'm probably not the only woman profoundly irritated by the female protagonist's "hey, stuff happens, and actually one of these guys isn't bad!" reaction to the gang rape early in the book. Not to mention the whole "I am a kick-ass chick, but in my heart I really just wanna stay home and make babies!" (with her one-time rapist, if I recall correctly) and general willingness to hop in bed with, well, anyone.

I was a teenager when I read it, but I was already alert enough to call "bullshit!" on this stuff. And I'm not exactly prim about sex.

After twenty-odd years the details have, happily, left my brain, and I'm not inclined to reread the book to restore them.

In other words, Friday was the fantasy woman of a male adolescent, even though that adolescent was an old man.

Which makes her different from most Heinlein heroines...not.

In other other words, a Heinlein heroine, no matter how capable she may be of ruling her own destiny, in the end still bows down to the superiority of the male's plumbing and to his desires.

(Darn. My sarcasm subroutine kicked into overdrive again.)

Yep, I agree with Susan. It was just so unlikely, he had to have pulled it from his wishlist. The only Heinlein I like is the early stuff. I think a lot of the rest is wish-fulfillment.

I think a lot of the rest is wish-fulfillment

Kind of funny that he never grew out of those. Now, is that the part where someone points out that boys never grow out of that, or grow up pure and simple? Heheheh.

I expect most people don't fully grow out of their adolescent desires, but most people acquire more complex desires to layer in, not to mention the social savoir-faire to not parade their teenage fantasies.

Would it be off-the-wall to say that a writer who doesn't think he needs to be edited is creatively in trouble?

No, Serge, I think you're right. Even the best writers need some editing.

Marilee... And if they can't see that, then they are in trouble.

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