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Just Finished (For the third time) - 'Mirror Dance' by Lois McMaster Bujold

Friday, February 15, 2013

I just put up a new review for 'Orphans of Chaos' by John C. Wright below, and this review really begs a little explanation.  I've been kind of mocking myself for constantly introducing my reviews with posts even though someone could just scroll down and take a look for themself.  I have to say I try to give the books I review all the respect I can.  People put a lot of work into what they write, and the worst novel can take just as much blood and sweat as a great one.  Too often people dabbling in criticism on the Internet can get away with anonymously blasting things they didn't like, and I think that's wrong.  You need to treat even those works you don't like with at least a modicum of respect, someone's out there trying to make a living off what you're reviewing.

Wright- 'My dirtiest fantasies
are at your local library if
 you want to read about them,
just saying.'

That said I really didn't like Orphans.  I'm not a prude when it comes to sex in literature.  There have been a lot of good books written just on that topic, it's a big part of everyone's life regardless of how you feel about it.  There have been and always will be plenty of books about sex.  But, there's a big difference in writing a book that examines our views on sex, and just throwing it out there for it's own sake.  A lot of times SF and Fantasy writers will almost blatantly throw in some off the wall sex scene, to where after awhile you know, absolutely know, that this weird kinky thing that keeps popping up in an author's book is what gets their rocks off.  And, they're only throwing it in there because they like to write about it.  Anyone who has read The Sword of Truth series knows exactly what I'm talking about.  I know way too much about what Terry Goodkind fantasizes about. 

Goodkind- 'I assume you already
know about mine, judging by this

Orphans has some good points, but it's interspersed with a lot of sexual exposition that just kind of grosses me out.  Once you weigh the book along with the two sequels you realize that the things you were willing to let slide after the first book are just too much later on.  And once again you know a little too much about the author's sex fantasies.  I'm sure there's a really good book waiting to be written about a young girl who is into being dominated by an older man, but I don't really want to read it, and I don't think this is it (actually I think it's '50 Shades of Grey' right?).

It turns out that Wright hates gay people, and feminism.  So I really don't expect to be seeing much more of his novels nominated for SF awards, as those two groups are pretty fundamental to the genre.  A little research dug up this blog post by Wright.  I only read to the second paragraph before I started feeling a lot less guilty about dissing Orphans.  I dare you to read further than that.  It turns out there's another Wright blog post out there where he bashes homosexuals, but it seems to have been taken down from his website.  I don't really have a burning desire to scour the Internet searching for it.

In online reviews though I've actually turned up more positive views for the Chaos Trilogy than negative ones.  Most people seem to either appreciate Wright's protagonist, or at least look past his depiction of women.  I'm not saying there aren't women out there into bondage or whatever, I just think that when you put that character into a book you need to have a little more respect that women are more than sex objects.   In the spirit of full disclosure I have to say I do have a daughter, and these semi-misogynist books that depict all women as weak or submissive really get me angry.  When an author tries to say or imply that all women deep down want to be dominated or exploited it makes me want to write a 10,000 word essay on why he's wrong and people shouldn't read his book.  You can check it out below.

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