Rafe (etcet) wrote,

No Sympathy for White Devils

Couple of book reviews of the sketchy sort, because both books are too bad to finish reading. Fortunately, they were free in exchange for Amazon reviews if they warranted a moderately robust number of stars.

They don't.

The first, "Water Sign," is only an achievement in the sense that the author strung together enough words to reach novel length. The shape and smell of that achievement is unsavory, steeped in a fecund and fetid mixture of white privilege, othering, and neckbeardiness and wrapped up in a hamfisted bow of cultural appropriation. The only slightly redeeming feature of the first several dozen pages is a clumsy attempt at challenging gender essentialism, but it's carried off with all the grace and delicacy of someome carving sashimi with a lawnmower. The author's bio and web footprint do absolutely nothing to help make this more palatable, from his entitlement and self-aggrandizing attitude to the fact that he's surrounded with sycophants in lieu of editorial guidance. I use passive voice all the fucking time, and even *I* got annoyed that the entire book is written that way.

One gender-flipped icon of cultural appropriation out of five.

The second, "Revision 7: DNA," took longer to be terrible, because it was mostly just boring until it became stupid, offensive, misleading, and classist. There is an entire cast of unlikable, uniniteresting characters, the most engaging of which is an emerging-sentience robot that is mostly just a wide-eyed naif. Robots from the future that communicate among themselves with spoken English were dorky and implausible when the Daleks were introduced fifty years ago, before the advent of wi-fi; the fact that my radio and coffeemaker could do that if I bought nicer ones makes the author's purported professional life in the tech field as implausible as the authorial-insert character's dual brains due to parental experimentation. I won't even go into the contempt for every non-intellectual (and even the not-quite villain, who is hamfistedly sketched in as "looking lik Einstein and cranky about that being mentioned").. basically, everyone who isn't the main characer is held up as somehow inferior - dumber, more sympathetic, more idealistic - and yet we're shown an unending litany of this character's attempts to understand and empathize with their reactions, probably to show how sensitive he is despite (not really a spoiler) his being a robot himself, maybe.

The Terminator and Blade Runner called; they want you to stop pissing all over their shoes.

One and a half independently curious robots out of five.
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