owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
I have been having a very good time reading Julian Comstock. Most adult novels I read, I read out of something like an intense food craving, like my body is trying to tell me that it really needs miso soup or guacamole or an epic of near-future postapocalyptic soft science fiction, and Comstock is no exception to that: it took me about ten seconds to decide I was buying it, and it was exactly the thing I needed at a time when YA was starting to feel very samey (it always does, when I'm reading for Mock Printz, though I've read any number of superior books this year).

It's funny, to begin with:


I had learned all my strategy and tactics from the war narratives of Mr. Charles Curtis Easton, in which every attack is fierce and bold, and nearly fails, but finally succeeds by some combination of luck and American ingenuity. These circumstances are more easily arranged on the printed page than on the field of battle. (p. 438)


Or, the moment I knew I was going to like this book, because a lesser writer would have tried to milk the joke a little harder:

Every prosperous town had a Tip, though in the East it was sometimes called a Till, a Dump, or an Eebay. (p.8)


It does quite well on diversity issues -- the central characters are variously black, gay, and Jewish -- though it's the kind of homosocial boys' adventure that doesn't have many women characters around; still, I think it squeaks by the Bechdel test, and that's more than you can say for a lot of war novels with male first-person narrators.

And I think it's about as even-handed and pragmatic in its treatment of religion as a book can be, when the premise is that after the end of oil and the general collapse of civilization, the US is taken over by a theological and militaristic dictatorship. You can definitely see the echoes of the Bush presidency in the book, but at the same time it's clear that the Dominion has very little to do with faith and everything to do with justifying and reinforcing their own power structure.

I have been feeling a little homesick for Montreal (it's the wind, and the chill in the air) and it's good to read about it. Even if it's a Montreal that's under American rule! -- I must confess I am rooting for the Mitteleuropeans on that count.
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owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
owlectomy

August 2017

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