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Probability Moon - The Ex-Communicator

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April 13th, 2011


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09:11 am - Probability Moon
There was some discussion recently that female SF writers are overlooked or underrated and I have been trying to read a few previously overlooked books by women authors. I am a short way through Probability Moon by Nancy Kress. I am not enjoying it all that much, I might not pick it up again. That's why I am writing about it now rather than waiting until I finish.

I think it is a well-executed, professionally competent, example of the kind of SF I don't really like. It reminded me of books like Blind Lake by Robert Charles Wilson, which I read last year. There are a range of diverse characters, some care is given to developing interesting scientific ideas, there's a meaningful story, with fairly exciting events. But it is dull to read.

OK, my guess is that SF fandom includes a lot of people who want to read stories like this. I found it pedestrian, in the sense that its feet are always on the ground. Many people will like that, because they want a story which is joined up and coherent. I can see how this would work for people, though I am not that kind of person. Modern SF publishing differentiates and serves the audience which likes books like this; as I read it, I can imagine it being read with enjoyment, but I am not myself enjoying it. I want something which is more strange and uncertain, and where the story is not delivered so overtly.

I am however worried that I am judging this book harshly because it is by a woman. I think I sometimes unconsciously have higher expectations of women writers, and I am trying to check that tendency, because it is one aspect of the discrimination that female writers face.

On the whole I think the fact that I don't like this book very much is not because Nancy Kress is female, but it may be that the disconnect with my hopes for SF is easier for me to identify in this case (compared let us say to Blind Lake), because I approach a book by a woman with higher hopes.

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[User Picture]
From:nancylebov
Date:April 13th, 2011 08:41 am (UTC)
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For what it's worth, I got bored by Probability Moon, too.

If you're interested in fantasy as well as science fiction, I recommend Jo Walton's Among Others.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:April 13th, 2011 08:51 am (UTC)
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I read very little fantasy, but when it's good it can be wonderful. I just looked for a few reviews of that, and it sounds promising.

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