Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Home is where the conquerors are: Kimberley Fuller, Home (New York: Tor, 1997).

I'm rather surprised at this book coming out of Tor: a good idea, it is marred by so many problems that it bordered on unreadable for me. Crucially it fell into the trap of Mary Sue plots and a romance which comes to dominate the book even as the author is clear that it is not the important issue-at-stake.

When Maran rescues Alik she discovers he is a returner to her planet, a refugee who left when his people were over-run by invading colonizers.

Let's go through the problems in bullet point form so I don't have to make them connect, they mostly don't.

Maran and Alik take an inordinately long time to figure out that if he came from the planet, and his people are no longer there, then Maran's people probably committed geocide.
Alik seems to have no problem with the foreign language, but no one questions this until very late when it turns out that his people are telepaths.
Maran starts to have dreams and visions, these turn out to be revelatory and prophetic.
Maran turns out to actually be one of Alik's people.
About a third of the book is devoted to her romance with Alik.
The book reads as if all the action takes place in a vilage and its hinterland, but they are on a planet. There is no reason at all for Alik's people to have stayed so close.
The genocide is portrayed as something irrational, one person's desire for honour and glory. The genocidal culture gets excused.
The vengeance attack somehow gains moral stature.

This is a messy, rather boring book, that clearly has the seeds of something a lot more interesting. But first remove the romance.


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