Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold

June 12, 2004 at 12:00 am | Posted in 3 stars, Book Reviews, Science Fiction | Leave a comment

A decent book, I suppose. In concept it is sort of Ursula Le Guin-lite at first glance, but actually the concept plays a remarkably minor role in the book. The concept, of course, is of an entirely male society where reproduction takes place using ova banks. Children are raised with a loose two-parent system and homosexuality is the only sexuality. In fact, all knowledge of women is suppressed and considered sinful. Reading the first 30 pages I wasn’t feeling too hot on the book since it seemed clear where it was heading, but I was wrong. The typical strategy with a book like this is to bring an outsider into the society to tour around and look at it from every angle and meanwhile have culture clash etc. See Brin’s Glory Season and Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness. Instead, Bujold takes her main character from the society in question and moves him completely out of it, so its a fish out of water tale instead. And there’s not really that much flopping around. The real main character is Elli Quinn, a character from the Miles series, and she does her best Miles impression. So after a 50 page head-fake towards doing a sociological book it settles in to a typical Bujold ode to the art of BSing. As such it is decent but nothing special. Recommended only for Bujold completists.

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