May 24, 2005

Marque and Reprisal, Elizabeth Moon

When is space opera like Emma? When I suspect it of being an experiment in an unlikable heroine. I hope, accordingly, that Moon will not give in to the McCaffrey Disease and try to convince us that all the flaws in the heroine are justified, Poor Baby.

My hopes are not high. The heroine repeatedly enjoys killing people who are trying to kill her, and she wonders if this makes her sane or not sane. Those aren't convincing as her sole categories, because she was purportedly raised in an anti-killing religion. Given that, she should be wondering also about, say, right/wrong or good/evil.

The other thing that still just completely fails to convince me is that the background universe makes any sense at all. It's all based on armed mercantilism, except when it's convenient for Moon to throw in stuff that we're used to that works because we have larger legal principles (and structures and enforcers). The gooniest case was when two sets of complete strangers, on a not-very-friendly planet foreign to both of them, can carry out negotiations about third parties because the 3rd parties are "bonded and certified". What! No! Back to Civilization and Capitalism vol. III! You would at least have to specify who they're bonded and certified by... and for; there are definitely people in her universe who don't consider each other possible contractual parties.

But there are violent EVAs and mines and rubberbands, for those in the mood for that sort of thing. And the heroine is consistently what she is, e.g. the closing paragraphs.

ISBN: 0345447581

So wrote clew in SF&F.
And thus wrote others:
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