The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Novel - Karen Lord What? For the most part a slice-of-life type story about the remnants of a destroyed planet settling on another one and trying to find local brides to pass on their genes with, with obvious romancey overtones. It's quick, straightforward and yet unhurried, and some reasonably deft, quiet characterization makes it seem like it's all going to add up to something interesting. Instead, it adds up to a truly groanworthy, wincing collection of cliches, drawn seemingly not so much even from bad romance novels as bad romance fanfics, complete with everyone married to alpha males with telepathic mindlinks and horsies and god knows what.

Oh, there's also that thing, which appears to be de rigueur these days in SF novels - like this is still some kind of audience-challenging, subversive mindfuck - where a character will oh-so-casually have no gender, but, quite boringly and typically, without actually going to any description of this character or dealing at all with who or how they are, as this genderless person. So what's the point, except to feel good about yourself for being so terribly progressive? I probably wouldn't complain that much, except this is seemingly really common now and it feels trite and reductive to me, as both politics and literature. And all the more so in a novel that ends up happily embracing gender roles in a rather cheesy way.

Anyway, what the hell, otherwise curious and promising book? Theres something interesting about the quiet, conflict-free, people-centric story, but all that gets thrown away with that ending.