If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Monday, May 25, 2009

Discovering New Authors

Its a wonderful feeling to discover a new author that you love, especially when they're a prolific writer. I remember the first book of Octavia Butler's that I read. I loved it and my normal sadness of finishing a beloved book was replaced with joy when I discovered the list of books she had already published. I also remember my grief over her death--a large part was a selfish realization that I had read her entire collection and there would be no more new works.

I'm happily working my way through my summer reading lists and just finished a novel by Sheri S. Tepper--The Margarets. I've been wanting to read Tepper for a while--having heard about her on a number of sci fi blogs. The bookstore didn't have the older works that were on my list so I picked this recent work up instead.

It is an anti-utopia, where Humans (or Earthians) have destroyed the planet through overpopulation and environmental atrocities. The main character, Margaret, was born on a work colony on a Martian satellite. The story follows the life of Margaret as she splits into 7 different people--each ending up on a different planet in the system. None of the characters has any awareness of the others. Think Sybil except each personality gets its own body.

There are excellent descriptions of other worlds and races. Some of the races are good and some evil. And then there are Earthians--who blend good and evil with a pinch of ignorance. There are characters to care about and plot to keep you going. However the Margaret characters do get difficult to keep straight--especially since some are ignored for half of the novel. Also the "meaning" is thrown upon the reader like a brick. Subtlety, at least in this novel, does not seem to be in Tepper's vocabulary.

All-in-all I enjoyed it. I will definitely read more--especially earlier work--but I didn't walk away with the joy of new author discovery.


drax said...

Thanks! I've heard this from other sources, that the various Margarets get lost in various sheets of tedium...

Annie King said...

Hi Brigindo,

Thank you for posting this review. After reading it, I may re-read some of the earlier Tepper books I've enjoyed before I read new ones. I'm actually curious to see what I'll think of them now, since it's been many years since I've read them.

I'm in the middle of "The Other Wind" and enjoying LeGuin's description, use of language, and characterization.

I didn't know Octavia Butler had died, so I'm sad to hear it. I've been meaning to read her books.

~ Annie