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19 October 2010 @ 11:22 pm
Ship Breaker  
Big thanks to takumashii for the recommendation of Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker, and now I am recommending it to everyone reading this. Ripping scifi with fantastic world-building. Also, interracial protagonist of color surrounded by supporting characters of color.

I'll be interested to hear what other folks think about the text's construction of race. The most obvious analysis is that race "means" almost nothing in this book (ETA: in the sense that all the myriad portrayed races are playing all the roles in society, almost haphazardly, as if race has no bearing), while class means absolutely everything. Having said that, there are definitely some ways that race does mean some things, both by exception to the above ETA statement and in murkier ways; but my thoughts aren't coherent on that yet. I'd love to read some analysis of it.

I started Ship Breaker weeks ago, never having heard it mentioned anywhere except takumashii's rec; since then, it became a National Book Award Finalist, which it profoundly deserves.

Speaking of where I sent you for that last bit of info, go glance at the new Kirkus website -- it's shiny.
lady_schrapnelllady_schrapnell on October 20th, 2010 10:57 am (UTC)
Oh, book rec and Kirkus website are both shiny! Book's now on the to-read shelf at Goodreads. (I haven't subbed to Kirkus, at $159 for an international "consumer", but did sign up for the newsletter, which is exciting. Eep, but on the children's book page - Teenage Waistland. Could be better than it sounds, but I'm a bit doubtful!)
Rebecca Rabinowitzdiceytillerman on October 21st, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
Teenage Waistland sounds quite disturbing to me, but I've not read it yet. The review says "Lengthy dialogue turns into informational and instructive lessons on Lap-Band surgery and how patients fail and succeed with it," and I find myself frustarted not to know a bit more about whose viewpoint the text is using as it informs readers about the surgery's success and failure. The reviewer doesn't sound critical of the text's "information" on that, and it's hard for me to trust the book to be fully truthful about the dangers.

Weight loss surgeries -- including LapBand and others -- are getting more and more ubiquitous in the USA (and other places? I would be interested to hear about other places), and they're getting more and more of a mainstream vibe. They "sound" more and more like just another option that people are free to take (and encouraged to do so at younger and younger ages). I am extremely concerned that the dangers, both known and unknown, are getting brushed under carpets.

Ship Breaker proposal: read it and then come over and talk to me about. I'll make tea! Wait... damn geography.
lady_schrapnell: Cranky Little Mylady_schrapnell on October 21st, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that from the review - I agree it sounds very dubious - as is the Goodreads page.

Interestingly, I happened to catch a bit on Women's Hour this morning about hypnosis being used to make people feel as if they've had a gastric band inserted. I don't know if you're interested, but you can catch the section here if so. I would think they're more common in the US, but think that on the basis of very little info.

I *hate* damn geography sometimes! It would be super-fun to talk books with you over tea.
(Anonymous) on December 6th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
Hey Rebecca,

It's Andy Spatz, your cousin. I have a friend in Boston who is striving to become a children's book editor and I wanted her to get in touch with you. Could you send me your email address to pass on to her? spatzman@gmail.com