Book Review: Alqua Dreams, Rachel Pollack (1987)

Les Edwards’ cover for the 1st edition

3.75/5 (Good)

“To the Lukai, when a mother bore a child both the mother and child were really dead souls, locked in fake bodies. ‘The child cries,’ the Death Woman told Cooper, “because it still remembers the truth'” (28).

At first glance the mission was like so many others: negotiate with a native people, the Lukai, over a rare resource that facilitates space travel. But Jaimi Cooper is plunged into an ontological nightmare, he is branded as an alqua, “someone who suffers an illusion” (20). According to the Lukai, “you are dead. We are all dead” (27). And as the mythology and its theology come into play, Jaimi Continue reading

Book Review: What Entropy Means to Me, George Alec Effinger (1972)

(Stanislaw Hernandez’s cover for the 1973 edition)

5/5 (Masterpiece) (*caveats below*)

Nominated for the 1973 Nebula Award (lost to Asimov’s disappointing The Gods Themselves)

“She was Our Mother, so she cried.  She used to sit out there, under that micha tree, all day as we worked cursing in her fields.  She sat there during the freezing nights, and we pretended that we could see her through the windows in the house, by the light of the moons and the hard, fast stars.  She sat there before most of us were born; she sat there until she died.  And all the time she shed her tears.  She was Our Mother, so she cried” (11)

What Entropy Means to Me (1972) is one of the more satisfying products of the New Wave science fiction movement of the 60s and 70s that I’ve read.  I place it in the pantheon of Malzberg’s Revelations (1972), Samuel Delany’s Nova (1968), and Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar (1968).  Effinger revels, and I mean gloriously revels, in metafictional Continue reading