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Bun's Books

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All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation
Rebecca Traister
Beggars in Spain - Nancy Kress This definitely belongs very solidly within the literature of ideas. Its essentially an extended exploration of the questions; what, if anything, do the fortunate owe to the less so? And why? Do the rich owe anything to the poor, the wise to the foolish, the healthy to the sick, the young to the old, the intelligent to the stupid? What sort of societies do you get from different answers to that question?

This being science fiction after all, the tale wanders in search of its answers through the politics and personal lives of some characters in a future America where multinationals hold patents on cheap energy, and where a whole toolbox of genetic modification techniques are pretty freely available to any citizen who wants a designer child. There are several decades of an extended flirtation with a political philosophy that looks a lot like Randian Objectivism, a bout of extreme bread and circuses populism, a group of Supergeniuses, an orbiting space habitat and other such fun and games.

While the story didn't always go the places I hoped for, I found it a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying read. I liked a few of the characters and really hated a few too. I cheered for the good guys and hissed the bad guys and had fun with some puzzles and clever notions. I liked the prose too, it engaged with some complex ideas without either becoming unintelligible or indulging in ridiculously simplistic metaphors.

I'm not sure it would be as much fun for someone who doesn't enjoy playing with ideas as much as I do though. I'm not sure, but I get a nagging feeling that people who respond more emotionally to their fiction might be a little annoyed by this one. Or I could be wrong. Check it out and see what you think.