April 7th, 2014

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Recent Reads: Science in the Capital Trilogy

I’ve just finished reading (for the 3rd time, according to my fairly exhaustive reading list) Kim Stanley Robinson’s Science in the Capital trilogy.

I love this series; I loved it the first time I read it and I think it’s improved with the re-reads. It’d been about five years since I read them last, and I’d forgotten huge swaths of storyline and mentally revised at least one into something that totally didn’t happen. I had not forgotten, and was struck again, by the strength of the nature writing; reading this series has always reminded me of Whitman’s Song of Myself in both its strengths and weaknesses. It’s musical, lyrical, mystical, occasionally droning, repetitive and pedantic. It is not–still–an easy read, although it was much easier the third time than the first time, or even the first two times.

Its dis-ease is still the major thing that breaks my heart about this series, because I think this is an incredibly important, optimistic, intelligent, brave and insightful series that basically everyone in the world should read, but I think it’s too hard for your average casual reader to connect with. It takes work, and that’s not a bad thing, but neither–if you’re trying to change the world–is it a good one.

As always, inevitably, it makes me want to tackle my own climate change series. In, you know, my copious free time.

That, however, is beside the point. What I particularly want to discuss is how in this re-read I was especially struck by the powerful, and I mean that both literally and figuratively, female characters in these books.

This may get long, so I’m going to put it behind a cut.

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(x-posted from The Essential Kit)