BP #82 EDITORIAL,
By A.M. Stickel
Of Dust and Rocks
do so few men know how to write about women? Case in point, two otherwise
entertaining and enlightening reads—ARTEMIS by Andy Weir (who wrote THE
MARTIAN) and MONSTER (part of the GONE series) by Michael Grant. My hardcover
copies were, respectively, $27 and $18.99 (+ 9.5% local sales tax). Thank
goodness they can be returned for partial recovery as “used” books…or, more
found the heroines of both stories a bit too spunky, pugnacious, and
politically correct to be believable, although the writing itself was
mesmerizing. In ARTEMIS, set in our first moon colony, the central character is
independent, brainy 26-year-old Jazz, who has basically wasted her life trying
to get rich enough to make up for the mistakes of her feckless youth. In
MONSTER there are too many characters to keep track of, but dominated by young
adults like (transsexual) Cruz and Shade, who are part of a group exposed to
mutagenic asteroid dust—some by choice and others by evil manipulators.
I enjoyed the (mostly accurate) rock-hard science in ARTEMIS, especially the
diagram of the colony layout at the front of the book, some of the character
interactions were stilted—perhaps to reflect Jazz’s self-imposed loner status
in her tightly-knit community of Earth exiles. Another thing that bothered me
was the predominantly warm, friendly male portrayals (except for a cop and a
villain or two) vs. the icy, deadly females: dogs versus cats? This read may
appeal to chemists, physicists, and engineers more than to folks into biology
and social engineering or behavioral science. Of course, the ever-popular
presentation of corporate greed looms over at least half the plot…and I, for
one, am kind of getting tired of that in fiction. We have enough of it in fact.
That said, the ending is exciting, and only appreciated after wending one’s
tortuous way through the entire tale.
reads like a scientific manual of horror written in short bursts. The
suppositions, to anyone who knows anything about actual mutation, are truly irrational.
Here, other-dimensional aliens have sent a message in asteroid form. In the
past, child test subjects were imprisoned under a dome (by the aliens?) A few
survived and recovered; others were destroyed after committing atrocities. Some
bystanders were contaminated. Think: just grind up some of the dust from
asteroidal chunks and infect a human with enough for special powers of
transformation. The best baddie is an ill-fated government guy, who doesn’t
realize what having too much power can do. Oh,
honey, we women are too tough and clever for guys like you!
excuse the lateness of this editorial,
friends. And, may I add, Ken Crist’s SURVIVING MONTEZUMA, appearing in serial
form in BP, is a way better read
than either of those two Best Sellers, at least when it comes to writing about
women. Enough said.