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HE, SHE, IT: A Novel ~Marge Piercy

Monday, August 31st, 2015

HE, SHE, IT is not a new novel and it is one from my own personal library. I read it the first time in 1991 when it was required reading at the college where I worked.   It was fascinating when I first read it and it stuck with me over all the years.   Then I saw it for 5 cents on a sale table and I purchased it to read again and I was not disappointed.  I even put it on our book group’s schedule for November of this year because I wanted to make sure I read it again.

Long story short of it, I liked this book then and I liked this book now. The writing is fabulous and the parallel stories give it a solid strength and dynamic, and I just could not get enough of the similarities to how our world is turning out right now.    Any binge TV watchers or movie series in the room?

The story takes place in the 21st Century after lots of pollution and soil erosion has ruined the environment. Shira is a brilliant tech person working for the Big Multi Corporations, who has just experienced a divorce and having her child taken away. She escapes her trauma and her job by going back to a free town, Tikva, where her Grandmother a brilliant programmer and historian reared her. Tikva is a free settlement and the people grow their own “real” not vat food and are working at restoring bird life and moral values to their primarily Jewish community.

Shira’s Grandmother and her colleague have built a robot/ cyborg to protect their community not only on the NET but also in their personal lives and this is illegal because the cyborg looks and acts human.  Shira falls in love with Yod and he assists her in recovering her son and bringing him to Tikva.

“As always, Piercy writes with high intelligence, love for the world, ethical passion, and innate feminism.”  (Adrienne Rich – book cover).

The parallel story of the Jewish Golem in Prague in the 1600s is quite fascinating and an interesting replay of that tradition in Jewish literature.  How to build salvation, redemption, and protection in a robot or clay to save the city and the religion from persecution?   A question with a lifetime of study and well handled in HE, SHE, IT.

There are so many parallels to our current lives that it is amazing that the story was written so many years ago.   We seem to need to be entertained and to keep our minds distracted.   We need to earn credits (money) to perfect our physical selves and to dazzle with our clothing and exterior bling.  We don’t seem to be able to control or understand our emotions and dozens of folks are on our streets with their own brand of justice and weapons. Women are expendable and lower class than men. Binge watching is our stimulation and we can download so many distractions and find ways to follow any fad or temporary fixes.  Distractions are us.   Not many thinkers or readers and definitely not many questioners and folks analyzing the situation.

I am looking forward to discussing this book with my book group and digging into the moral issues and the meaningful issues presented in this story. I think you will not be disappointed and I highly recommend HE, SHE, IT to my readers.

There is lots of action and romance in this story.  HE, SHE, IT stands the test of time.

About the Author:

“Marge Piercy is the author of numerous novels, among them Woman on the Edge of Time, Vida, Braided Lives, Gone to Soldiers, and Summer People.  She has written 15 volumes of Poetry by the time this book was published.  She has coauthored a play, The Last White Class, with her husband Ira Wood, the Novelist and screen writer, with who she lives on Cape Cod.”

I could actually just fill up this whole review with a list of her writing.  Piercy is prolific and an essential writer to everyone’s list of great reads.  She is an activist.

Marge Piercy Wikipedia 

Related:
The Sowing 
The Shock Doctrine 
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter 
When Women Were Birds

THE FOREVER MAN: A Near-Future Thriller ~Pierre Ouellette

Friday, July 11th, 2014

“Your cells are the product of millions of years of evolution.  They don’t answer to you.  They answer only to life itself.” “Through some kind of extraordinarily advanced genetic therapy.  To pull it off, you’d have to raise an entire army of very specialized artificial viruses.” (un proofed copy – at 70% location)


THE FOREVER MAN is quite an interesting read.  I received an unproofed copy for review from TLC Online Book Tours, Net Galley and Alibi books and I am pleased to have had this opportunity.   As much as I like books about the future and thrillers these days, I must say this would not have been on my radar without a gentle prod.  Much of the story takes place in Portland, Oregon after the USA has been devastated by a predicted economic crisis and the nation is being ruled by the extremely rich.  Now the city has been abused and the majority of the people are just hanging on as best they can; regional “gangsters” are running the show and it makes me so sad to even think about.  Beauty only for the few; drugs and starvation the rule of the day, it sometimes seems as though this is a too close reality.

Lane Anslow is a contracted police detective, who has always been his bipolar brilliant, brothers admirable care taker. He is drawn into something amazing by his sibling’s work in genetics.  His brother has been kidnapped after he escaped a plane crash.  Johnny Anslow is the key to this genetic manipulation which is changing lives and will definitely change the future for the very rich.  So the police detective, who has lost his job because he is too old in his 40s, undertakes to understand and help his brother escape.  The backstory is about the boys growing up on the water near Seattle, Washington and all the mischief they recovered from and how they each took different pathways based on their experiences.  There is lots of plastic surgery, prison experience, helicopters and worldwide weapons of mass destruction and I would not want to leave out the politicians.  There is something for everyone and at one point, it made me think of a futuristic Gunsmoke TV series.  The book keeps moving ahead with lots of description about how THE FOREVER MAN became how old he is and what needs to happen to keep it a reality.  Oh yes, and the world has run out of affordable oil.

The writing was “manly” and I found it sometimes sharp and disconnected and then it turned back around to keep the reader on edge – powerful devise. I had to read dialogue pages a couple of times to figure out which character was saying what.  Certainly the editors will clear up those moments before it is released on July 8th, 2014.  I wondered if I believed if life had a beginning, middle and end, would living until your new organs wore out, or these advanced genetic procedures were available to all be something you would want to contemplate?  Would you really want to live forever?

Pierre Ouellette lives in Portland, Oregon and has written a number of science fictions books which have done well. He owned a PR firm for a number of years and also plays guitar.

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Related:
The Sowing
The Shock Doctrine 
Duke City Split
The Contractors

THE SOWING: Book One of the Seeds Trilogy ~K. Makansi

Monday, December 9th, 2013


THE RESISTANCE HAS BEGUN

What an exciting read.  THE SOWING is an interesting study of a society which has survived and modified into a command center of academic achievement and a supplier of food for every citizen.  Okarians have survived years of Religious Wars and Famine and developed a culture which has a layered responsibility for each group all reaching towards the top of the hierarchy and the Capital City.  Each person has a place and an outcome; the genetically engineered food is all programed to match perfectly the person’s needs and future endeavors.  As in any society, there are those who do not agree with the lifestyle which is promoted and insured.

The Okarain Society is celebrating 100 years since the end of famine and the Directors have taken charge of the Sectors.  The food workers are supposed to be the most elevated within the society, but they are in reality bred to be laborers with about a 40 year life span.  The work is hard and takes place away from the Capital in small sectors/farms.   Where the wilds have begun to return, there are people who roam the outer areas as Nomads, there are Outsiders who seem to be able to disappear in Nature and then there is the Resistance.

The SOWING is the first book in a trilogy and it very much parallels what people are learning about seed control, food, disease, and pollution in our society.  This is the crucial backstory and it is quite interesting to explore how the Resistance is surviving and making their point.  There are earlier stories of people who have disappeared, been killed and have left the Sector’s cities for various reasons.  Scientists, Mathematicians, Chemists, Computer Engineers, Genetics researchers, and Dieticians, are all selected out of the groups and given great privilege at the Academy.  The story is chocked full of computer knowledge, cloaking devices, futuristic transportations, and knowledge bases and data raids.  How does one begin again and develop real food?

The SOWINGS authors are fascinating:  K. Makansi is a pen name consisting of Kristina Blank Makansi, Amira K. Makansi, and Elena K Makansi, who form a mother-daughter writing team with a wide variety of interests including food-justice issue and study.

THE REAPING is book 2 and is due out in 2014.   I can hardly wait as I found this to be an extremely interesting read and I enjoyed discovering the authors various passions played out in the futuristic story. I believe it is rather like Harry Potter as it is written to appeal to all ages. The bits of romance make it a young adult read. The premise and thinking in the book create a more detailed story line than say The Hunger Games.   THE SOWING has great appeal and relates well to some of the current concerns in our environment presently occurring.

The book is reasonably priced on KINDLE and for other e-readers. I know my daughters will enjoy reading this series very much.  I know 2 fellows in high school who would want to read this story and have a great discussion.

tlc logo This book was sent to me for review by TLC Online Books tours and Layla Dog Press of Saint Louis, MO.    It was a privilege to read this book and share my thoughts about THE SOWING.

The Seeds Trilogy on the Web
The Seeds Trilogy Blog
The Seeds Trilogy on Facebook

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Related Reading:
HAVEN
The Shock Doctrine
Agenda For a New Economy
When Women Were Birds