Date: 2017-07-25 03:44 pm (UTC)
dolorosa_12: (sister finland)
From: [personal profile] dolorosa_12
If you were put off/thrown out of the book by the self-consciously, deliberately bombastic, grandiloquent Enlightenment philosophy pastiche, I wouldn't necessarily recommend pressing on -- the style doesn't change. It did take some getting used to in the beginning, but I sort of adjusted to the style until I almost didn't notice it, in much the way as I need to adjust when reading, say, a nineteenth-century novel, or something written in a dialect of English with which I'm not very familiar. However, I feel that life's too short to read books that make you feel thrown out of the story, and I think the language style is something you're either going to love or hate.

In terms of gender, that's been one aspect of the series that's really divided readers -- some trans (and in particular nonbinary) readers I know have found it really repellent and felt that it was hurtful in relation to their experiences. For me, I felt that what Palmer was saying about gender was in line with what she was saying about other things in her imagined future (religion, power, and inequality in particular): namely that the world of the Terra Ignota is one which thinks its a utopia, but is actually dystopian. It's a world whose people decided that things like organised religion and gender were major causes of war, abuse and inequality -- but where the solution was to abolish gender and organised religion and make it taboo to talk about them. And this leads to all sorts of weird consequences (one of the more obvious being that the 'abolition' of gender before true gender equality was achieved meant that behaviours, characteristics and roles coded in our world as female continued to be devalued, even though gender in Palmer's world is no longer binary nor no longer believed to be biologically determined).

I have to admit that as a migrant -- and someone who had to go through a huge amount of stress and difficulty to be able to live in the country to which I migrated -- the most appealling aspect of the series, and the thing that drew me in, was the idea that nationality was no longer arbitrarily imposed by birth or family heritage, but rather a conscious choice of affiliation made when a person was an adult, based on feelings of affinity with a particular set of values. And instead of citizenship being tied to a particular geographical location, people live wherever they wanted, and make the choice of which 'nationality' (really, political entity) they want to belong to, which then determines which laws (and what system of government) they will need to follow. I have to admit that this element sounded like paradise to me!
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