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Her Smoke Rose Up Forever
James Tiptree Jr.
Fingersmith
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Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky, Olena Bormashenko, Ursula K. Le Guin
Seneca Falls and the Origins of the Women's Rights Movement (Pivotal Moments in American History)
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Spiderwork (Apocalypto, #2) - L.K. Rigel The author of Spiderwork (In Flagrante Apocalypto #2) calls her series a romance, but I think that's doing it an injustice. There are bigger themes at work here – the breakdown of humanity and its rebuilding, with tyrants, political intrigue, city-states, manipulations, and the resurgence of old gods and ancient religion. In a twist of reader irony, Spiderwork's being more than a simple love story, is what frustrates me the most about this novella (perhaps the series?) even though I loved it. Rigel has a lot of plates spinning in the air. Spiderwork is potentially a complex story, with good characterizations, including a capricious god who has no compunction against making an example (killing) her loyal followers for their very human foibles. There are characters who sacrifice power for love, and those who risk everything for power. The redevelopment of an old religion is another pervasive theme, with two rival gods, and hints of opposing worship practices. This is precisely the flaw of the story though... too many hints, not enough words in this short-ish installment. *mild spoilers ahead*Some of the spinning plates are dropped. What happened to Sky and Tesla? Were they ever found, was the technology recovered? How did Alice and the bees survive Sameal's cleansing fire? Sameal's worshipers are only referenced, but clearly important, so in what way is this rival faith developing, and if it's not, why not? How is Garrick's industrial and oil-dependent city surviving in a world that has regressed to mostly pre- and early- industrial conditions? And we still know next to nothing about the Empani – who appear to be an empath/morph race or hybrid. How did they come about, and what are their motivations?*In spite of these flaws, which mostly boil down to “TOO SHORT,” (I know! I'm harping, I'm a harpy!) I really love the story and the world-building that is occurring here. I read quite a bit of post-apocalyptic fiction, and rarely see stories where a science-based society is returning to a faith-based one. Spiderwork is more fantasy than science fiction, but it's still quite solidly in the middle of the two genres as a cross-over – with a world that is still looking to the development of technology as a survival mechanism, but has been thrown into undeniable contact with old gods, their schemes and their desires. I'm definitely looking forward to the next piece of the tale. *addendum: in response to some of these questions (posed here in this review, and elsewhere by other reviewers) Rigel has expanded this installment of the series. (Score one for indies, who can revise a new work if needed.) Some of the dangling plotlines are either resolved or explained - and a good job too, they weren't overdone, so it doesn't feel like a knee-jerk revision - and some seem to be left for a later volume.Much more satifying.