November 3rd, 2015


review-by-elements: Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean"

icon: "interconnectedness (two bald purple-skinned people in the ocean with fish and coral around: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

"Door Into Ocean" is a subset of sci-fi, "varying humanoids on multiple planets." It follows a young adult human from a patriarchal planet as he interacts with the single-sex pacifist egalitarian race of the nearest planet, becoming involved in their efforts to maintain balance on their planet and resist exploitation. It includes themes of: ecological balance, consensus versus coercion, economic exploitation, phallocentric perceptions of sex versus relational perceptions, language as it creates and defines culture, definitions of mental illness, and responsibility as it relates to adulthood, self-knowledge, and civic identity.

Honestly I can't express just how intensely I love this book. I just finished my fourth re-read, and I got more from it than ever before. It is an amazing allegory on so many different levels, most of all about the nature of hierarchy and reciprocity. I love the thoroughness of world-building, the depth and evolution of characters, the variety of personalities, and the many layers of meaning. If I could get everyone to read one fiction book, this would be the one I would choose.

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