mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Conscience. (70)

Brother Termite by Patricia Anthony.

All these worlds are yours,
& one day, the galaxy.
We give you the stars.

This is one of those books that is very important to me but somehow slipped through the cracks of history. There was a moment when it could have been famous-- John Cameron optioned it & apparently the Avatar "Extended Blu-Ray Collector's Edition" has test footage for a film on it-- but it quietly slipped away. As far as I know, Phil & I are the only ones in my social circle who ever read it, which is a shame. This is one of the building blocks of my internal mythology; or rather, one of those books that just affirm what you've been feeling all along. I haven't re-read a book in a while, not since the whole New Year, New Sun, but I'm happy I dug into this again. It has been too long. The book itself is told from the point of view of Reen, the alien White House Chief of Staff who is the de facto leader of the planet Earth. We are talking straight up grey aliens; big eyes, flying saucers, the whole nine yards. The "Cousins" are wearing jumpsuits, for crying out loud. There are some clever bits, too-- the answer to "why do the Cousins look like humans?" is very nice, for instance. Why? Because the Cousins have committed xenocide on every other alien in the galaxy, but they kept humans because...well, we're just so similar. Though not all that alike, really. This isn't really an alien invasion novel; it is more a political thriller. The FBI & the CIA & the president & a mysterious psychic &...well, it isn't really a political thriller, either. It is a character study, in the end. A bittersweet piece of writing if there ever was one. Reen loves his friend, President Womack. Reen loves Marian Cole, the direct of the CIA & the woman who was the girl he abducted & abused. Reen loves his hybrid daughter, Angela. Reen loves his Brother Economist Oomal & his Brother Conscience Tali. Reen loves the Community. None of these loves are easy or uncomplicated-- & Reen's fundamental alienation compound with the small betrayals & the larger treasons, bringing events to a head. Anthony excels at making the alien seem mundane & normal; she draws you into the Cousins' world easily, plausibly. Now to go shelve it back next to my Schwa World Operations Manual. I just really like this book, so so much.
Tags: anthony, books, haiku

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