A reader’s perspective on the unexpected.
Ann Etter brought up an interesting point last Saturday (read it here) about when a book kind of pushes the limits of the readers comfort level. It definitely made me think. And as my random mind trolled all over the place I started thinking about that movie Deep Impact when the crew in the shuttle circling the Earth getting ready to run interference with the doomsday asteroid. They were debating whether to go through with the mission that would basically kill them but hopefully save Earth. I kept thinking that it was kind of a silly point to be discussing especially since if they didn’t complete their mission successfully then they would die anyway because the asteroid would inevitably hit Earth in an end-of-civilization kind of way. That made me a little uncomfortable. These crew members were going against what we most likely were born with instinctively- to live.
That’s our nature- human I mean. So what if it was a different nature. Say an alien one. Like Alsean in The Caphenon. There they have empathic powers and though some have the ability to tap into other’s feelings and manipulate them, their culture strictly forbids it to such an extent that it is naturally ingrained into their way of life. So how does that make me uncomfortable and what is unexpected about this? Fletcher Delancey does such an amazing job of world creating that the reader starts to live and breathe Alsean and the thought of using such a trait when an alien species crashes into their planet seems like the ultimate moral sacrifice. Not for the person being manipulated but for the Alsean using their empathic ability to do so. Could you do it if you were their leader and it meant preserving your society? Could you go against something so ingrained in your thinking, life and culture? I think I would almost rather be in the shuttle facing off with an asteroid!
Another world altering decision could be found in Exodus book one: Advance. Just the title alone shouts out there there might be a problem with the planet. The part that makes me uncomfortable but still engaged in wanting to know, is why? I mean think about it, would you give up Earth and never return but at the same time have no idea where you are going and where you will eventually end? I thought Gun Brooke did an excellent job of debating the morals of when a society splits and changes into something else. A change so extreme that it creates a need for an exodus. I am definitely interested to see what happens next in the series that is for sure.
Digressing entirely from world decisions and going to messing with personal morals I don’t think there is a better example than Alison R. Solomen’s Along Came the Rain. I honestly don’t know where to start with how morally skewed some of those characters are but still so believably sell their rationalizations. In my opinion the plot could not be more engaging at the same time as being so challenging to my morals. It is absolutely awesome and I totally suggest everyone read and process and then question what they read because it really, really could happen that way and just that thought is so terrifying and real that you will find yourself flipping back through the pages to see if you could have seen it coming earlier.
Aren’t these types of books amazing? The one’s that make you think and question and wonder, “could I do that?” What LesFic books out there were unexpectedly challenging to your morals but you just couldn’t put down?