Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Genre Character of the Week: Snake the Healer

Taking a ten-year jump in my Science Fiction reading, from Bug Jack Barron last month to Dreamsnake this month I think I need to take a quick pause and explain my reading choices. As I’ve said in a number of previous posts, I’m currently working my way through a list called Science Fiction: The 100 Best Books by David Pringle, which had me starting in 1945 with 1984 and currently has me beginning the ‘70s with Poul Anderson’s Tau Zero (next month, hopefully), but at the same time I’m working my way through the winners of various genre fiction awards, of which Vonda N. McIntyre’sDreamsnake won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards for best novel. Anyway, this week’s genre character is Snake the Healer.
Snake is a recently graduated healer in a post-apocalyptic world that may or may not have been Earth all along. She begins her story in the desert (like many great post-apocalytic stories do) on the way to doing a healing for a nomad band. Things do not go as planned.

The story is a great example of world building, reminding me of Earth Abides and Lord Valentine's Castle. What causes this book to stand out however, is the characterization of Snake, a woman trying her best to make the world a better place. As she travels through her world (it is never named), she faces a huge number of challenges and I loved exactly how she sorted each of them out, this character is pretty amazing.

Would she be allowed to come and visit my house? Yes, but I would be pretty nervous about the large number of snakes she would bring with her.

A great read.

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