BooksOfTheMoon

A World Between

By Norman Spinrad

Rating: 2 stars

Pacifica is a peaceful planet, masters of the Galactic Media Web and rightly proud of their democratic, almost anarchic, government. Then a spaceship enters the system and although its message is peaceful, it could shatter the Pacifican way of life.

There were some interesting ideas in this book, such as the rather shrewd prediction of a global communications network (even called the Web) and the importance of the media in politics, but this was more then counter-balanced by a crude and awfully simplistic level of gender politics.

On the one side you’ve got the Transcendental Scientists, noble scientist types, with a large dose of chauvinism, but just about believable as an ideology, and on the other you’ve got the most caricatured crypto-feminists I’ve ever read. Every caricature of feminism is there (lesbians: check, man-haters: check, wanting to eliminate all men and use cloning to reproduce: check), with a side-order of communism to boot. The simplification and caricature of what could be a very interesting subject – the balance of male and female and their roles in society – completely ruined this book for me. I kept going until the end since I wanted to see how the Pacificans solved the problem introduced by these two competing ideologies, but the book is definitely not worth it overall.

Although the importance of the media and a global electronic network is well-predicted in this book, Spinrad somehow fails to predict the vast number of cat pictures that infest the real Web, instead favouring a total politics immersion, making the Pacificans extremely savvy in their politics and making for a (not quite) perfect electronic democracy. I’d have liked to have seen more of that rather than the crass gender divide that the book actually focused on.

Book details

ISBN: 9780671828769
Publisher: Pocket Books
Year of publication: 1979

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