Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Door into Ocean (Elysium Cycle), by Joan Slonczewski

Blackstone Audiobooks, ISBN 9781433253171, January 2012 (original publication February 1986)

This is a book that, in my opinion, does not show its age. It could have been published last week,

Two inhabited moons with very different cultures are part of a larger galactic empire, and increasing contact with the empire is causing its own strains. The more industrialized, military-inclined culture of Valendon wants to exploit the resources of Shora, a world virtually without land.

The Shorans have different ideas.

The are peaceful, cooperative, and communal. They are also all female. The reasons for this and its significance become clear as the story progresses, and it's the source of much of the conflict in the story.

Shora isn't the simplistic paradise it may appear on the surface. The Shorans, who call themselves Sharers, are doing a lot more than is visible at a casual glance, and two gender-determined cultures are anything but. The storyline of the young man, Sinel, rejects the whole idea that the traits the Sharers value might be gender-determined rather than cultural.

This isn't a fast-paced action story. It's thoughtful, deliberate, and fascinating. with characters who are interesting, complex, and unfolded with skill. The world-building is indirect yet convincing.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.