Along the Oregon coast an arm of the Pacific shushes softly against rocky shores.
–Sheri S. Tepper - The Fresco - c.2000 - pg.1
Sometimes I wonder why I bother to read certain books at all. Why do I make myself finish them? Is it because I believe I’m a bad person and need to be punished? If that’s why I must have done something very bad to make myself finish this one.
Honestly, its probably because I like to let a book convict itself. If I toss it I can never say “I read that book and it sucked” because if you didn’t finish it then you can’t judge it IMO, of course..
The Fresco doesn’t set out to tell any wild new story, it is a first contact story, aliens come to earth to say “hey, how are you. How bout we help you out” while other aliens come to earth to say “Hey, how are you? Why don’t we have fun with you little humans.” I don’t object to that, not at all, a book doesn’t have to be original to be good. It just has to be well-written and entertaining. This book isn’t. Entertaining that is. Instead it is preachy preachy preachy preachy. It is sorta well written, in a not-subtle-about-the-author’s-political-stance way. And occasionally it is a little funny. But overall, it is so preachy. So very preachy. And annoying.
See in this book the helpful aliens want Earth to join in their confederation of harmonious peoples and learn how to be neighbourly In order to do so people on earth must be content. No more war, no more drug or alcohol abuse, no more authoritarian religions, no more sectarian conflict. The aliens will save us all and tell us exactly how we should live our lives. Good god if ever there was an example of why people give out about feminist sci-fi this is it. Although technically it isn’t feminist, not in my opinion, instead it’s that anti-male way of thinking that misogynists think of when they hear the word feminism.
Look, if you want to be told how Tepper would solve all the worlds problems through a combination of reduction in free will, sterilization, and male rape go on ahead and read this book. Why you might want to do so I couldn’t say. Why I did so, well, so I could tell you all “My god that’s a piece of crap, please don’t read it.”