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Q:What did you do over Thanksgiving break, little girl?Image
A:Read a book about a world embroiled in a holy war and the women kick just as much ass as the men, they even torture each other and didn’t wind up having sex like most stupid pretend women can kick ass novels or movies, and the people on this world use bugs and bug science to fuel their technology, and they have strict breeding regulations, and there’s even shape shifters and political inter-planetary intrigue. What did you do, sir?
Q: Uh.

I did finish reading Kameron Hurley’s novel God’s War sometime last week. Since times have been difficult for me, finishing anything feels like an accomplishment. So, yay. And I enjoyed Hurley’s world. You can read more about it on her website. And as the Q and A above mentions, there is awesome bug tech and plenty of kick-ass women. The planet has been devastated by war, all men are conscripted to fight at the front and few survive. Women fight as well, but the majority of the non-combat civilian world is populated by women. So women that do everything, because that’s who’s there to do anything.

I had read somewhere that part of the novel’s premise developed from her belief that women are no less aggressive or greedy than men, that any differences we may see are due to socialization. A world mostly populated by women would run about the same as one dominated by men. Also, Hurley is a trained boxer, and the boxing scenes in the novel resonate well with her first-hand knowledge. As someone who knows nothing of boxing, I was still able to follow the boxing scenes and enjoyed them as well. That’s good writing.

All in all, an engaging and fun read. Good pacing. Great world building. Hurley is a good writer who knows how to spin a tale and keep it interesting throughout. This novel does touch on the difficult subjects of racism, and wars and hate fueled by religious beliefs. Meta-wise, not a great book, I didn’t feel I’d learned something about human nature that I’d not seen before, I didn’t gain hope from the story. But I liked reading it. I really did. And the main character is a kick-ass woman. That’s a kind of hope, too, enjoyment.

That’s my short take on God’s War.

Ah, here it is, her post “Boys with babies and women with knives” in which Hurley disagrees with Ursula K. LeGuin about whether or not women have as much of a competitive nature as men. I only skimmed it, but would like to read it in more detail, and certainly discuss it with any of you who’d like to discuss such a thing.

[added 28 November – please see my post “deeper look at ‘God’s War’” for a more in depth review of the novel. Thanks!]