epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

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Book Reviews: Bloodlines + The Death Of Princes

Bloodlines by Marian Veevers
This good 1997 novel is a counter-narrative to ‘Macbeth’ that mythtorches the Scottish play. Three women across time are affected by a curse. In 1057, Grouch is a sit-quietly-and-be-good kind of girl who is married to a man who abhors and distains her. Then the warrior Macbeth comes into her life and she seeks to get him the unattainable: the crown itself. Thus beginning a self-perpetuating cycle of truly ghastly events that inflame tensions and lead to a moral obscenity.

In 1606 the stupid Jennet is accused of witchcraft and tells her tale to a listening ear. Jennet is comprehensively moronic but the identity of the listener is a good twist. In 1996 actress Abigail and her doomed glamour takes on the role of a lifetime at the behest of her very status conscious awful controlling husband. He crudely undermines her and a loony piece of human flotsam wanders around being simpering and twee and effortlessly judgemental. This is a tale of social constructs, fallibility and enormous social consequences. It is an the origin story of the much vaunted play as well as a retelling that retrofits a much maligned woman and the unreconstructed gender assumptions of a bygone age.

Best Lines:
“Her usual simpering lack of originality.”

“The scene had finally grunted and lunged to its conclusion.”

“She hates the morals of the nurses.”

“A man of easy morals and rampant fertility.”

“If it’s true what your mother told me and you are kin to me - and I think it may be true, for all she was dim-witted and a slut.”

“A dark terrible future.”

“They’re vile, dark things with venomed tongues.”

“I don’t like your house. There’s evil at work here. Evil and witchcraft.”

“What have I done to offend you?”
“A great deal,”

“That’s a question you should have asked long ago.”

“Or the wit to understand what others are about.”

Star Trek The Next Generation #44: The Death Of Princes by John Peel
This 1997 novel is a terrible uncohesive novel. Picard and Crusher are on a world where a plague rages and they must uncover who caused it and who on the planet might not wish them to be there. Meanwhile on a pre-warp pre-first contact world, Riker and Troi look into a renegade Federation observer who has disappeared after announcing her causal dismissal of the Prime Directive. Riker and Troi must stop things from going awry on this world which could soon be part of the Federation.

The author and the characters don’t find it of pressing relevance that on the 2nd planet women are treated with dismissal and are dispossessed. This novel is sexist, boring, lacks a coherent narrative and reads like a clanging parody of the sterile Regan era TNG. One female on the sexist planet has deep emotions unleashed by her treatment by patronising men and is driven to rage that escalates the already unstable situation. So we have inherently immoral women, combative xenophobic rhetoric, unintended escalation, aliens speaking English, no moral instincts, sexual politics that harken back to the 1950s, copious amounts of clunky dialogue and Riker being totally at ease with patronising rampant misogynists. This was morally indefensible and amazingly stupid.

Best Line:
“Your foolish moral judgements don’t interest me.”
Tags: book review, star trek

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