Friday, September 11, 2015

What makes a book unreadable?

Polaris book cover.jpg 

This is a hard sci fi book about a lost space yacht. Stephen King calls the author "The logical heir to Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke" and the book was nominated for a Nebula award. For a sci fi lover like me what's not to like?

And indeed this book did transport me back to the old days of sci fi that I grew up with. Unfortunately, as well as being full of excitement, adventure, and hard science, those were the days when sexism was the norm and women were mostly for decoration or a prize.

Here are a couple of excerpts so you can judge for yourself.
Ten minutes later, the Sentinel's captain appeared, Eddie Korby, young, quiet, studious. Look at him and you thought he was timid. The last person in the world you'd think would be piloting a starship. But he always had an attractive woman on his arm. Sometimes two or three.
And a bit later on, of a character working in ground control:
He'd been trying to coax Talia into his bed for the better part of a year. That night he broke through. Afterward, he concluded that the business with the Polaris [the missing space craft] had, in some way, been responsible. It's an ill wind ... he thought.
I imagine there are other examples because I've only reached page 16. I will never know, because I really can't bring myself to read any further. It was the "he broke through" comment that finished it for me.

I'm so glad there are plenty of other books  around now where sexism just isn't an issue. It reminds me how far most of us have come.

I wonder what makes a book unreadable for you.
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