Sunday, September 25, 2011

Emergence by David R. Palmer

I love that a book published when I was one year old is both still available at the library and is also still awesome. It’s written almost entirely in shorthand (not the squiggles-and-dots kind, just the culling-of-extraneous-words kind) which I admit, would have put me off if I had know about it prior to borrowing, but it was surprisingly easy to adjust to.

Encapsulate This

Unspecified future date, USA, blah blah blah. Candidia Smith-Foster (otherwise known as Candy, I seriously had to look up candida because, gross, who would name their kid that? I was relieved to discover I had the word wrong) is a survivor of a bio-nuclear war. She’s mentally and physically precocious (certifiable genius and at least 5th degree black belt in karate), supremely motivated and focused and is also only eleven years old. She sets off across the country to find other survivors and discovers more than just people.

Ruminate on That

I said that this is written is shorthand (also in first person) and that was weird for like 6 minutes. Then I got over it. Sometimes Candy comes off just a little too precious, but she is an occasionally funny, mightily observant, pragmatic, and over-all sympathetic narrator.  She definitely makes a few mistakes, but she’s only eleven, and is still figuring out who she is on top of trying to cope with the world ending. What I like best about her is her incredibly progressive approach to life especially regarding sex and non-standard personal relationships (In a polyamorous marriage? Candy’s got no problem with you). It is a little uncomfortable to read about an eleven year old making these particular sexual decisions, but it is better that she consider them and come to her own rational conclusion than to put it off and be stuck in a bad situation.

Emergence was originally published as a serial in a Sci-fi magazine and was collected for publication in 1984. Despite its age, it doesn’t really feel dated, with cassette tapes and NASA being a couple of glaring exceptions (it is SO SAD that NASA is dated, seriously, it makes me a little teary). However, I’m in no way a technical person and a lot of the jargon flew right over my head so maybe it just doesn’t feel dated to a layman. You STEM types are probably SOL.

Final Reckoning

Should you read this? Yes, do. Yeah yeah, post-apocalyptic, been done, blah blah. But it’s good and interesting and fun and goes to some unexpected places. There were at least 2 times I was all like “WHA? What just happened?” but in a good way. The end was just a little orly? but still, lots of fun.

Emergence by David R. Palmer

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