Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Review: The Best of All Possible Worlds

Book Cover: The Best of All Possible Worlds The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
Published Feb 2013 by Del Rey
Source: borrowed from library

A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.

Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all.

My Thoughts

Having read and reviewed The Galaxy Game, I felt compelled to get a copy of the preceding book, The Best of All Possible Worlds. My local public library requested a copy through InterLibrary Loan (ILL) and the owning library shipped it right away.

This was an amazing SF novel. For me, Karen Lord's first science fiction novel is a rousing success. The Best of All Possible Worlds takes an anthropological and cultural approach, rather than space ships and military maneuvers of the long string of military SF that I had been reading for the past year or so. In Lord's universe, there are four primary races—all human—which evolved on different planets and which are struggling to get along together.

As the book begins, the Sadiri are still reeling from the destruction of their home planet. Those who were off-planet have gathered together and are making an attempt to rebuild their society. This is complicated by the fact that very few Sadiri females survived. To aid in these objectives, a small research team is given the mission to visit various taSadiri (mixed-race) communities to assess the extent to which they have maintained Sadiri customs and whether there are females with sufficient Sadiri genetic traits who would be available to be wives to the large number of single Sadiri men.

Told in the first person by Grace Delarua, a biotechnician and liguist member of the research team, The Best of All Possible Worlds slowly unfolds through a series of episodes in which we learn about the history of this universe, the traits of those who people it, and the individuals who carry the story.

I'm awarding this book four stars, and I am committing to a re-read of The Galaxy Game in light of now having the background story that was missing on my first read.


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