Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Queen of the Trash

If you've been reading along, you might be wondering why I read so many awful books. Or maybe, if you're not a snob, you just wonder why I read so many books "of questionable literary merit," or maybe just "poorly written mass market thrillers." I can't blame you for wondering this, because I've been pondering that very question today.

What brings me to this pass, you ask? What makes me ask this question that even that paragon of awfulness, Angels and Demons, did not bring to mind? The answer can be given in two little words: Darwin's Radio. Greg Bear is the author, apparently a well-respected scifi guy.

Let me give you two little tastes. First, the main character (Mitch) is an anthropologist who is on the outs in his field because he stole some remains. The local Native Americans wanted to rebury them, but he shouted, Indiana Jones-like, "It belongs in a museum," and swiped it. This is all backstory, but the interesting thing is that his anecdote is supposed to paint him as a rogue hero, someone who's going to flout the rules to get the job done. I'm supposed to find him to be "my kind of man," when in fact I find it offensive that he would steal human remains like they were potsherds. (That's right, "sherds." That's what the archaeologists call them.)

Taste two: What's going on in this book is that most of the pregnant women are having weird pregnancies that aren't coming to term--when eventually they do start coming to term, the babies are the next stage in human evolution. Anyway, the scientist who discovered this mess is a woman who falls in love with the abovementioned Mitch after meeting his unemployed, YMCA-living self. Since the government is determined to get rid of these new mutant fetuses, she decides to get herself pregnant, and tries to seduce her boyfriend of three days without a condom. He refuses. "Why not?" "You're fertile." "How can you tell?" "I can smell it."

You can? Those home ovulation kit salesmen have a hell of a racket going on if you can smell her ovulating. Seriously, tell me more about this smell. Also, I'm pretty sure that you should never tell your girlfriend you can smell anything about her, unless it's about her new bath soap.

Just a tip.

who is morally questionable, and who (second) can smell his girlfriend's ovulation, apparently.

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