Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book Review - Farthing by Jo Walton

This is another book that I read for the Women in Science Fiction book club, now housed at Calico Reaction, and though not as long as my review for Connie Willis' Doomsday Book, it is a pretty long post, and it does contain spoilers, despite my best intentions. When I wrote that review, I don't think I mentioned how few of the books for this book club I've actually finished. It's nothing to do with the club itself, I have just found that the books have not been to my taste. I finished Elizabeth Bear's Dust, and was sorely disappointed. What looked to be a great adventure story set on a generational space ship, ended up being an exposé of gender issues and fanaticism (or was that only my interpretation?) and the incestuous relationships creeped me out. These are the three books I have finished, and I plan to attempt only one more, based on its synopsis. Although I didn't love this book in the way that I loved Doomsday Book, I didn't dislike it like I did Dust.  As usual, click on the picture below to read the review.

Overall, I think this is an intelligent book that is aimed at making the reader think about the 'small' injustices that occur, and a warning of how these can lead to extremes such as Nazism. This wasn't the novel I had expected, especially as the science fictional elements were completely nonexistent (there wasn't even a time machine in this one!), and if I'd known, I wouldn't have picked it up. That being said, I'm glad I did. After writing this review, thinking about the themes of the book, and realising why some plot devices were used, I find I am wholly satisfied with the story, though, while reading it, I didn't feel this way. It makes me quite angry in the way that watching the news often does, and I'm glad this was set in an alternate 1949, as it allowed some distance from the events that illustrated the themes. However, it would take very little effort to translate Jew to, for example, Muslim, and apply the same themes. When looking up the book on wikipedia, I found out that there are two sequels. I don't plan on reading them, simply because, for me, the story is finished, the point is made.

If I've inspired you to buy Farthing by Jo Walton, click here to buy it from Mighty Ape.  If you do, I get credit so I can buy more pretty things to tell you about!


  1. I'm really glad you ended up liking this. I'm curious: over the year, have you only been participating in the books that grabbed you? Do you read SF as a rule, or has this truly been a challenge?

  2. I do read science fiction a lot, in fact it's my primary genre, and I had an aim to read all of the books this year, but after really not liking Dust, I started looking up the blurbs for the books and steered clear of the ones I knew I wouldn't enjoy. I know that's a little closed-minded, but at the rate I read books, the book club would be my entire year's reading if I didn't skip some! But I'm so glad of the list; I've found at least one new author to be a huge fan of (Connie Willis) and another to try again (Jo Walton).



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...