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This review is from: The Woman Who Sparked the Greatest Sex Scandal of All Time: (Complete and Unabridged) (Kindle Edition)
This futuristic story is packed with references: to old gods, old films, thick with allusions to the cynicism of our own porn addicted age, where politics and the creative arts walk hand in hand, where sex is the opiate that blinds or upholds us. Where spin is everything.
Reading like a trippy version of 1984, or more accurately Metropolis, it uses words to lie to us, peeling away the comfort of ignorance, replacing it with knowledge of wider evil and duplicity. Apart from one info-dump, which I though could have been broken up a bit, I found it easy to read and interesting. But then it was ticking the right boxes for me being SF, referencing myths, gods, films, and also hinting at something else behind the facade.
So, where does it begin? It s a normal working day for Ishtah as she gets into her car, drives to the office, enters the lift, ready for her job as a wordsmith in the Written Chronicles department. Only today isn't a normal working day. Unexpectedly elevated into a heaven sent job she delights in the luxuries that go with her new role as a scriptwriter; only something isn't right. For one the man she is lusting after has disappeared, and, a dealer in fantasy herself she can sniff out a lie when she's in one.
We are off to a good start. Ishtah (Ishtar) goddess of sex, love, fertility and war is one of my favourite gods. There is most definitely sex, lots of it told in off-hand, unemotional language that robs it of excitement. (In Ishtah's story sex may be spectacularly imaginative but for her it is also everyday normal, after all, it's her job to write about it.) There is love as she searches for her man, fertility of the mind, and as for war - give the girl a chance.
As she meets new people, experiences the highs and lows of her society, and is forced to view her world in a different light we too take on board her suspicions, picking up clues, seeing with new eyes through the wordsmith's deception. The style in which this book is written itself hints at the final denouement, the story behind the story, and as we know, all utopias are built on unholy ground.
Favourite quote: `Love always comes back to the scene of desire'.
Would I read it again? Yes. Seeing behind Ishtah's divine eyes, I would.