3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great content but didn't entirely come together for me...,
This review is from: Slow River (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
The plus points of this novel were the author's rich imagination in a likely portrayal of a future where all sorts of chemicals and carcinogens have infiltrated our ecosystem, setting off a brand new industry which is dedicated to cleaning and combating this gunk in a high-tech environmentally friendly process. The other plus point was the main mystery narrative as the heroine tries to work if something more was behind her kidnapping than met the eye, and an exploration of dark sexual secrets within the family. The way these plotlines were intertwined gave great depth to the story, although I would have preferred more investment in the mystery storyline, which only appeared to come to maturity very late in the book and somewhat abruptly.
Unfortunately my negative points relate to the characterisation. Individually, the character's do make sense and are well drawn in isolation - but together, it doesn't add up. The relationship between Lore and the predatory Spanner wasn't quite believable to me. Neither was Lore's obsession with knowing whether she'd killed one of her kidnappers - I mean, is that really a big deal? Furthermore, almost the entirety of the books characters appear to be lesbian. That in itself isn't important, but Lore hides her own sexuality during her teen years despite being surrounded by apparently gay couples - so why the big secret? I think there was only one heterosexual relationship in the book that I could remember. Finally, the budding love relationship also seemed to come out of nowhere.
Overall, despite the fascinating future depiction, I found the interaction between the characters a bit deadpan and lacking in credibility. Also, maybe its just me, but it appears that a lot of the women authors I'm reading in Sci-Fi are fascinated with exploring unhealthy relationships. Maybe that's something of interest to female readers, but I personally find it tedious. I found similar themes in 'Grass' and 'Synners', and now I find the same thing in 'Slow River'. By contrast, I found that Ursula K LeGuin's novels ('The Dispossesed' and 'The Lathe of Heaven') manage to explore both male and female viewpoints without becoming too gender focused.
That said, the book was worth a read, but it wasn't up there with the all-time greats by a long shot.