The world building in this book features a multi-generational spider and ant society evolutionized with a nanotech virus, created and delivered to them by a marooned and cocooned human scientist in a semi-sentient pod, suspended in animation hovering above the planet’s atmo—who was from an Earth human’s destroyed with war and climate change—claiming to be god for the practical purpose of successfully completing her evolutionary experiment that began with monkeys only to be sabotaged by a crazy religious cultist that destroyed humanity by murdering millions.
This was a fascinating read. The technical jargon painless. The world building incredible rendered easily plausible akin to human evolution and its idiosyncrasies inherent in our history and culture. And the spiders? Are a matriarchal society thus subverting the sexism making for some delicious misandry.
There are humans too left over from a dead rock we destroyed that eventually go interstellar looking to colonize a new home and finding it far from easy peasy. They try to land on this planet—multiple times with some epic and violent clashes. So, some good ole human misery and destruction lest you feel left out and under represented by simply the usual ‘we left Earth a uninhabitable rock and are looking for another planet to colonize and destroy’ kind.
I haven’t read the sequel yet, but am planning too. This was definitely a fun educational read. If you have dark humor like me, there are some parts that will literally make you laugh out loud. I would highly recommend this book if only to connect the parallels to our own society. Easily a favorite.
“That is the problem with ignorance. You can never truly know the extent of what you are ignorant about.”
“Life is not perfect, individuals will always be flawed, but empathy – the sheer inability to see those around them as anything other than people too – conquers all, in the end.”
“Earth spitting out the last gobbets of its inhabitants before the rising tide of poison overcame it.”
‘I’m Engineering. We don’t do ideas.’
“If there had been some tiny bead present in the brain of all humans, that had told each other, They are like you; that had drawn some thin silk thread of empathy, person to person, in a planet-wide net – what might then have happened? Would there have been the same wars, massacres, persecutions and crusades?”
“…fluttering, dancing males. Their dances are courtship rituals that they constantly almost, but not quite, consummate. Other than menial labour, this is the place of a male in Portia’s society: adornment, decoration, simply to add value to the lives of females.”
“She may then kill and eat him, which is thought to be a great honour for the victim, although even Portia suspects that the males do not quite see it that way.”
“It is, however, quite true that packs of females – especially younger ones, perhaps newly formed peer groups seeking to strengthen their bonds – will descend to the lower reaches of the city and engage in hunting males. The practice is covertly overlooked – girls will be girls, after all – but overtly frowned upon. Killing a male, sanctioned or not, is a world apart from killing a beast.”