Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Children of God: Not as different as we thought

Stylistically, this book seems much less 'fate' than the previous novel. Because we have no fore-knowledge about the fate of the charecters, the story seems much more malleable and doesn't have the same classic tragedy air. Even though there was almost a genocide in this book, it seems much more uplifting, Emilio has found his faith again, and a 'purpose' behind the tragedy of the meeting has been found. Although to me it seemed very anti-climatic that the genetic music was what needed to be found as the true beauty and point of the meeting. Almost like the Star Trek Next Gen two-parter about the genetically coded message that everyone thought would be instructions to the ultimate weapon, it almost wasn't necessary and you wish they had left it as, "it happened that way just because it did". I did like the touch about the genetic music, but I didn't think it was worthy of being the "point and purpose" to the suffering. If she could have worked it in so it was there, but all those trials and tribulations hadn't been necessary to find it, I believe her theme (i.e. Job II) would have been much better maintained.

An interesting parallel with the title which might have been completely unintentional is that Emilio's constant refrain seems to be "don't do this to me again, kids and babies". However, the title directly relates to Children (although here it is meant in the wider since of the three separate species all of children of the same God). Perhaps the parallel here is that despite however much he tries not to, Emilio will meet up with all the children again. I'm not certain about this interpretation, and wonder if Russel purposefully does not have Emilio use the word children or child to reduce this parallel, however, to me it seems something that should be significant in this imagery laden novel.

One strong compulsion I felt throughout the later half of the novel was just to yell the word 'genocide' at Sophie. Even through all her prejudeces and the evil she felt had been committed by the Jana'ata, with her history and the conditioning against genocide she almost certainly has, one would hope she would pause to consider what she was truly doing. Sophie's complete blindness to this fact only worked for her, although it would have felt jarring with anyother character, because of her proven ability to shut out her emotions and disconnect herself from the realities of what were going on around her. This is also why Russel couldn't allow any of the other humans to survive, if just one other had, they may have been able to rein in the attempted genocide to a role reversal where the Runa became masters of the land, while the Jana'ata became the lower class species.

1 comment:

Scott said...

The obvious problem with that model being that the Jana'ata really have nothing to offer the Runa...