The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
So the big question is: Can you have a long, drawn out courtship between two level-headed middle-aged adults in a SF universe without much in the way of conflicts, misunderstandings, petty rivalries, jealousies, or much in the way of an overblown outside conflict bearing down upon them?
Why yes, yes you can, when it is called The Best of All Possible Worlds. I'm okay with pastoral romances, but usually there's a bit more plot and even if it's a mild comedy of errors or a comedy in the old romantic sense, there's usually enough intrigue to push everything along until the conflicted characters finally get together.
Here, we've got a woman who doesn't know her mind, or at least, doesn't want to admit her own mind, mildly, until the end.
And then we've got marriage.
Yup. That's it.
All right, maybe there's a slight bit more to it, but for the most part we're dealing with a lot of lack of conflict except for the fact the taSidiri homeworld got destroyed and there's a glut of men who are just like Vulcans except for the Pon Farr. Telepathy plays a big role through the novel, but nothing much happens except average every day pastoral concerns such as finding all these poor men wives and proving survivability for their cultural heritage.
That's not to say that things don't happen, because some things do happen. Kissing elephants, the Fairy Kingdom, uncovering a slavery ring, an expedition that goes awry... but honestly, they were never immediately powerful or full of serious long-term consequences. They happened. I can't really say if they progressed any type of real story except as a shared backdrop to the really early telegraphed insistence on The Marriage, which eventually happened.
It was a gentle boat ride of a novel that had a few mild and gentle confusions and resolutions, long-term planning, and logical and deliberate considerations.
Oh yeah, and it is SF. At least, it's set in an SF universe that had some standard tropes and even a little mysticism and what I can only consider angels.
It's okay. Ultimately kinda forgettable, but okay.
Congratulations on the marriage!
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