The Idiot Gods by David Zindell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Even though I had read a number of Zindell’s books before this one, I grabbed this particular book because I am a big fan of the author (Requeim for Homo Sapiens happens to be one of my favorite series of all time) and this particular book’s premise seemed like it could have been a delightful satire.
In actual fact, it wasn’t particularly funny or all that dark.
As readers we always need to go into these things with proper expectations. Or no expectations, perhaps.
I did like a few things about this. The ending, for one, was pretty cool, and I enjoyed a number of the scenes with Helen as she and Arjuna (the main character who happens to be an orca) got to know each other’s languages. A few of the observations about humanity felt a bit forced, however, and that’s where my enjoyment slowly spiralled into a bare minimum of enjoyment. It wasn’t bad, mind you, but whereas I kinda thought it might have gone the way of Olaf Stapleton’s Sirius: A Fantasy of Love and Discord with funny asides and wonderful skewers, the text here focused more on philosophy (not always a bad thing, mind you) and a rather monotone commentary on how stupid we are… a seas of assholes kind of thing.
Okay. I don’t even disagree with the premise, but I honestly rather hoped for more humor. The story turned out all right, and the book was pretty scientifically nerdy when it wasn’t getting religiously mystical, but it just didn’t push the right buttons for me.
I think all those traditional fiction books that have main characters be pets and horses and all kinds of animal kingdom POVs don’t really do it for me, either, so that might just mean that this book is a kind of “It’s not you, it’s me,” kind of situation.
Still, I’m glad I got to read it.
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