Wednesday, July 30, 2014

DiverSFFy: More Than This



DiverSFFy is a new (sporadic) feature hosted by yours truly! The goal is to get the word out about books in science fiction and fantasy that do a good job of portraying people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives - be it race, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic levels, etc. I'd love it if you joined in - just link me to your posts in the comments or on twitter (@spidersilksnow)!

This week's pick: More Than This


The Rundown:

Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre: Science fiction, young adult, dystopian


So what's so diverse about this book?

What I love about this book is that the characters are incredibly diverse but are absolutely not defined by their diverse characteristics. In the first third of the book, there is just one character, Seth. Seth has died, or at least he thinks he has. He wakes up in a strangely familiar place and the last thing he remembers is a suicide attempt. As Seth tries to make sense of his surroundings, we discover more and more pieces of his past.

Seth is gay, as is revealed in his flashbacks, but it's never a big deal. It's just a fact about him, as if he has black hair. People have different hair colors, but we don't define people by calling them "the blond" (ok, maybe sometimes we do). The point is that Seth being gay is not the focus of his personality. His longing for love and friendship and his curiosity to understand what is happening to him is.

We meet two more characters later on in the story, Regine and Tomasz. They have troubled and traumatic pasts, but again, they aren't just "the victim of abuse" or "the poor kid". These two bring so much life and color into the story, and the friendship between them is just so great! Regine is a young woman of color, but again, it's almost an aside that she isn't white. She isn't stereotyped, and she definitely is not defined by her race although she is influenced by it. There's a difference, and Patrick Ness draws the line well.

Why you should read it:

Aside from the awesome characters, this book is just mindblowing. It's really hard to discuss this book without spoilers because the plot is so intricate. Just when you think you know what's happening, WHAM your world turns upside down. But instead of everything you knew being a lie, which can get frustrating, you just see everything in a new light. It's amazing how many times that happens in this book. It's a hard sci-fi book that doesn't really seem like it at first, which is pretty cool.

Also, Patrick Ness. If you haven't read any of his books yet, there's a serious void in your life that needs to be filled. The Chaos Walking trilogy and A Monster Calls are simply brilliant, and this one is really good too!

The twitter version:





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