25 June 2007

The fifth sacred thing - Starhawk

Date: June 24, 2007
Recommendation: As this book is written by a witch, I wish to remain neutral with my recommendation.

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Written by a modern day witch, the Fifth Sacred Thing is a novel about hope and the power that alternate thinking can imbue in this world. The storyline pits two societies against one another: one, the Stewardship, whose dictatorial and corporate outlook has create a concrete society driven by idolatry and greed; the other is a ecological haven where sexual orientation, color, creed, or wealth are meaningless. Essentially, at some point in the early 21st Century, a scarcity of resources gave rise to a Orwellian state controlled society. A bunch of old ladies stood up to them in San Francisco, to declare the sanctity of the 4 sacred things: earth, wind, air and water. With this pagan-centered approach, San Francisco has become a thriving ecotopia. A fairly well written and hugely interesting story line ensues, the fate of which will essentially determine if Ralph Nader is ever elected to be President.

Starhawk is a witch. I mean that quite literally. The book reminds me of Atlas Shrugged at times, in that it was clearly written as a fictional vehicle to espouse the author's belief system. In this sense, the book should be considered a huge success. As a science fiction or fantasy novel, I think it comes up way short. There are a number of instances where Starhawk's liberal arts approach just don't cut it. Stating that "you should see the things we are doing with crystals" does not inspire much in terms of real world applications of her very liberating philosophy.

Finally, I have to share with you the fact that this novel won the Lambda Award, which is for the best gay or lesbian science fiction novel. Seriously, what was it in competition with, Deep Throat 9? Or if you will, deep space 69.

"But if you destroy your immortal soul with wickedness, then all that's left of value in you is your body, and your only redemption is to let the state use your body as it sees fit, for the greater good."

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