Comment by Rich Horton - April 30, am. I first read Floating Worlds in , and thought it highly original and very compelling. Holland wrote a definitely unique and entertaining novel. A very mature and intelligent novel. I wish she had written more SF, but I have never read her two fantasy novels. I must correct that mistake. Comment by Joe Bonadonna - April 30, am. Amazon has a couple of different editions.
Cheapest is 20 bucks. The novel use of paraphernalia is ridiculously poor and stamps it irremediably from the seventies: if we were to believe Holland, videophones and air buses would be the only technical innovations humanity could come up with in almost 2, years! This aside, Floating World is a powerfu Cecilia Holland is not a science-fiction writer. All planets from Venus to Uranus have been populated. In the most remote ones lives a mutated human population, organized in a male-based, extremely hierarchic, fascist society.
This society happens to control the biggest source of energy of all the Solar system. This is not the only feature reminiscent of a Saudi Arabia-like civilization : in Uranus too polygamy is a men-only privilege, in Uranus too their wives have to go veiled in public. Paula Mendoza is a small black woman who grew up on Earth. There, like on any other planet of the Solar system, humanity lives in bubbles. Pollution has rendered the atmosphere unlivable to human beings. Under the massive globes of glass covering London or what is left of New York, Earth's society evolved to a form of pacifist egalitarian anarchy : people are poor, social bounds are loose, passions are low, life has little prospect to offer other than one of chilled-out, low-key survival.
But Paula is ambitious. She wants wealth. And where to find it other than in Uranus? The shock between the small, black, anarchist, ambitious, incredibly resilient Earth woman and the big, sur-human, machist, fascist leaders of Uranus echoes throughout the pages of the novel with a strength that never weakens. Ten pages from the end I found myself still entrapped into the action and unable to guess what the final situation would be. The only reason why I wouldn't give this book the 5 stars it deserves in so many aspects is the writing itself: dry, quick, factual, unemotional, it misses opportunities to develop landscapes promising to be stunning -the quick glances we get at the outer planets, at the cities of Uranus, made me long for more ; their dark, monochrome beauty deserves to be put in pictures, in a form or another-.
However, regardless of how much my romantic French soul suffered from poetry starvation, I can see how the dryness of the style serves to reflect the harshness of Paula's condition. The novel covers most of her adult life: kidnapped, beaten, "harem-ed", enslaved, raped, constantly despised, hated, bullied, she earns every single atom of respect she gets the hardest way. Paula's survival through constant struggle is her victory - the victory of the resilience of the oppressed, of men over merciless gods, of Anarchy over dictatorship.
Mar 15, Paul rated it it was amazing. This deserves its reputation as a lost classic. Written in the style of the late 70s socially conscious scifi epics leguin, russ, delany, et al , this tells the story of a women from a largely ruined but wholly anarchist earth who, in her effort to negotiate a truce with a race of imperialistic aliens, the Styths, of human-ancestry, bears the children of one of their leaders and integrates into their society.
All of the other humans who live with the styths do so as their slaves, so Fl Amazing! All of the other humans who live with the styths do so as their slaves, so Floating Worlds becomes a sort of view of the other by the other, all wrapped up in an epic interplanetary drama. This book rules. Dec 17, E. There was a recent article about the top ten best unknown SCI-FI titles of all time and this was one of them.
The novel is set 2, years in the future in which colonies are spread throughout our galaxy and earth has been reduced to a few people living inside domes because they've destroyed the enviornment outside. One woman, an Anarchist one There was a recent article about the top ten best unknown SCI-FI titles of all time and this was one of them.
Floating Worlds by Cecelia Holland - Books - Hachette Australia
One woman, an Anarchist one of the ruling parties decides to meet with the violent race of the outer planets because she speaks the langauge. She ends up having sex and having a child with one of their great warriors and takes a position in his clan to help outline a treaty for their mineral ore. The alien world and their culture comes across well-thoughtout and fully realized. But I only care so much about atmosphere. Like many readers my age, I want a little plot with my novels.
Unfortunately, that's what I get with Floating Worlds, very little plot. The story spends the bulk of its time following one woman as she trapes around the galaxy, playing politics with all involved. She's cunning and shrewed and makes for an interesting character, but by definition her being an "anarchist" means she has no personal stakes in anything, so her random actions never have any grounding or reason.
In the end, I didn't really care for her or her plight becuase of this. Holland can clearly write and was probably on the forefront of the sci-fi genre in when this book was completed. She certainly was one of the first to have such detailed sexual activity in her genre book. Overall, the story was mildly interesting, but there's only so long you can go without caring about any of hte characters before you tune out.
Kudos for imagination and atmosphere, but without better plotting or characters, it's easy to see why this one is relatively unknown. Aug 28, Ruby Tombstone [With A Vengeance] rated it liked it Shelves: wheres-my-effing-jetpack , cross-cultural-adventures. It has been two months since I first started the book, and three days since I finished it, and I am still trying to figure out what just happened. I can only tell you three things about this book Floating Worlds has a very detailed and well thought out futuristic universe, complete with technology, political systems and alien races.
Of course, being written in the mids, it feels all a little dated - not just in terms of technology, but in socio-political terms as well.
You get the impressio It has been two months since I first started the book, and three days since I finished it, and I am still trying to figure out what just happened. You get the impression that this vision is very clear in the mind of the writer though. You never know what the characters are thinking, feeling or planning. The author tells us what happens, but not why, what it means or how anyone feels about it.
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Perhaps this is because the author wrote historical novels, this being her only science-fiction novel. There are facts, just the facts and nothing but the facts. In a way, this almost works. It provides a blank canvas from which you can draw your own conclusions. The problem is that I doubt this was an intentional literary device. By the end of the book, I still didn't know why the main character embarked on this adventure to begin with. There is a lot of raw material for deep and thoughtful analysis about cross-cultural issues here. The central character is a female bi-racial human being amid a world of giant black-skinned, male-dominated, physically aggressive, fascist aliens.
She gets pushed, punched, kicked, raped and called "the n word". A LOT. She also chooses to live this way, and due to the writing style, we will never know why she chose this life. It's an infuriating missed opportunity. Was it unique? Was it intriguing? Yes but ultimately unresolved.
Was it well written?
Did it go anywhere? I'm just Feb 17, Iain rated it really liked it. What a book! It's the single SF work by a well-known historical novelist, so as a seasoned SF reader I kept a wary eye open to see what kind of book it would really turn out to be. And I couldn't crack the code. It's something of a historical mashup, sure—Viking raiding parties, bloody tribal rituals, Yakuza families hence "floating worlds" , backstabbing in the senate—but no single element dominates, and the What a book!
It's something of a historical mashup, sure—Viking raiding parties, bloody tribal rituals, Yakuza families hence "floating worlds" , backstabbing in the senate—but no single element dominates, and the sum is pure gritty SF. The protagonist, Paula Mendoza, is a woman of few advantages living in a crapsack solar system of squabbling petty empires. She's smart and creative; surrounded by people motivated by hatred, fear, or lust for power, she yearns for happiness in some vague sense she can never define. She kicks against the restraints of society, takes risks, has sex with all the wrong people, is ruthless when she needs to be and loving at unexpected moments.
After some absolutely horrific experiences, she's weary but undefeated. She's like a cat who refuses either to come in or go out, but insists on sitting in the doorway. She doesn't necessarily leave the solar system a better place. I didn't find this exactly a pleasurable read, but definitely compelling. The writing is stripped-down, unadorned. There's no direct explanation of the future history, and lots of names and places get flung about with little emphasis. The overall effect is of intense reality—it's up to you whether to pay attention, or just let it wash over you.
And time passes unexpectedly. Without any big leaps in the storyline, we suddenly realise to our surprise that a character has aged ten years. When did that happen? It's been happening all along, in small steps, no special emphasis. This is as good and rounded a portrait of a complete life as I've seen in SF. I also find her reminiscent of early Vonda McIntyre; like McIntyre, she doesn't necessarily give you a vivid feel for vast gulfs of time between then and now, but she does get the texture of the future right—centuries of layered history and tradition, drifting far away from our own.
Why only 4 stars? I didn't quite love it, perhaps because it's so relentlessly downbeat. Mendoza deserves a better future to live in than this. Jul 24, Lindig rated it it was ok Shelves: sf. I read this when it first came out late s. At the time, sex in SF was practically non-existent, so this book was exciting for its explicit sexuality. However, rather than being a feminist approach, I found the cultural aspects more reactionary.
It seemed to me that the heroine was bowled over by the warrior culture's "manly" approach to sex and so succumbed to the alien's dominance and was willing to be limited and circumscribed by his culture just so she could get really good sex. As a fem I read this when it first came out late s.
As a feminist myself, I say "Faugh! Jun 12, F. This is a book which absolutely transcends its time. It's a book to pass the time with, rather than relish. I'm not really sure what to make of this one. For me, it struggled to get going, was overly long and petered out with an ending that left you wondering why you bothered. Don't get me wrong, it certainly had it's moments. Most of the time I was fairly gripped, wanted to find out what would happen, where it was going.
And for a while, I thought I knew, until the ending let me down. The dialogue took some getting used to too, always at cross purposes, talking past each other. Paula Mendoza was an in I'm not really sure what to make of this one. Paula Mendoza was an interesting, complex character who was full of contradictions. She is both an idealist and a pragmatist, dispassionate yet often guided by her passions. She is rigid in her ideals as an anarchist, feminist and pacifist yet chooses to live in a rigidly hegemonic, patriarchal and imperialistic society in order to pursue her nebulous ends.
At one point she is violently raped and yet is mystifyingly quick to forgive something that a male author certainly could not have gotten away with. The low rating for this book belies the fact that there is much of interest in here.
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If only it were weaved together a little more concisely and coherently with a more definite purpose. Then again, perhaps I just don't get it? Nov 16, Will rated it it was ok. Incredibly obscure book, tracked down and read because it was an incredibly obscure book. Sadly, it's about as readable as the Worm Ouroborus. Leaving aside the style and aversion to using proper nouns, it's incredibly frustrating to read because it jumps around so much. There is no exposition, repeat, no exposition. There are no periods where the characters discuss their options, or even work out where they are and what they're doing there.
It's simply assumed that you know how this world works Incredibly obscure book, tracked down and read because it was an incredibly obscure book. It's simply assumed that you know how this world works, and no attempt is made to explain it to you. That's great on one level, because it's exciting and they're moving and everyone seems very decisive and intelligent. It's only when you put the book down that you realize you have no idea what just happened, except that it was fast and there was a lot of it.
Sep 21, Angela rated it really liked it. That was gigantic. I need someone to talk about it with. I need someone to digest that all with! Are there essays about this book? There should be. So much! So much is happening! I picked this one up for a bunch of reasons. It's a "lost classic", which is always appealing pretty o Gah. It's a "lost classic", which is always appealing pretty obscure; hipsterfood. And just, wow. I feel a little emotionally exhausted. The story is set in the Medium-Far Future, where the solar system is way different from how it is today.
Most of the planets are colonized, and radically different. Earth is a giant anarchist commune, and also an eco-disaster so people live in domes. The moon is a theocratic dictator state. They now live in interesting-sounding domes, and are a Mighty and Warlike Race blah blah. Also, they have claws. They're basically Klingons. Am I the only one who saw them as Klingons?
The hiro-protagonist of the story is Paula Mendoza, this tough-as-nails lady from Earth. Which is, incidentally, run by extremely Machiavellian types! Paula is tasked with drafting an interplanetary treaty between the Styths and Martians, who hate each other. Wow, responsibility.
But I guess that's how anarchists swing? Anyway, because she read that one paper by Paul Krugman , she writes an awesome treaty leveraging cool trade stuff. She also gets impregnated by one of the Klingons, and decides to go live in Stythsville for, like, ten years. A war happens at one point. Books Cecelia Holland Floating Worlds. Download Image Download Image. Imprint Gollancz Gateway. Cecelia Holland Cecelia Holland was born in and is a well-known and acclaimed writer of historical fiction. Readers also viewed.