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Tag: Science Fiction

Dark Age by Pierce Brown

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Rating: *Ptreodactyl screech!!!* / ★★★★★
Genre: Science fiction / Space Opera
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Del Rey
Series: Red Rising, #5
Content Includes: racism, xenophobia, classicism, poverty, imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, physical, mental, and emotional abuse, queerphobia, chronic illness, substance abuse and addiction, pedophilia, ephebophilia, incest, childbirth and pregnancy, infanticide, explicit violence, gore and body horror, torture, character death, animal death, implied and/or referenced sexual violence, cannibalism, ableism, explicit medical procedures, child death, and child prostitution


While Dark Age, published by an American author in 2018, cannot actively comment on the events of 2020 and 2021, reading this book during the final six months of Trump’s presidency was a fucking head trip whose horrific verisimilitude culminated in an act of domestic terrorism on the nation’s Capitol. Our dystopia is here and we don’t get to have the neon-soaked inventions of our narratives, rather, it’s the terror and confusion so well exemplified in the latest entrant in the Red Rising saga. 

Dark Age is the fifth installment in a series that has evolved in depth. The first trilogy, starting with Red Rising, is a fast, action-packed science fiction series following Darrow, a slave who infiltrates society’s elite to realize his wife’s dream of equality. Reflecting his age, Darrow is an idealist who struggles to nurture love and compassion in an inhospitable society in the first trilogy. Darrow is hardened by the second trilogy, his idealism still a delicate flame that drives him to incredible feats, but the questions he asks himself are those that come with maturation: what is his role in prepping the next generation of sons, can the democracy that he helped to established decades ago survive him, and can a democracy created from bloody revolution be sustained?

The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis

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Rating: It's fine / ★★★
Genre: Science fiction / Space Opera
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Publisher: Skybound Books
Content Includes: Explicit sexual content, misgendering, sexual violence, human experimentation, classism, poverty, state violence, state corruption, imperialism, fantasy racism


The First Sister is the first part in a queer sociopolitical science fiction trilogy about First Sister, a priestess and comfort woman ordered to spy on her ship’s captain, and Lito sol Lucius, a formerly impoverished soldier given a mission to track down and kill his former partner. Pitched to have the thrills of Red Rising whilst not only acknowledging spectrums in gender and sexuality, but including their particularities in its narrative with the conscientiousness of A Handmaid’s Tale, this book was set to realize my queer dream.

The danger of explicitly naming comparable works is that this creates direct comparisons. In this case, both of the works that The First Sister compares to are multi-part cross-media franchises that have had a lot of time to find their communities. And in fact, I was finally going to pick up Dark Age, the latest book in the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown, when my hold on this came in from the library. But to pit this slim book against series comprised of massive installments would be unfair, so my question entering into this book was, is it as action-packed as the first book in Red Rising and is it as socially savvy as A Handmaid’s Tale?

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