A terrible novel
by Amy Thomson
The novel is told from the point of view of a human
, Juna, marooned on an alien
world, and one of the aliens, Ani (aka Spiral, aka Anito, aka Anitonen) who helps her survive.
The aliens are not very alien - they're basically "men in rubber suits
." At one point, Thomson tries to shock the reader by revealing that the aliens eat
their own young. Big deal! I've read The fucking Sparrow
- you can't frighten me!
The aliens in The Color Of Distance were not believable. They talked by making pictures
- their skins were basically big color monitors
. Despite this purely visual language, they had sounds
associated with words. How this works is never explained - at some point Juna's computer figures out that Ani's name is "Ani", rather than "spiral
The computer is one of many devices Thomson uses to avoid having to think of details like "plot." Another is "linking", which is basically a Vulcan mind-meld
, with magical
healing powers. Every problem in the book is solved within 20 pages - there are no failures.
And that's what pissed me off
most about this book - it was too perfect
. The only reason I read to the end is the hope that Thomson would throw one of the characters off a cliff to try to make the book more "poignant
" (a heart-attack wouldn't do, linking could fix that). But, alas, the book had a happy ending
. Every issue
could have caused interesting conflict was avoided. Can Bruce love Juno's transformed
alien body? Who knows - we'll just change her back.
In the end, this book left me with a deep feeling of emptiness
, as though I had just watched 8 hours of TV