Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Cottonwood by R. Lee Smith


by R. Lee Smith

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
153647,891 (4.5)None



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

Showing 3 of 3
I loved this book,its not for the faint hearted and was very upsetting in places so might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I would urge everyone to give it a go, the story was very well written and I think I was permanently attached to my kindle for a couple of days, any author who can take this subject matter and make me fall in love with another species (bugs,no offence Sandford)and his cute little Jellybean T'aki is a keeper I hope to enjoy many more of this authors stories.In fact I am off to read Heat next. ( )
  carpathian1974 | Jun 6, 2017 |

Like Last Hour of Gann, Cottonwood shows the ugly face of humanity, the eager exploitation of anyone "other" we manage so well thanks to our sense of self-entitlement, racial prejudice, unreasonable fear and my favorite, - wilful blindness. And yet, R.Lee Smith creates characters whose force of will and hope manage to balance the scales and make reading her bleak, harsh stories worthwhile.

If Last Hour of Gann took a group of humans and dropped them into an unknown universe among a hostile alien race, Cottonwood flipped this scenario on its head. It took a ship of alien settlers malfunctioning and making an emergency landing on Earth in need of assistance. Twenty five years later the aliens are scattered across the globe, separated from their families, prohibited to multiply and exploited with hard labour under the guise of assimilation, while human scientists keep trying to crack the secrets of their technology and weaponry.

I read on R.Lee Smith's blog, that while the book was written before the movie District 9, when the movie came out unexpectedly there were so many similarities in the general concept that she had to re-write it. Nevertheless, Cottonwood is a powerful, moving and incredibly satisfying sci fi romance.

Sarah Fowler, the main heroine, is a young unemployed woman in her mid twenties desperate for some well paid work. So when she sees a recruitment ad for the new camp, she signs up as one of the human liaisons for aliens, whom humans call "bugs".

Fresh, wide eyed and ready to make a change, Sarah gets through her training and starts working only to find herself shell shocked with the inhuman conditions of the camps, the children living in squalor and playing with bits of rubbish, with human guards abusing their power... The whole lot.

The insectoid like aliens are bitter, afraid and bone weary, and at the same time so very human in their suffering. Sarah befriends one of the yang'ti, Sanford (humans assign everyone a name) and his little son and both of them slowly try to make a change. I am simplifying everything here, of course. There is so much complexity to Sarah and Sanford's interactions, so many nuances to their friendship and Sarah's desperate attempts to help.

When they start caring about each other more, RLS doesn't shy away from their otherness to each other. I love how there is no lust which is born from visual desires (they actually find each other ugly and extremely unappealing), instead there is a need to get close to your loved one. It's sincere and believable and very tender.

The majority of this book is simple horror, sometimes almost unbearable in its cruelty, but there are so many beautiful moments that they take your breath away. RLS is a master of that.

She doesn't spare her characters, but what doesn't kill them make them so much stronger and more formidable. Sarah is not like Amber from Last Hour of Gann. She doesn't oppose to the big bad guys openly and she says what they want to hear, but because she understands the consequences of her decisions I can admire her way of solving things so much more.

I LOVED that book and I worship at altar of R. Lee Smith. She is amazing, and I recommend her to anyone who doesn't shy away from strong topics. I swear, it's worth it in the end. ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
I'm between 4 ½ Stars and 5 stars. Not sure yet, I need to wait couple of days to decide.
Cottonwood has similarities to The Last Hour of Gann, but it's still a really good book with many original parts. I can honestly say I enjoyed it very much.
If you liked The Last Hour of Gann, I'm sure you are going to like this one too. ( )
  BookaholicCat | Mar 4, 2015 |
Showing 3 of 3
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio

Popular covers


Average: (4.5)
2 1
4 1
4.5 1
5 6

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,427,380 books! | Top bar: Always visible