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Bloodmind by Liz Williams


by Liz Williams

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Bloodmind is a good example of why Speculative Fiction has such a limited fan-base: once SF writers have created their imaginary world, they are often reluctant to leave it.

As a result, we have seven part epics, or a series of books which, like Bloodmind, purport to exist individually but are dependent on previous volumes, and have inconclusive endings which basically scream “to be continued”.

Intensely feminist, the story is narrated by three women from different planets who come together and find common ground in a quest… Ho-hum: you don’t have to be an MCP to find this book boring. ( )
  adpaton | Sep 10, 2008 |
Having now read both it is apparent that Bloodmind and Williams’s previous book, Darkland, are indeed a thematic unity. While both are capable of being read as stand-alone novels they are essentially one book split into two.

Bloodmind is a lessening of sentience, a reversion to animal status, which occurs naturally from time to time to the inhabitants of the planet Mondhile, and in reverse to the creatures known as Selk on Vari Halsdottir’s world, Muspell. It is also induced artificially in the women of Nhem by their male rulers. This last barbarism is strictly necessary to neither plot nor resolution and, apart from being a piece of gender politics, it is difficult to see why else it has been included beyond giving one of the viewpoint characters a reason for being more or less on her own. (I did, however, note that Nhem is men spelled backwards with the interpolation of an h, which may or may not be significant.)

The narrative flits between the three planets and the women whose fates, along with that of the Selk, become intertwined but is mainly carried by Vari, the protagonist whose story links the two books.

As in Darkland the SF and Fantasy elements of Bloodmind do not sit well with each other. The tale is at base a fantasy with SF trappings bolted on and as a result fails on both counts.

Not one of Williams’s best I would say.
added by jackdeighton | editA Son Of The Rock, Jack Deighton (Mar 3, 2011)
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When Vali Hallsdottir's friend and mentor Idhunn is brutally murdered, Vali falls under suspicion and is held by the army of the Morrighanu, but released by a mysterious force. Having nowhere else to run, she travels across the northern ice field to the hostile glacier territory of Darkland.… (more)

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