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Stardoc by S. L. Viehl

Stardoc (2000)

by S. L. Viehl

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6391415,139 (3.83)30
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I found Cherijo to be spunky, and the concept novel. Very cool. ( )
  lyrrael | Oct 17, 2015 |
Good book, but not enough to keep it on my shelves. I gave it a four, but I'm not likely to read it again any time soon. Passing it along to others who are more smitten than me. ( )
  SLHobbs | Aug 31, 2015 |
For someone to pick this book up and have it be their first experience with this author, I can see how people would balk and declare the author a lost cause. Fortunately, this is my second book, so some things I can let go... sort of.

I've said in other reviews that I can tell when an editor has been too involved in their author's writing. I'm getting that sense in this book, especially with certain scenes and the way a character reacts to said scene. The explanation given in the book is too thin and worthless for even my suspension of disbelief. In fact, had this one character not been crucial to finding the final solution, I'd have editted him out entirely.

With that said, the book is decent, though not up to my usual standards. It dangles just enough jargon to show the author knows what she's talking about, but not enough for the reader to gag on it. Some storylines are ... questionable, or perhaps just their conclusions that are reached. (A cat is NOT a slave.) The obvious racism and the more subtle "beautiful person" cliquishness does tend to pound one over the head, even if the character had never left earth before. Some things, even with the explanation given, are stretched to the point of breaking. I'm curious to see how the series progresses but have it on a very thin line. It breaks me again, I'm done. ( )
  gilroy | Jun 1, 2015 |
Not going to finish this one. I read 46%. I typically one-star all DNFs, but, in this case, it's not the book's fault. Some dummy spoiled me and I immediately lost interest in reading this. I just fucking hate spoilers and I can't stand reading a book waiting for something to happen. I don't enjoy what I'm reading when I read that way.

What I did read of it was decent. Not amazing, but entertaining enough. I would liken this to that old show ER, but on another planet with a shit load of aliens. I don't know if I'll ever pick it up again, but it is what it is.

Sorry, book. It's not you, it was that asshole who spoiled me.

  JennyJen | Aug 14, 2014 |
Right off the bat, Dr. Cherijo Grey Veil (but please call her “Doc”) rubbed me the wrong way with her close minded, snobbish attitude. She goes slumming to find a starship that can take her off world, and all she can think about is how gross the lower classes are. The narrative supports her, showing the impoverished as big dumb brutes who can barely speak and start wailing on each other for no reason. Has the author ever been to a bar? Is this what she thinks normal people act like?

Cherijo gets a little more tolerable when she settles on an alien planet to work as an ER doctor for aliens. Despite only treating humans for her entire career Cherijo learns the anatomy of several diverse alien species practically overnight. Because that wouldn’t be complicated or anything. But the story has much bigger problems. It’s basically one big Broken Aesop with a bit of rape fantasy thrown in.

So, everyone on Earth hates aliens and believes in “genetic purity” because of one speech one surgeon made one time. It’s a metaphor for racism. EXCEPT the only good aliens are the aliens that look like humans with cute horns or blue skin. The rest are all gross bug monsters who are also jerks and intolerant of humans. Since humans have made their universal distaste for all aliens pretty clear it’s no wonder there are hard feelings, but the narrative constantly reads like the gross aliens are mean and stupid for not loving humans. It makes me think of old white racists who like to pretend that “white people are the most oppressed” and all that bullshit.

Then it gets even weirder with a bizarre subplot that equates pets with slavery. Because it wasn’t enough to draw the parallel between people and gross bug monsters, we now have to equate people who have been victims of intolerance and oppression with pets. Dear Novel, if this is meant to be an anti-racism message, you’re doing it wrong.

Then, compounding all of this Cherijo’s alien lover - whom we never get to know anything about besides he’s a good lay - gets replaced by a suitably human love interest after he rapes her Yeah, she didn’t like him before, but after the rape she’s pretty into him. What the hell sense does that make?!

The other major problem with this novel is the “rape fantasy” aspect. There is no reason for the rape scene, it is purely gratuitous. And stupid. No one just suddenly changes their mind and enjoys being raped half way through. Though apparently the author thinks women enjoy being raped as much as having sex. Okay, I’m starting to think the author is an alien.

And damn it all the worst part is that I actually really liked Duncan Reever before that chapter. He came off as rude because he didn’t understand human social norms and I found his past intriguing. Yes, he violated Cherijo’s personal and mental space, but that could have been a learning experience he could have grown from and been redeemed. Meanwhile, Cherijo’s alien lover, despite being an alien, is duller than dirt - we know next to nothing about him, besides he’s a pilot, he has blue skin and he’s good in bed. Cherijo and alien are just BOOM SOUL MATES. So yeah, by comparison I liked Duncan Reever with his clumsy brusqueness and rudeness and confusion over Cherijo’s reactions to him. Then the author had to go and ruin it by having him rape her. And then he tries to justify it NOT because he was being controlled by an alien plant thing that wanted to infect her, but because, ”I wanted to do those things to you. You wanted me to do them.” (p.303) And THEN, she starts to feel bad for him and she starts crying. Which makes me feel dirty for ever liking the guy in the first place.

So, yeah, I will not be picking up another book by this author again. ( )
1 vote catfantastic | May 17, 2014 |
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Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick.
-Hippocrates (460? - 377? B.C.)
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I bet Hippocrates never stepped one foot into a dump like this, I thought as I peered through the tavern's narrow entrance.
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Talented surgeon Dr. Cherijo Grey Veil leaves Earth to accept a position as a physician at KevarzangaTwo's FreeClinic, where her skills are desperately needed to care for the more than two hundred different sentient species that make the frontier world their home.… (more)

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