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Daughter of Elysium by Joan Slonczewski

Daughter of Elysium (original 1993; edition 1993)

by Joan Slonczewski (Author)

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213882,544 (3.8)6
Title:Daughter of Elysium
Authors:Joan Slonczewski (Author)
Info:William Morrow (1993), Edition: 1st Ed., 521 pages
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Daughter of Elysium by Joan Slonczewski (1993)



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Not exactly a sequel, Daughter of Elysium is the second book in the Elysium cycle, following Door Into Ocean. Like Door, Daughter takes place on Shora, but many centuries later. Several new "races" of humans are introduced: the beautiful and long-lived but detached Elysians, to the Goddess-worshiping, family-centered, martial arts experts from Bronze Sky -- the Clickers, the impoverished & overcrowded L'liites, the testosterone-dominated Urulites, and the servos -- who aren't actually human, but may or may not be sentient.

This is a very ambitious bit of SF -- there are a lot of balls in the air and I'm not sure I believe that she lands them all soundly. Then again, some may be deliberately left alight for the next book in the series? I don't know. That aside, it was nice to be back in the Sharer world again, though most of the worldview this time was filtered through the eyes of the Clickers. Much of the focus in this book was on reproduction and population management. It was somewhat frustrating that there was a complete absence of the theory that given the empowerment of women and a stable economic environment, women will limit their own reproduction and population growth will tend toward zero. Still, there were interesting ideas here and intriguing characters aplenty. Enough to make me seek out the next book in the series, anyway. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
Generations after the Sharers refused to accept Valen control, there is a new struggle for freedom on Shora. Centuries ago, the Sharers allowed the Elysians to settle on their world and learn lifeshaping from them. The Elysians chose to exchange their own ability to bear children for near-immortality. Over the course of the book, they come into conflict with many different societies. Having more money than they could ever use, they grant huge assistance loans to the L'lii, who could never repay them. The Urulan are a warlike, very sexist people who bred with their simian slaves over the years, and are as against the Elysians' use of simian embryos for lab experiments as the Elysians abhor the Urulans' sexism and agression. And the Elysians' own utopia turns against them, when their own nano-servors achieve sentience and demand rights. Negotiating between and around all of these conflicts is a immigrant family from Bronze Sky, who have their own blind spots and cultural assumptions. And threading through it all is the shared text of The Web, a philosophical treatise written shortly after [b:A Door Into Ocean|121606|A Door Into Ocean|Joan Slonczewski|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1312029708s/121606.jpg|2640708].

The book is slightly over-ambitious: many of the plot threads are dropped for the climactic show-down between nanon-servors and the Elysians, and there are a few too many characters to keep track of. But I love the philosophical discussions and problems posed by this book, and the wide array of mind sets, societies, and lifestyles that make it up. It's all so fascinating! I love how non-traditional this book is; it never does what I think it will. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Daughter of Elysium is an interesting novel set in the same universe as Door into Ocean and Brain Plague. The central characters, The Windclans, are credible as a family unit in a genre that tends to push family relationships to the margins. Much of the novel works on the contrast among the various cultures. The Windclans come from a matriarchal culture that values children. Through Raincloud's role as a translator, we're introduced to the nearly immortal people of Elysium, the feminist anarchy of The Sharers, and the feuding patriarchal people of Urulan. Rather than treating any of the cultures as a utopia, Slonczewski raises credible virtues and flaws among all of them.

Perhaps where this story is weak is that it tries to address too much. Ecological relationships, responsibility for uplifted species, cultural conflict, post-human longevity, religious diversity, economic policies of developing nations, and ethics all become important themes, only to drift away as the narrative changes. The final confrontation felt slightly anticlimactic and rushed.

But overall, it was a good read about credible characters in a rich universe. Slonczewski does a fair job of trying to blend the personal, social, and scientific aspects of science fiction. ( )
  CBrachyrhynchos | Feb 4, 2014 |
Was happy to see that it followed up on A Door Into Ocean more closely than I'd expected, as well as inventing a whole new society and set of worlds. ( )
  comixminx | Apr 5, 2013 |
Liked it, but not as much as "A Door Into Ocean." Favorite stuff: detailed descriptions of the different cultures on different worlds. I really enjoyed the matriarchal Clicker culture; it was interesting to read about the reversed gender roles and realize just how much I've absorbed American gender roles. Unfavorite stuff: the pages of genetic engineering jargon. I like hard sf, but this seemed a little clunky at times. ( )
  ecclescake | May 20, 2010 |
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The pristine city of Elysium floats on the water world of Shora, inhabited by 'immortals' who have succeeded in unlocking the secrets of life.

Outsider Blackbear Windclan wants to share the secret of immortality with his own people, but can he, and the City of Elysium, survive the corruption and decadence that immortality has bred into the ageless society.

And what of the consciousness of self-aware nano-sentient servitors and their quest for vengence?
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