Glorious Angels

Justina Robson
Glorious Angels Cover

Foreigner meets Gilmore Girls


The blurb that never was: Foreigner meets Gilmore Girls.

The blurb that should have been: It has alzabos in it.

A flavor crystal: (The actual blurb that seems corny but is actually tongue-in-cheek funny once you figure out what she's doing.) "Tralane Huntigore. Heiress of an ancient but defunct line of mages. Eccentric, erratic, renowned as a scientist, in the prime of her beauty at thirty-eight, mother of two daughters, the one slight, fair and scholarly the other dark, fierce and curved like a violin." (7)

Thoughts: This novel is the most motherfucking odd, banally strange thing I've ever read. Foreigner meets Gilmore Girls- Cherryh'sForeigner, not the band Foreigner, well, yeah, go ahead and add them because it does have that bourgeois bohemian rockin' mom flavor that I am just way too cool to let myself like- with an added bit of erotica. I hated this for the first fifty pages, then it got a little one-handed so that made things interesting, but then more of the Gilmore Girls dialogue kicked in, but then the aliens are something like Gene Wolfe's alzabos...

A cure for my ambivalence: In some ways, this is a feminist parody of space fantasy and its can-do heroes, in other ways, this is an earnest recasting with feminist wish fulfillment, but it's also a provocative examination of instinct versus intellect in human behavior. It would be a stronger novel had it started halfway in because the first 250 pages are weighed down with characterization setups that could be revelatory if unfolded more discriminately later on. Many of the awkward plot contrivances that plague quest-y, diplomatic SF are present here, but I think Robson is just being cheeky about it.

Possible side effects: Nagging transference toward one's own feminist divorcée mother and younger sister. Flashbacks to that time Mom put a coffee table together by herself and she shouted "I am woman, hear me roar!" in front of my friends and it was so embarrassing...

Man blindness: Every male figure has a weird name with at least one 'Z' in it, which hampers differentiation, much like any television show that casts two attractive men with the same hair color. (Or is this just my problem? I cannot tell pretty boys apart!) If Robson did this on purpose, she's a genius for it.

Spicy advice: If you get bogged down in the early chapters, there's an interesting interlude around page 50. You're welcome.