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by Joan Slonczewski

Download A Door into Ocean eBook
Joan Slonczewski
United States
Arbor House Pub Co (January 1, 1986)
403 pages
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1915 kb
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by. Slonczewski, Joan. New York : Avon Books. inlibrary; printdisabled; ; china.

A Door into Ocean is the novel upon which the author's reputation as an important SF writer principally rests.

3 6 5 Author: Joan Slonczewski Narrator: Rosalyn Landor. Download books offline, listen to several books continuously, choose stories for your kids, or try out a book that you didn't thought you would like to listen to. The best book experience you'd ever had. They are pacifists, they are highly advanced in biological sciences, and they reproduce by use there are no males. Conflict erupts when a militaristic neighboring civilization sends an army to develop their ocean world.

Realgar immediately called off the beam until the glitch could be fixed beam. These were explained to the Palace as preparations for assault, though Talion pointed out that combat was expensive enough without footing the bill for both sides

A Door Into Ocean - Joan Slonczewski. It's just my luck that I seem to be reading Slonczewski's Elysium cycle backwards. A Door into Ocean is the first, and most explicitly political of the four novels, focusing on non-violent action and culture.

A Door Into Ocean - Joan Slonczewski. Like most novels using this theme, A Door into Ocean focuses on the contrast between two cultures, with representative characters engaged in the process of discovery and conflict.

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A Door into Ocean is a 1986 feminist science fiction novel by Joan Slonczewski. The novel shows themes of ecofeminism and nonviolent revolution, combined with Slonczewski's own mastery of knowledge in the field of biology. The novel is set in the future, on the fictional planet of Shora, a moon covered by water.

On Valedon, a planet of genetically modified humans, struggling artist Chrysoberyl of Dolomoth (Chrys to her friends) agrees to be colonized by Eleutherian micros, an accelerated culture of sentient cells salvaged from an assassinated colleague.

The Sharers, a race of all women, living on the planet Shora, who reproduce by parthogenesis without males, are suddenly faced with the technological and cultural invasion of men from space
  • Weernis
First of all, the worldbuilding in this book is fantastic. The author is a scientist and put careful work into making one of the most fully realized science fiction ecosystems I've ever seen. The culture, too, is fascinating, and the way their language works and the role it plays in their attitudes and in the plot... definitely a world to spend time in. The characters, though, lack somewhat, especially the male lead. I would also have enjoyed seeing more of the protagonist culture's xenophobic our-way-is-the-only-way be challenged, though I felt the book made it clear that the villains' aggression was what left a lot of the potential for cross-cultural exchange unachieved. Still, a book worth reading.
  • Hulore
"Door Into Ocean" is a subset of sci-fi, "varying humanoids on multiple planets." It follows a young adult human from a patriarchal planet as he interacts with the single-sex pacifist egalitarian race of the nearest planet, becoming involved in their efforts to maintain balance on their planet and resist exploitation. It includes themes of: ecological balance, consensus versus coercion, economic exploitation, phallocentric perceptions of sex versus relational perceptions, language as it creates and defines culture, definitions of mental illness, and responsibility as it relates to adulthood, self-knowledge, and civic identity.
Honestly I can't express just how intensely I love this book. I just finished my fourth re-read, and I got more from it than ever before. It is an amazing allegory on so many different levels, most of all about the nature of hierarchy and reciprocity. I love the thoroughness of world-building, the depth and evolution of characters, the variety of personalities, and the many layers of meaning. If I could get everyone to read one fiction book, this would be the one I would choose.

Content note: a possible trigger is a rape that happens on page 266. It's very briefly described, and in terms of the victim's point of view. No detail or attempt at glamorizing.

Characters: The characters are all cis, all non-disabled, almost all normatively sized. The main characters consist of: Spinel, a poor, occasionally homeless dark-skinned straight man; Merwen, Usha, and Lystra who are queer, agender, bald, purple female humanoids with webbed hands and feet (Sharers); Lady Berenice who is an upper-class, rich & powerful straight white woman; and Realgar who is a rich & powerful straight white man. The characterizations are complex, showing not only who the characters are now and through the events of the book, but also enough history to deeply understand their motivations, even for the antagonists (without being so much history that it distracts from the flow of the plot).

Point of view: 3rd person, following Spinel, Merwen, and Berenice by turns.

Imagination: Concepts I hadn't seen before ] included language with no subject-object relationship where instead all relationships are reciprocal; a single-sex race who reproduce exclusively through genetic science; clothing as a shameful kind of dishonesty; skin-dwelling microbes that function as a scuba tank; microbes designed to eat pollutants; insects and cetaceans used to communicate over distance; carved stones used to signify rank and occupation throughout the culture (even among the poor); many other aspects! ]

This is the most imaginative book I have ever read in the sense that the author created a unique humanoid race and considered their environment thoroughly in relation to the design of their bodies and the development of their culture. As a pacifist, egalitarian communal culture, there were NO obvious inconsistencies.

Issues: the biggest issue I saw was the conflation of mental illness and desire to control or cause harm. While it might make sense in a world that sees pacifism and respect as the healthy norm, it still reproduces the modern stereotype that says people who kill are all mentally ill and mentally ill people are dangerous. I think this should have been handled differently. I also was disturbed to note some fat-phobic description of the one person who was described as large - but that was only one line of the book.

Plot: The plot was a little slow for the first 20 pages, but then settled into a steady, active pace that got a little nerve-wracking but never so slow that I was tempted to skim. There was nothing I noticed that seemed superfluous.

Setting: Mostly this takes place on Shora, a world of ocean with natural rafts which grow on top of the water and form the dwelling places for Sharers. A small part of it takes place on Valedon, a planet of multiple cultures which serves the Patriarch. The Patriarch is considered a god, and acts as an interplanetary authority which enforces a certain level of scientific control to prevent humans from engaging in widespread damage (such as biological or nuclear warfare).

Dialogue: There's only a bit more description than dialogue, making this a fairly easy read. The dialogue is varied from character to character and through the development of the book, as well. It passes the Bechdel test with ease.

Writing style: The style is simple, clear, and matter-of-fact, with a good bit of omniscient exposition. Sensations and emotions are given by narration, which for me makes them feel more of a fact of the story and thus weaves all the characters together in a tapestry of feeling, thinking, sensing.

Length, cover: 403 pages in trade paperback. The cover pictures a bald pink-white person in a water tank, with webbed fingers and a tiny fly inexplicably in the water. The artist clearly did not read what the Sharers are supposed to look like. Why is there a white person on the cover? Sharers are dark purple most of the time. Why is the fly in water? Why is this person modestly covering their body in a way a Sharer would never do? I would guess it is supposed to be a clickfly, but they're supposed to be the size of a dinner plate. The original cover for the mass-market paperback is far better. The feel of the cover is weird, as the person is captured and a gun is propped against the door, but the person looks content and self-conscious. I don't know what message i am meant to take from it but I hate it.

Author: Joan Slonczewski, feminist, white, age 30 at the time of writing this in 1986, Quaker, cisgender, seemingly straight woman from northeast US.

Context of this reviewer: White, afab, genderfree, trans, queer, non-disabled, poly, add-pi neurodivergent, poor, intersectional feminist, age 32, from southern US.
  • JoJoshura
Great timeless story- what is war; what is it good for? What is the essence of humanity? I think female SciFi writers have human society pegged- but is it human nature or testosterone? Will we kill ourselves off or will our innate kindness, which is there too, win out?
  • Ausstan
Very original and enjoyable set up to a sci fi book. The characters were well developed and story was fresh and very interesting.
  • Cheber
An amazing novel. The descriptive language was powerful; I actually felt like I was on Shora, with warm breezes and gentle rocking. The story is excellent and the culture was well thought out. Excellent read not just for sci-fi/fantasy fans but for many genres.
  • Oveley
It's rare for utopia to make a good story, but I felt this book was so well written and paced, and it had so much suspense and so much beauty, I couldn't put it down.
  • Maximilianishe
The characters and the world in which they navigate is very well designed. However it is also a very slow paced book because the characters and the world are so complex. This is unlikely to be a book you can read in a day or two. You'll need to think about what is happening to keep track of it all. A lot of the slow pace is also about the politics in both the Valans and the Shora worlds and not as much as I would have liked about the characters themselves.
A fully believable world, with nice, developed characters. The book could be shorter though, to tell the story as well.