59. *Imaginary Friends
edited by John Marco and Martin H. Greenberg (320) A/F/SF
I liked some of these stories a lot and thought some of them were just ok; I didn't actively dislike any of them. The writing is consistantly good through all the stories and authors. The unique takes on the idea of the imaginary friend was, for the most part, fascinating. I don't remember ever having an imaginary friend when I was young; it may be that a person who does will see this book in a different way, although very few of the stories have what one traditionally thinks of as a child's imaginary playmate.
60. *Love is Hell
by Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin, and Laurie Faria Stolarz (263) YA/F
Five stories of supernatural teenage love and angst:
Stolarz's Sleeping with the spirit
is about a girl whose family moves into a haunted house, who then starts dreaming about a ghost. Slightly creepy but also moving.
Westerfeld's Stupid perfect world
describes a future utopia where automated devices prevent anything bad from happening and everything is perfect, except during a two-week period when students practice "scarcity" to teach them about history. A fantastic story (as expected from Westerfeld), good from start to finish with some fascinating concepts played out in such a short time.
Larbalestier's Thinner than water
is a village-and-fey story. Kept my interest but not my favorite.
In Zevin's Fan fictions
, a girl falls in love with boy nobody else ever meets. Didn't make much sense, which is reminiscent of the book of hers that I readthe writing is strong and the characters are sympathetic, but the plot seems incomplete.
And lastly, Marr's Love Struck
is about a girl and a selkie (or, selchie). Again, strong from start to finish. You're never sure quite what's going on or who to trust, just like the main character.
61. *The Bar Code Tattoo
by Suzanne Weyn (256) YA/science fantasyWarning: Review contains spoilers.
The next step beyond drivers' licenses and credit cards: a personal bar code tattooed to your wrist.
The government, the media, food production, schools, the internet, pretty much everything you can think is controlled by one corporation - Global-1 - and now they want to control people, too. The bar code tattoos are the next big thing, making everything from hospital visits to shopping transactions that much easier. But how do you know what information is in your file, who has access to it, and what they do with it?
I had high expectations for this book, both from what I had heard about it and from the description I read. Unfortunately, instead of being a tense SF book, halfway through it turned into a weird mix of paranormal and science fiction that just didn't mesh well. Throw in some bad science (the old "we only use a small percentage of our brains" rubbish and some fundamental misconceptions about adaptation and evolution) and it was hard to know quite what to think.
The basic premis is solid and the story could
be fantastic: Kayla is about to turn 17 - the age when people are first allowed to get the bar code tattoo - but she isn't excited about it. When her parents got theirs, suddenly her dad's job started went south as he was passed over for expected raises and promotions, and he started getting depressed and drinking. Her mom became irritable and distant. Everyone Kayla knows who gets the tattoo seems to change, or something to do with them changes.
Kayla eventually discovers that the bar codes contain, among other things, a person's genetic information: her dad's file contains references to potential for scizophrenia, depression, and alcoholism, and obviously his employee had had access. She also learns that her mom - a maternity nurse - had discovered that "genetically inferior" children were being killed before they even left the ward. Kayla refuses to have the tattoo and joins Decode, the resistance movement.
Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Right up until they bring in the telepathy and telekenesis and premenotions, the Native American shaman, and the people trying to contact aliens with their minds. These things drastically decrease the effect of the story, as well as bringing up the previously mentinoed bad science. "Adaptation" and "evolution" don't happen in a few years (or even less) simply because people don't live with the rest of society anymore, and they don't happen to individual people anyway. And we already use all of our brains.
Overall, I was disappointed with this book. A story that could have been very interesting and address real issues being faced today got lost in the pseudoscience and mysticism, which was jarring and seemed out of context. I will not be rereading or recommending this book.
61 / 150 books. 41% done!
33 / 75 *new books. 44% done!
1 / 10 ^non-fiction. 10% done!
18188 / 45000 words. 40% done!