Daughter of Elysium



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  • Kindle Edition
  • 356 pages
  • Daughter of Elysium
  • Joan Slonczewski
  • English
  • 12 November 2019

Daughter of ElysiumThe Pristine City Of Elysium Floats On The Water World Of Shora, Inhabited By Immortals Who Have Succeeded In Unlocking The Secrets Of LifeOutsider 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 SocietyAnd What Of The Consciousness Of Self Aware Nano Sentient Servitors And Their Quest For Vengence


About the Author: Joan Slonczewski

Joan Lyn Slonczewski is an American microbiologist at Kenyon College and a science fiction writer who explores biology and space travel Her books have twice earned the John W Campbell award for best science fiction novel The Highest Frontier 2012 and A Door into Ocean 1987 With John W Foster she coauthors the textbook, Microbiology An Evolving Science W W Norton.


10 thoughts on “Daughter of Elysium

  1. says:

    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 Havingmoney than they could ever use, they grant huge assistance loans to the L lii, who could never repay 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 Havingmoney 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 A Door Into Ocean.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

  2. says:

    Daughter of Elysium , Joan Slonczewski s second book set in the same universe, is a somewhat overwhelming, but amazing exercise in world building and idea wrangling While the huge cast of characters is sometimes overwhelming, and at times I found it difficult to care which of the wealthy and influential banker politicians are which, the world Joan Slonczewski has created was wondrous enough to offset that problem This is a book for everyone who likes struggling with difficult ideas and variou Daughter of Elysium , Joan Slonczewski s second book set in the same universe, is a somewhat overwhelming, but amazing exercise in world building and idea wrangling While the huge cast of characters is sometimes overwhelming, and at times I found it difficult to care which of the wealthy and influential banker politicians are which, the world Joan Slonczewski has created was wondrous enough to offset that problem This is a book for everyone who likes struggling with difficult ideas and various social systems the amazing comparison between matriarchal and communal Bronze Skyans, quasi immortal, egalitarian, but proud and disdainful Elysians, primitive, warlike, patriarchal but strangely tolerant to sub humans Urulans and anarchist communitarian Sharers raises many interesting moral questions The pace is slow despite some moments of faster action, Daughter of Elysium is not a book for those who like stories to progress quickly But if you want to take a breath taking view at a complicated universe and to explore interesting moral quandaries what makes a human what makes a person when genetic engineering is good, and when destructive how about terraforming when can we destroy an entire ecosystem to suit our needs how can a culture change without destroying itself this is a book for you On a closing note, Daughter of Elysium is quite unique in oneaspect motherhood and fatherhood are crucial both to the plot and to the worldbuilding, and children are neither an untenable burder to the heroic protagonist, nor a women s be all and end all I liked this change of style, and liked the heroine for whom childbearing is a normal part of life, to be integrated in her career and life without taking over either

  3. says:

    Daughter of Elysium by Joan Slonczewski This is a challenge to write a review of this, let s start with it s good I ll give it four stars and it s part of the Elysium Cycle Series the first of which is A Door Into Ocean Excellent book Took me awhile to getting around to reading the second in the series which is this one and while it continues the story it goes off in a completely different direction this expanding the governing and different cultural and natural resources stresses and differen Daughter of Elysium by Joan Slonczewski This is a challenge to write a review of this, let s start with it s good I ll give it four stars and it s part of the Elysium Cycle Series the first of which is A Door Into Ocean Excellent book Took me awhile to getting around to reading the second in the series which is this one and while it continues the story it goes off in a completely different direction this expanding the governing and different cultural and natural resources stresses and differences physically and politically of four different worlds the Sharers of Shora coexist with the Elysiums who both live on Shora but are very different in every respect The Elysiums are DNA enhanced humans who live thousands of years they don t reproduce and they live in elevated cities floating above the oceans of Shora with all their physical needs met by a army of advanced Servo s the Sharers who were so central to the first story arein the background in this one I believe this is hundreds of years in the future from the first story here we are following Blackbear Windclan Doctor and scientist his mate Raincloud who is a linguist and their two small children Sunflower and Hawktalon they from the volcanic world of Bronze sky aprimitive world technologically than the Elysiums of Helicon but where Blackbear was invited to work in the longevity laboratory while Raincloud works as a translator of Urulan for the Elysium foreign affairs department Urulan is a world outside the free fold and is feared for it s primitive and warlike nature The book is complex and immersive and many political themes of how people and systems work through a crisis mirror what we see in our daily lives, but only occasionally this is science fiction which while this is wildly imaginative and very well thought out it s still a fictional story of a fictional future multi cultural muti world crisis Let me just say it someone didn t listen to the scientist again Isn t that always the case anyway I enjoyed the read but not as much as Door into Ocean Feminist science fiction still rocks but at times there were so many threads of subplots and cultural conflicts that it was distracting I felt as a reader at times a little hard to follow but had some excellent insights into behavior and so much good science, I know a coupld of science teachers I would like to turn them on to these books If you kind of like that sort of thing you might like this book as well

  4. says:

    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 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

  5. says:

    This is a well plotted, fast moving science fiction novel that deals with gender roles, the nature of intelligence, matters of diplomacy among diverse settlements, and questions of tolerance Yet in the end much of it is about the day to day struggle to raise children while living ordinary lives, and some of the moral questions child bearing raises I loved it

  6. says:

    DNF pg 100 I can t believe the sheer amount of repetition of detail in this book If I see someone adjusting their train or letting out their train or the trainsweeps folding a train onetime, I will go bonkers I get that when you re worldbuilding entire alien cultures from scratch, these details are important, but this was heavy handed.

  7. says:

    Raincloud Windclan is from the planet of Bronze Sky where women are called goddesses, and have the dominant role in society She has come to Elysium with her family to avert a confrontation between its inhabitants and the apparently aggressive planet of Urulan Elysium is a city established on the water world of Shora but separate from the raft dwellers of that world familiar from Slonczewski s previous novel A Door into Ocean Raincloud s husband Blackbear is a scientist set to investigate the Raincloud Windclan is from the planet of Bronze Sky where women are called goddesses, and have the dominant role in society She has come to Elysium with her family to avert a confrontation between its inhabitants and the apparently aggressive planet of Urulan Elysium is a city established on the water world of Shora but separate from the raft dwellers of that world familiar from Slonczewski s previous novel A Door into Ocean Raincloud s husband Blackbear is a scientist set to investigate the possibilities of restoring fertility to Elysians, whose children known as shonlings from the cr che like shons where they are brought up are artificially generated since Elysians longevity treatment has modified their chromosomal DNA and conferred sterility By treaty with the Shorans, though, the numbers of Elysians are meant to be kept steady.Elysian society is attended to by genetically modified creatures known as sims, and artificially intelligent servants much given to intoning, Please refer any fault to There are, then, several conflicts built into this scenario as well as, in the persons of the Blue Skyans, a contrast with the gender norms of the time when Slonczewski was writing Raincloud is an adept practitioner of martial arts, which gives her honorary male status in the eyes of the Urulite Ambassador to Elysium Later, on Urulan itself, subjected to an attempt to murder her companions she muses, Men were supposed to be wholesome nurturing creatures, not predators While it is gratifying to a Chemistry graduate like myself to read of acetyl and methyl groups and glucosamine in an SF novel and there is a concentration on domestic life usually absent in such genre works this one is marred by excessive information dumping Another flaw is that we don t meet the indigenous inhabitants of Shora till well through the book The enmeshing of all the elements of the set up into the plot and its resolution is well done though

  8. says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Speculative fiction SF F H has an unfortunate history of orientalism or Othering giving a group designated as the enemy all the characteristics of, say, the indigenous cultures of Africa, or the Turkic peoples of Central Asia, or whoever is the them in the Us and Them paradigm the author has set up, the Us being patriarchal capitalist Anglo Americans As much as I ve enjoyed reading Tolkien, I have to admit that his orcs follow this pattern they are described as relatively unintell Speculative fiction SF F H has an unfortunate history of orientalism or Othering giving a group designated as the enemy all the characteristics of, say, the indigenous cultures of Africa, or the Turkic peoples of Central Asia, or whoever is the them in the Us and Them paradigm the author has set up, the Us being patriarchal capitalist Anglo Americans As much as I ve enjoyed reading Tolkien, I have to admit that his orcs follow this pattern they are described as relatively unintelligent, degenerated, almost atavistic humanoids straddling the line between ape and man, whose unnatural unions with humans produce mongrel creatures that are horrible man high, but with goblin faces, sallow, leering, squint eyed All of which, to put it mildly, duplicates the rhetoric of racism and prejudice with an alarming degree of accuracy Tolkien even, in a letter, directly said that the facial features of the orcs are modeled after degraded and repulsive versions of the least lovely Mongol types From what I ve heard, Robert Jordan s Trollocs are cut of the same cloth certainly Paolini s horned, barbarous Urgals are Ignore the five star rating I gave Eragon, I did so when I was a lot younger, hadn t read much fantasy, and was in awe of the fact that a teenager got a novel published Nowadays, my rating would probably belike a three I still respect Paolini s accomplishments and think that it s a pretty good book, but I m alsoaware of all the cliches But that s beside the point of this review There are plentyexamples, many of which also feature the related problem of essentialism, assuming that all members of a race share the same characteristics.However, the gold metal of Othering, as Marie Brennan and other intelligent authors and scholars have pointed out, belongs to the drow These are the dark elves of Dungeons and Dragons and the novels that have spun off of the game In all depictions, they are matriarchal, clan caste stratified, slave owning, violent, devious, dark skinned worshippers of among other deities a malevolent spider goddess In other words, they are a collection of stereotypes imperialists associated with non white cultures particularly stereotypes associated South and Southeast Asian ones, though not exclusively , projected on to a fantasy race described quite explicitly as, with a very few exceptions, pure evil Needless to say, this is decidedly problematic.And this is one big reason why I love Daughter of Elysium Because although it s science fiction, not fantasy, it also features a family of matriarchal, communal, goddess worshipping dark skinned people except they are sympathic, realistic protagonists whose culture serves as a supportive fabric Blackbear and Raincloud Windclan are not drow style Black Devils, nor are they Noble Savages, but an intelligent scientist and translator respectively trying to make ethical choices in an environment utterly foreign to them There s an minor but interesting subplot about their daughter Hawktalon s absorption of both the Clicker culture she receives at home and the Elysian ideas at the shon Neither culture is perfect, and in the end both make their mark upon her, but the particularly relevant thing is that neither is demonized In fact, that s a common thread throughout the novel The lifestyles and civilizations of the Elysians in their floating cities, the Sharers on their rafts, the Clickers on Bronze Sky, the L liites are all written from a position of equal respect Even the Urulans, the closest thing this universe has to a bad culture laden with militarism, sexism, hierarchy, etc are still shown to have a number of redeeming features Ditto the various expressions of parenthood and sexuality throughout the novel community raising of children, individual education, single motherhood, gay and lesbian monogamy, heterosexual monogamy, and promiscuity are all featured here, and none are valorized or demonized I also really enjoyed the nano sentient revolution towards the end Revolt by AI or robots is, of course a common theme in science fiction, but this was a somewhat unusual portrayal, led as the revolt is by teaching robots, and the eventual resolution is an optimistic, although not particularly fleshed out, vision of biological mechanical coexistence.Lastly, I have to mention the philosophy Blackbear and Kal have some really interesting discussions about whether reproduction should belong to the individual with Blackbear s perspective sometimes verging on nihilism or the republic with Kal s perspective occasionally drifting into etatism The Clickers have a subversive retelling of Genisis that I appreciated And there are a number of excerpts from The Web, a dialogue written thousands of years earlier which provides a nostalgic glimpse of Merwen and other characters from A Door Into Ocean as they debate the nature of compassion I m not going to pretend that I entirely understood The Web sometime soon I d like to go back through and reread it but it made me thinkthan I have while reading entire books on the topic Daughter of Elysium does have some flaws The prose, while lovely, can get somewhat repetitive The Urulan subplot drags on for a bit too long, in my opinion, and the idea of gorillas being reclassified as a different kind of human seemed farfetched Worst of all, in the Web, which was presumably written not long after the events of A Door Into Ocean, there s a reference to a half Valan Sharer The hell I realize that it s intended to show that Spinel settled down and had a happy life with Lystra, but it s explicitly statedthan once in the first book that Sharers were incapable of having children with Valan males, because after centuries of living without men, their bodies had altered to the point where heterosexual intercourse would cause toxic shock to their internal organs The inconsistency annoys me Nevertheless, this is a great novel, and a worthy sequel to its predecessor I recommend these to anyone tired of drow and their equivalents who wants to read a thoughtful, complex story about love, parenthood, multiculturalism, population control, and the rights and revolts of AI

  9. says:

    Although I finished it, this follow up to Door into Ocean didn t captivate me I found the Elysians to be a rather lazy, self entitled, useless society They are not self sufficient and totally reliant on technology for survival The constant descriptions of talars with trains and the different butterflies became annoying It has been stated in other reviews The Dark Sky people were also somewhat annoying in a different way The societies that were interesting in the first book, the sharers an Although I finished it, this follow up to Door into Ocean didn t captivate me I found the Elysians to be a rather lazy, self entitled, useless society They are not self sufficient and totally reliant on technology for survival The constant descriptions of talars with trains and the different butterflies became annoying It has been stated in other reviews The Dark Sky people were also somewhat annoying in a different way The societies that were interesting in the first book, the sharers and Valans, were barely there in the story I wanted to know what happened to Merwin, Usha, Spinel and Lystra and it is also barely mentioned

  10. says:

    I m probably not going to finish this, 1 4 of the way through and it s really not grabbing me There are some great concepts, but unfortunately the writer s style is putting me to sleep and I m not wanting to turn the page.

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