Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Map of Seventeen, by Christopher Barzak

When we are small children, we believe that we are the center of the world.  We start to learn about empathy and others as we get older--then get sucked right back into the center of the world during adolescence.  Barzak captures this very well, and in a sympathetic way, in Map of Seventeen.  It's a Nebula Award nominee for 2010, and a reasonable contender, most likely.  The protagonist is a young girl, angry with her older brother, her town, her culture, in different ways.  Her brother brings home a boyfriend, who seems pretty normal but has a big speculative-fiction kind of secret.  Exactly what doesn't matter so much.  She gets perspective on her life from what they are facing.

My favorite part of the story is how she controls others with her very strong will.  She refers to it in a sort of paranormal way, exerting it on others as though their thoughts were visible.  This is SF, so it MIGHT be so--but again, it doesn't matter, what's really interesting and genuine is how she THINKS she has that kind of control.  Center of the world.

It is worth a read, do take the time.  3 stars

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