Fate of Perfection (Finding Paradise), by K. F. Breene
In the ancient days of science fiction it was considered guy stuff, appealing only to men, especially younger men, who were interested only in geek science, adventure, and occasional planets of slave women. To enter the field women would write under pseudonyms (Andre Norton) or initial/pseudonyms (C.J. Cherryh). It wasn’t until it became clear that these and a following slough of female writers were writing superior fiction with cutting-edge ideas that female writers began to have some power in the genre.
It’s my appreciation for those women pioneers that influences my irritation with this book. Now to be fair, on one of my reviews I received a nice note from a reader asking: “This may seem like a girly question but does this book have a romance in it?” I’m clear that there’s a market for softer sci-fi that reads like a futuristic bodice ripper. This book pretty much falls into that category.
The names the writer chose for characters is the first major hint. The main character, some thousand or so years in the future, is Millicent Foster. She will soon meet hunky nemesis/crush Gunnar Ryker. This is a world in which three corporations run the world and compete with each other. There are natural born humans who live as slaves that are specially bred for their characteristics and live a more luxurious life. Most notably they are allowed to actually breed through artificial insemination rather than the rest of the world filled with clones.
Is a highly intelligent and crafty hacker and designer of real and cyber-weapons. She is being allowed to have a baby, who she names Marie. But at age two Marie will be taken away for the purposes of the corporation. Can she work with hunk-man Ryker or will he be a barrier when she decides to take Marie to freedom somewhere?
The basic ideas are interesting and a lot could have been done with them. There are fights with rogue pirates during an attempted escape that are a good read. But nearly every adventure leads to a flesh-to-flesh mishap that leaves Millicent breathless and wondering just how those abs will feel to the touch. As a half-century fan of science fiction I state here clearly that this isn’t what I signed up for. I welcome a science fiction world with more women writers, publishers, and characters. I revel in an evolved sci-fi consciousness that moved Star Trek from party animal Captain James Kirk to a leader like Captain Kathryn Janeway. I resent having the genre used as a way to freshen-up the romance genre.