In this enjoyable, thought-provoking science fiction adventure, interspace ambassadors Vincent Katherinessen and Michelangelo Kusanagi-Jones have been sent by the Old Earth Colonial Coalition to the renegade planet of New Amazonia, a planet where women rule and men are kept as worker bees and house breeders. Because Old Earth treats its women as subservient, they have no female ambassadors, but Angelo and Vincent are gay—or "gentle"—and though they are shunned by the dictatorial government they serve, they're the only negotiators acceptable to the Amazonian rulers. The two men arrive ostensibly to return stolen art, a show of goodwill that will hopefully reopen long-stalled diplomacy between the two governments. In truth, they have been sent in an effort to secure, by any means necessary, the secret to the mysterious power source that runs Amazonia. Playing the deceitful powers against each other, however, Angelo and Vincent are really working toward an agenda of their own, one that will decide the fate of humanity itself. Like the best of speculative fiction, Bear has created a fascinating and complete universe that blends high-tech gadgetry with Old World adventure and political collusion. (Dec.)
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*Starred Review* Despite the scandal that clouded their last job together, AIs Michelangelo Kusanagi-Jones and Vincent Katherinessen have been reunited for a diplomatic mission to New Amazonia. Their ostensibly peaceful mission involves returning priceless art to previous owners, but they've also been sent to find out the secret of New Amazonia's seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy. One of them is planning to ensure failure, which will be a blow to the Coalition and also the terrible assessments of the AI governors. New Amazonia challenges them, for while its gynocentric society, though not completely beloved by all, makes their maleness a handicap, their relationship, which is illegal back on Earth, is the only thing that allows them to be diplomats on New Amazonia. More than human politics are in play here, though, for the city, which was left behind by an unknown nonhuman intelligence, has secrets to hide. Bear's exploration of gender stereotypes and the characters' reactions to the rigid expectations of a world of strict gender roles proves fascinating, as does her exploration of political systems gone too far in more than one direction. Her sense of pacing and skill with multifaceted characters prone to all sorts of confused motivations and actions also enrich this action-packed, thought-provoking story. Regina Schroeder
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Kusanagi-Jones and Katherinessen come to New Amazonia on a complex ambassadorial/espionage mission, further fraught by their troubled personal history and the sights they have set... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Juushika
I love Bear's "New Amsterdam," so I was looking forward to reading "Carnival." At the start, I wasn't sure I would enjoy it ~ Bear is one of those authors who drops... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mary K.
I bought this book used and I consider myself lucky. As the other reviews point out the world is not believable. Many unexplained terms. I just didn't care about the characters. Read morePublished on May 14, 2013 by Lee G Martin
The main weakness of the novel for me, was that the exaggerated reversal of the sex roles was too far fetched and the contribution of the resultant social order in moving the plot... Read morePublished on February 11, 2013 by jeannie tryphonopoulos
As with all the books rated here, none of them disappointed and suppliers were great too! I like books with good character development and dialog, SoO these are all well worth... Read morePublished on January 16, 2013 by Richard K. Schoellhorn
Elizabeth Bear's `Carnival' (Bantam Spectra, $6.99, 395 pages) is everything I like about science fiction. Read morePublished on November 24, 2012 by Clay Kallam
Vincent and Angelo are diplomats sent to New Amazonia to return stolen artwork but secretly have their own agends. Read morePublished on April 15, 2012 by Serene Night
Although Ms. Bear shifts between given and surnames a bit for one character for reasons which escape me, this was a great novel. Read morePublished on August 2, 2011 by Gary Bunker
I think Ms. Bear has promise as a writer, and I've read several of hers in a row now. They can and do vary from page turners due to suspense, to page flippers due to boredom, all... Read morePublished on January 28, 2011 by wheeeeee