46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
An awesome feat,
This review is from: Shine Shine Shine (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program (What's this?)Having long been aware of the truism that one should not judge a book by its cover, I believe there is another similar caution: one should also not take the categorization put forth by the publishers as definitive. This book was classified as "Science Fiction and Fantasy", and in the short description accompanying it in the Amazon Vine newsletter was the statement, "A debut of singular power and intelligence, Shine Shine Shine is a unique love story, an adventure between worlds, and a stunning novel of love, death, and what it means to be human." It may be all of these things, but somehow that description didn't give me a clue of what the book was really like.
In addition, once I received the book, one of the thumbnail reviews on the back called it, "a funny, compelling love story". Compelling, yes, but to me there was nothing funny about the descriptions or circumstances. I would heartily agree, however, with another part of this same short statement, that Netzer's novel is "intelligent, emotional, and relentlessly new."
For real Sci-Fi buffs, I believe this novel is too close to possible present reality to fit the genre. After all, one of the recent candidates for President of the United States was trying to win votes in Florida by promising that if elected, he'd move forward vigorously on the project of establishing a "Moon Colony". If such a program were to be undertaken, surely it would have to involve a robotics program similar to the one envisioned here, and though my knowledge of the scientific potential of robotics is not comprehensive, I perceive that the level of technology described is well within the range of the currently possible, not futuristic or fantastic.
The real strength of this book, for me, is the relentless insistence that each of us has both gifts and curses that require us to exercise our true humanity if we are to survive. The drive to be "normal" as we perceive it can cause us to be extremely abusive in our own ways. Also impressive is the understanding this book provides that our current tendency to label every hint of uniqueness in children "autism" and medicate it into oblivion is in fact destructive of true genius. Netzer has accomplished an awesome feat in making the bizarre both understandable and loveable.
As a postscript, I notice that in the most recent Vine newsletter, the category of this novel has been revised, and the "Science fiction" designation has been removed. In view of my remarks above, I think this was a wise decision.