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Water into Wine Paperback – September 25, 2017
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It's a very human story, close to the earth, rooted in family and identity and love and loss. It's space opera viewed at ground level, and as it deals with themes that science fiction action/adventure stories often skate over, it sits at a curious intersection of literary fiction and science fiction.
It is a story about time and transformation, about how things change and how things remain the same. It gives us a rare view of giant exciting space battles as seen from below, from the people who get caught between the rebels and the empire, between the central alliance and the independent fringe, between the good guys (whoever they even are) and the bad guys (whatever that even means).
Read this story if you're the sort of person who watches a TV show or movie with intricate background design and heavy attention to detail in set dressing and it makes you want to know more about the world that birthed those artifacts. Read this story if you're the sort of person whose eye catches on a background character in the back of a bar or on a street or in an alien bazaar and you wonder what their life is like. Read this story if you watch the heroes opening a bottle of wine and you wonder who cultivated the grapes and bottled the wine.
Read this story if you've ever thought about what it would be like to be a civilian in wartime when battles are being fought with planetkillers. Read this story if you ever lament all the times movies and TV shows cut out the quiet domestic moments and personal glimpses in order to keep up the pacing. Read this story if your idea of a "used universe" or a "lived-in world" isn't as cold and mechanical as dents and scratches on a spaceship exterior.
And most importantly: read this story if you want the world to have more stories like this in it.
Xin is a complex character whose emotions and experiences feel as real on the page as picking up someone's diary. Though the story's set in the far future and on a distant planet, Xin's Southeast Asian roots and culture continue to play an important role in their life... from everyday things like food and names to matters of greater spiritual significance. Language, holidays, and beliefs from Xin's ancestors are all alive and well in their life. It's a wonderful and immersive take on sci-fi, and I was utterly drawn in from the beginning.
This is one of those books that's hard to review because there's so much to it, and I feel like my descriptive abilities aren't up to doing it justice. Every attempt to talk about what I liked and such feels like I'm reducing it to some simplified version. So I'll leave it here and settle for saying that this is a gorgeously written and hypnotic book, and that I highly recommend it.
The world building also was well done, especially the parts regarding language and the nature of cultural transferral from Old Earth to these new planets. Overall, a highly recommended read!
Most recent customer reviews
Xin’s character development was fascinating.Read more
Xin inherits a vineyard and decides to embark on a new life (and career), packing up and moving, with her mother and...Read more