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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
Maul

Copyright 2003 by Tricia Sullivan

In Association with Amazon.co.uk
SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (3/5)

I first read this on the 26th March 2004.

In a largely-female future, Meniscus is one of the last men alive. He is held captive in a research lab and used as test-bed for new viral strains. But there is more to Meniscus than his keepers have recognized, and there is more to the latest strain of the virus, AZ79 Set 10E, than they can imagine.

But meanwhile back about now, teenagers Sun, Suk Hee and Keri are gangster-chic wannabes and nervously on their way to meet with a rival girlie gang. The meeting point is stylishly chosen to be Estée Lauder in their local shopping mall. When the meet goes bad, the Estée Lauder shop, and the entire shopping mall, spiral down into a nightmare of violence, murder and messed-up makeup.

But do the girls have free will, can they dress as they want to dress. be what they want be? Or are they just analogues of the drama being played out in Meniscus' virus-ridden body?

Free will or not, our protagonist Sun lashes out with wild, ranting polemics of suburban teenage angst:

"And where does that really leave you as a prisoner of the suburbs? Fuming over some tiny incident the aggressors have already forgotten about, but you have the sinking feeling that you've just sniffed the true underbelly and the aroma was not what you get in the Calvin Klein ads."

"I look around at this shoebox of a reality that someone forgot to cut holes in and contemplate my future existence & how can I not the fuck lash out?"

Regardless of her characters' concerns about reality, Trivia Sullivan pulls you straight into her super-real worlds with brilliant narrative and characters. This is so much better than her earlier books. It starts off with some astrophilic female masturbation (always an effective hook for the SF reader) and steams on from there. I thought it sagged toward the end, but with hindsight this was no lack of energy, this was mature technique. However, I read this book too fast, missed the subtleties and need to read it again right now<.

Loaded on the 5th May 2004.
    
Cover of Maul
Cover by Lee Gibbons

Reviews of other work by Tricia Sullivan
Someone To Watch Over Me
Sound Mind