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Jun 4, 2007

Lovelock: Speciesism from a Monkey's POV

http://www.pinkrabbitsays.com/2007/05/lovelock_specie.html

My friend Mary loaned me a copy of Lovelock by Orson Scott Card and Kathryn H. Kidd, and I liked it so much I got my own used copy so I can add it to my little animal rights library. It's a science fiction novel about a celebrity scientist and her "witness," an "enhanced" capuchin monkey whose job it is to record her every waking moment for posterity. Though he's been trained to love his owner and to be her loyal servant, he becomes disatisfied with his lot and rebels.

The novel is set in a huge ship that's meant to find a new planet to colonize. I won't go into details, but let's just say I found the science bits questionable. You want a certain degree of realism in science fiction, a plausible backdrop for the action -- and this was somewhat lacking. I just didn't buy a lot of the colonists' plans or strategies or ideas, and thought Card and Kidd could have done a better job at either explaining the craziness or pushing themselves to consider more forward-thinking solutions.

That said, the weird setting and such are refreshing in their oddness, and the story itself make up for my criticisms ten times over. Lovelock, the monkey, is our narrator, and a complex little guy. He goes from rebellion against speciesism to unwitting participation in it, and has to go through a second, painful awakening to recognize his complicity in oppression. I found his story really moving, and thought Card and Kidd's decision to put out this message from the perspective of a non-human was 100% awesome. What a way to make these ideas accessible to non-speciesists.

Here, if you want a copy, buy it used and ship it carbon-neutral. Lovelock was named after James Lovelock, who invented the Gaia Hypothesis. Wouldn't want Mother Nature (or super-intelligent monkeys) to come give you a talking-to for doing environmentally-unfriendly mail-order.

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Posted: Jun 4, 2007 7:51am

 

 
 
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