Book Review: The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander (Four Stars)

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Book Review: The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander

(Four Stars)

“We were shackled and splintered and separated; the Many Mothers could not teach their daughter the Stories. Without stories there is no past, no future, no We. There is death. There is Nothing, a night without moon or stars.”

An extraordinarily original, well-told story. Bolander took two unrelated historical events and related them. It’s that simple. The voices of Topsy and Regan are especially good.

“It’s amazing I can breathe with my foot lodged in my windpipe the way it is.”

Sadly, the real Topsy was murdered in a publicity stunt by Thomas Edison to demonstrate the lethality of alternating current electricity, as promoted by his rival Nikola Tesla against Edison’s direct current systems.

“We can barely confront the gazillion shitty, horrible ways we treat each other without getting defensive. What chance does this have of being done right?”

Modern social activists could learn from this: spend less time fighting the opposition and more solving the problem. Imagine if the folks at Paris or Rio (not to mention ourselves) spent more time on solving global warming and less trying to convince deniers?

“Trusting a company that happily gave you and all your nearest and dearest cancer wasn’t wise, easy, or highly recommended.”

2019 Novelette Hugo Award finalist.

“Please do not misunderstand me. We aren’t protecting your secrets. We are guarding the truth. They will see how we shine, and they will know the truth.”