Book Review: Grass by Sheri S. Tepper (Three Stars)


Book Review: Grass (Arbai #1) by Sheri S. Tepper

(Three Stars)

“You are saying God cannot intervene in this plague?” “I am saying that perhaps God has already done his intervening by creating us.”

Published in 1989, Grass addresses many contemporary issues setting them in far future science fiction. Very slow start. You can’t skip the first hundred pages, but once the story begins to move, you’ll wish Tepper had. Lots of passive voice and participles; slows the pace. Addresses religion more honestly—bad and good–than most modern works.

“Seeking her soul, he had only taken her body, finding there a hollowness he had not expected.”

Some nice word pictures: “nights sat gently upon the sills.” “the huddled houses … tied to the sky by the smoke rising from their chimneys.”

“Truth doesn’t enter in if they’ve decided something is doctrine, they’ll ignore all evidence to the contrary and lie to your face. ‘Not only are there no devils now, there never were,’ says Doctrine.”

Why is Redemption only for good guys? No, they don’t deserve it—that’s the whole point—no one does. Obvious sermon closes the story.

“Was it too late to forgive her for what she had never done?”

Quibbles: Too many obvious coincidences. “…a folded piece of paper lying on the floor. It had fallen from the Brother’s pocket.” Fantasy horses. “The full circuit … would take two or three hours, riding at top speed the whole way.”

“Confronted with evil, these had chosen to die. They had been too good to do good.”