Late in 2021, Ian McDonald asked me if I could do a sensitivity read on his next book, which had some gender themes to it. Naturally I leapt at the opportunity. The book was called Hopeland, and I’m very glad to have had a small part in the making of it. My report to Ian began:
“I loved the book. Also I cried lots. I’m very much looking forward to seeing it in print. Any book that references both William Blake and the KLF is fine by me.”
So yeah, it was good. But the wheels of publishing turn slowly. Also something awful happened in the read world that was scarily reminiscent of something that happens in the book. Because climate change is real, y’all, and Pacific islands are in the front line when it comes to unfolding sea level disasters.
However, the book is finally ready to meet the public. Obviously I can’t review it, but I do hope that you folks will read it, and enjoy it as much as I did. I hope that you will come to love characters such as Kimmie Pangaimotu and Princess Ta as much as I did, and I hope you’ll find much to think about in the book.
It is, as you will already have guessed, a book about climate change. It is also a book about found family. And it is a book about electromancers. There’s gender stuff in there as well. It needed fairly little feedback from me because Ian has been doing this sort of thing for a while now. The key point to remember is that gender isn’t simple, and no one has to fit into Western stereotypes, not even Western people, and definitely not Pacific islanders.
I look forward to seeing what the rest of you make of the book.
By: Ian McDonald
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