People Of The Tiger: USA Edition - Book One of The Rational Future Trilogy by Wayne Edward Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
People Of The Tiger (The Rational Future Series) by Wayne Edward Clarke
I wanted to revisit this work after reading three classic SFF dealing with the Ubermensch and because this book has a very similar theme within it I got to thinking about how I managed to under rate it because of what I felt could well be offensive content. It is not so much that I have changed my mind; but rather I have opened it to the notion that someone of the Ubermensh might not be easily compared to a normal 6 or 8 year old.
Yet some of what I said back then should stand as a warning.
That much said we should address some simple issues.
This book contains erotica, and I have the modified version that might contain less. It's not chock full of erotica, but the erotica seems to puddle in places rather than being strung out. It's not particularly the best erotica I've seen, but perhaps that's because it's been altered because of complaints. On the other hand it is the closest to illegal that I've ever encountered. By illegal I mean that it contains the presence of children within the context and if this were to ever be made into a film it would violate some stringent rules.
To address this issue I'll give the author this much. The premise of the story is that we are in the future where Rationalists have dominated and created a new order. I'm of the impression this new order pervades the globe. In the story we seem to be in India-primarily. These rationalist are apparently not an outgrowth of Rationalism as much as they are perhaps a mix of Pot smoking free love hippies with aboriginal tenancies. Unlike most distopia novels these people seem to be an outgrowth of the former technological society that never lost the advances but have chosen to segment peoples into various classes all of whom have access to the technology but some who eschew it more than others. Hence, the various peoples with names of animals as their tribal designation. The green people, the naturalists have all gone back to nature.
The story begins with Tika and her mother Tira. It is Tika's sixth birthday and she moves from Infant to Training Child. It seems that Infants are brought up to whatever level they might endure in fighting and hunting arts but only become Training Child when they are ready to accept responsibility. Tika is not your average child nor are most of the children of the People of the Tiger. This is never made clear and it weakens much of premise for how the author treats them. My best guess is that at this age they are equal to someone who is roughly thirteen through seventeen in our society. That does not even cover the notion that Tika is genetically above the rest. This seems to be the reason the author wants to treat these children like young adults.
If they were all genetically engineered to be more mature then this would hold well in this story. Unfortunately another premise in this book states that they eschew genetic engineering and whatever was done to Tika is, in fact, considered illegal. These two notions create a moral conflict for at least this reader when the highly explicit sexual situations are brought into the story right into the face of these children. There is a play by play description and narration by an Elder while the scene itself plays out. Though the author attempts to keep it in an almost clinical sense, its this detached sense that is part of what destroys those scenes.(Too mechanical)
The author cleverly tries to tie the erotica into the whole book by way of explaining the rape that led to the birth of Tika, which is revealed in front of the children and then perhaps, trying to diffuse the emotional impact, by giving the children a contrast to the rape through other intimacy.(I'd say true intimacy but there's a problem here.)
There is no real intimacy involved in the erotic scenes,(well I wasn't feeling it) which is detrimental to the character development and the believable nature of the love part of the free love aspect. This all contrasts also to the gruesome nature of these people who will seem so intimate and yet in a similar clinical sense will do great bodily damage to each other in their fighting arena. (These people are the master of the disconnect.)
I loved the story of Tika and where she came from(the mystery) and the en-devour of her friends to find the answer to that question. For me the story and the conflict was the notion that until we know what happened to Tika's father we don't know what will happen to Tika. Tika is the strongest character draw in this novel she is the central character.
The first part of this novel does have some distracting philosophical notions.
but enough that over millions of years all people will become a little better because a few fools were killed by their own stupidity before they could breed.
Because we hunt for a living rather than for sport, we tend to make our work easier by hunting the weak and the slow, as other predators do, leaving the swift and the mighty to improve their breed.
and we also allow the tiny chance that the weak and the slow and the stupid among us will be hunted by predators.[/QUOTE]
Clarke, Wayne Edward (2012-02-02). People Of The Tiger - Metric Pro. Edition (The Rational Future Series) (Kindle Locations 259-260). Wayne Edward Clarke Publishing. Kindle Edition.
I don't particularly agree with these but it's primary to the novel that the characters do.
It espouses the back to nature part, but it fails to truly justify the running around naked in the forest full of dangers and predators. Most distopia novels at least try to pretend we lost some civilization and just don't know better.
The book spends a lot of time developing the tier system for honors for the people and basically coming up with the reason that they have to constantly challenge each other to duels.
I had a few troubles with the whole concept of going so backwards in time that they were challenging each other for their land, which technically didn't belong to anyone anyway. There is a portion where our hero and her family displace people for their own selfish purpose and that even leads to the death of a neighbor who eventually we try to justify by painting them in a pale light while they are supposedly expected to honor them.
There's a lot of emphasis on honor and it constantly runs contrary to the need to be truthful and the need to display pride publicly. The characters run through these like they might run through water and I can only think they need a therapist.
All this is building to the lengthy overdrawn out knife and claw and hand to hand fighting that goes with their Olympic like challenges. Again it would work better if these people were genetically altered to be better because no matter how close we bring the medical staff to the fight, these people do serious damage and should be killing each other.
I enjoyed more the pursuit of Tika's past and the building of the potential for some sort of faster than light travel which will possibly help Tika in her search for the truth.
If you like Sci-Fi and Fantasy and don't mind delving into odd sociological restructuring, you might be tempted to test drive this one to decide if you want to purchase the next in the series.
Despite some of my own misgivings in regards to what I felt were shortcomings, I found enough to enjoy with this that I read it completely.
I like a challenge and I don't mind leaving my comfort zone for a minute. So this has offered me some room for thought with People of the Tiger as I try to look at the way all these elements are woven together and decide how much seemed totally necessary to the story.
A person needs to read this to make a proper judgement and this would make a hot topic for someones reading group.
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