A vast alien landscape, a human culture based on our own, yet evolved in strange ways by the forces of an inimical nature provide a panoramic backdrop for the romantic adventures of a large cast of memorable & attractive characters.
Courtship Rite is an SF novel by American writer Donald Kingsbury, originally serialized in Analog magazine in 1982. The book is set in the same universe as some of his other stories, such as "Shipwright" (1978) and the unpublished "The Finger Pointing Solward". In the UK, the novel was entitled Geta; in France, Parade nuptiale. Courtship Rite was the 1st winner of the Compton Crook Award for best first novel and was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1983.
The novel details the attempts of two of the priest-clans, the Kaiel & the Mnankrei, to expand into territory controlled by the Stgal. Ultimately, all the priest clans are trying to attain dominance of the planet through the use of new technology, propaganda, treachery, and "war", a new concept in this world. Previously, killing was done merely in order to provide food.
Jo Walton remarked that Courtship Rite "is about a distant generation of colonists on a planet with no usable animals. This is the book with everything, where everything includes cannibalism, polyamory, evolution and getting tattoos so your skin will make more interesting leather when you’re dead."
What did you love best about Courtship Rite?
This book is science fiction ,however rather then explore alternative worlds or possibilities in the the hard sciences, it explores areas of social science. It explores the possibilities and structures of a society with entirely different morals and mores then our own. For instance cannibalism for food is accepted as normal behavior for day to day living and as part of religious /community ceremonies. Polyandry and polygamy is not only acceptable but encouraged by society. Once you get past the initial negative reaction, the society and the story itself becomes absorbing.The author maintains consistency with the original premise and develops the plot in a believable manner. Each character is interesting and some characters and relationships are dynamic in their development throughout the book. .
What other book might you compare Courtship Rite to and why?
It might be compared to the Left hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Leguin which when written written challenged the then current views of sexuality.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
The book is too long to listen to in a single sitting, however I did find myself reluctant to stop listening when it was necessary.
Any additional comments?
Although I don't feel that Courtship Rites is a great book ,it does successfully tackle new and controversial topics in a thought provoking and entertaining fashion.
What made the experience of listening to Courtship Rite the most enjoyable?
One of my all time favorite books finally is available as an audiobook. The only complain is that the reading seems a bit flat and misses the poetry of the culture. Sentences like "In the deserts of the Swollen Tongue below the Wailing Mountains..." need to have some feeling to recognize the brutal beauty of this world that only accepts humans on its terms and not that of the interlopers.
What did you like best about this story?
Great world building but a shame the promised follow on story has never materialized.
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
Reading seemed a bit flat