The Perfection of Fish
Black Rose Writing, Jul 2020
Provided by NetGalley
⭐⭐⭐ 3 Stars
The cover was what caught my eye with its wonderful colors. Titles these days are all over the place and can mean anything, so I really didn’t pay too much attention to this one. Silly me. I hope I’ve learned my lesson. Especially when it comes to sci-fi. When they say fish, they mean fish.
The story takes place in a town that really no longer exists. With people who should no longer exist outside of supervised care facilities or state prisons. The “twin girls” that the “scientists” try to take advantage of throughout the book are damaged, to begin with, and become more so from what happens under the scientists’ care. One has hidden inside the family cabin and is afraid to go outside. She is preserving the history of the vanished town and her father’s work. The other sister has left the town and struck out to get away from it all, but she’s worried about her sister. So she comes back to rescue her from the scientists. The two don’t work well together because they can’t agree on what to do, stay or go.
The girls’ story is interspersed with scenes from the “scientists” side of things, and it couldn’t be wackier. Take someone’s science discovery and tie it to a hoaky religion and raise money. Run your experiments on fish and see what you get. Don’t forget the political aspect of it all. Women run things and men take a supplement that suppresses testosterone. This is a post-apocalyptic society if there ever was one. I forget what year it’s supposed to be, but it’s futuristic.
The pace was rather brisk and the tension was high at times, especially the closer to the end it got. But it could also be rather laid back at times. In the 60s we used to blame things like this on someone doing drugs, but it’s not PC to say things like that anymore. So I guess I just have to blame it on a really weird imagination and bad dreams. This is not something I ever want to read again and it will definitely take me some time to forget all that I read. It does have staying power. I may recommend it to my son, he’s a Pratchett fan. This might appeal to him. He’s also an adult and could handle this. This is definitely not for children. I wouldn’t even give it to a young adult, though I’m sure some will read it. I’m going to try to be fair and rate this on its writing quality and impression, not on whether or not I liked the subject matter, so it will probably get a higher rating than it might have initially. I took quite a while to think about this one because my first impulse was to trash it, but it doesn’t deserve that. Though I cannot recommend it either.