I wouldn't call Grass exactly a good novel, but it is rather fun. It starts off rather slowly and confusingly, but then Tepper starts pouring on the revelations of what exactly has been going on in the first hundred or so pages. I found that I read it like AndrewSchoonmaker did SnowCrash?: the first section I read in bits pieces over several days, and then I finished the last half or so all at once. The book is technically science fiction, but I would call it science fantasy. While I have learned to excuse minor violations of important physical principles (like, I don't know, FTL star ships, or maybe, telepathy?) Tepper has apparently been doing some reading in molecular biology, which she then gets completely wrong. Most of the facts she cites are correct, but she fails to understand the reasons behind them, and since this is a key plot point in the book, I found it rather jarring. I also have trouble buying into her fictional future (as always, humans jet around in starships without having undergone the essential transformations that advanced genetic, computer, and materials technologies will bring long before FTL, assuming that it's even possible). However, as soft science ficition goes, it's not too bad, and her command of plot, characterization, and setting is quite competent. All in all, a worthwhile book if you don't take it too seriously. --CurtisVinson

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