Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Injustice Book Review: Pennsylvania by Michael Bunker

Cower not, fierce readers! Today we have a fine, if ultimately gentle tale of Amish SF. I am reviewing the omnibus edition.Yes, Amish exists, and I'm late to the party, as those in the know will tell you.

I confess, I really only became aware of the existence of SFF that didn't wallow in SocJus last year, and only started this blog in January of this year. So I'm actually over two years late to this particular party. The good news is that good stories remain such, and there are always new folks to show the way.

On to the indictment of Mr. Bunker's work!

Firstly, it's AMISH in nature. While they try to stay out of most of the affairs of the world, it's a faith that secularists cannot begin to understand. And while I disagree with the Amish on some particulars of the Christian faith, I respect their right to practice as they see fit, especially as they don't want to inflict their views on others. Many other crimes flow from this.

Secondly, there is widespread distrust of government among the "English" characters within this book. At least, among those we really see. There's one named character, if I recall, that actually remains on the side of the government of the setting, and that character is not in the tale much.

Thirdly, as a result of being Amish, we see a longing for a community that voluntarily cares for those within it. Not allowing government to meet needs, by performing Christian acts? That's an act of aggression in and of itself.

Family, and a longing for a simple life that revolves around such is actively portrayed as both good and attractive. Again, faith going against government, and against the ways of the world. We are constantly told to want more, when we don't need more.

A fifth crime this story commits is the presentation of farmers as anything but dumb and ignorant. Farmers are shown to be problem solvers, and the good ones still are, Amish or not. This approach to life of getting knowledge as it's needed to be applied is out of step with the scientiism and expert worship of the world.

Mr. Bunker has written an excellent novel with a most interesting perspective. In a few ways, I am positively reminded of Mr. Lansdown's A Stitch in Space, though that character is far more aware of worldly culture. 7/10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

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