The Core of The Sun by Johanna Sinisalo
This is a story of Eugenics and social engineering, of a society where women have been made into dolls to please men and produce children. There is also this weird thing where chili peppers are an illegal and addicting substance.
This book really slaps you in the face with its feminist themes and is very angry and aggressive about common beauty standards for women, we are very clear on where the author stands with body hair, makeup, and clothes. It actually feels very antagonistic towards women who choose to wear makeup or enjoy typical “girly” things. It felt like a platform for the author to very obviously press her ideas about this subjects on people and that women who choose to remove their body hair or enjoy wearing makeup are anti-feminist and just bowing to the demands of the male ideal of beauty. Give it a rest, I’m so tired of this narrative, lets stop being so judgemental about the choices of other women.
The chili pepper thing was just strange to me and I didn’t enjoy that whole storyline, I think the story could have been improved without it. Sure we could dig into the meaning of it, that the government is so controlling that it can make something as silly as the consumption of peppers illegal. I just thought it detracted from the more interesting elements of the story and made it less accessible to a wider audience because of how ridicuous it is.
I found the social engineering and eugenics portions fascinating. I wish we could have spend more time exploring different aspects of that society instead of dwelling on our protagonists addiction to peppers. How the society was built and the implications of current trends of government was chilling. On explaining how their society ended up the way it is “They didn’t need the support of the majority. Sometimes all that’s needed is a group of people loud enough and influential enough to change the world and make it the way they want it to be. It doesn’t even have to be a huge group, as long as some of them establish their own personal preferences as the only real truth, and make enough noise to give the impression that the forgotten neglected masses are behind them. Even for a person who’s satisfied with things the way they are, it’s easy to give support to an idea if it’s going to personally benefit you.” Sound familiar?