Biting the Sun is actually a compilation of two of Tanith Lee’s books: Don’t Bite the Sun and Drinking Sapphire Wine. Set in a futuristic utopia, the unnamed (predominately) female protagonist has everything she could want. Technology is there to serve. There are no required jobs, no responsibilities, you are free to do whatever you want. The only currency is “thank you.” You can design the perfect body, be put in “Limbo” and come out a completely different-looking person. Or gender. The teenage society called the Jang have everything handed to them. Free love reigns supreme and all the food, drugs, and clothes they could ever want are at their fingertips. If you get tired of your perfect body–no problem. Just suicide yourself and they’ll bring you back and whomever else you want.
But for our leading lady, the world is not enough. Somehow she can’t find satisfaction in the endless parade of dashing lovers, club drugs, and perfect looks. (Poor thing…) She no longer feels as though she fits in with the Jang and asks the robotic government if she can be made into an “Older Person.” An Older Person can get a job if they want, find a partner and become a “maker” (parent)–but other than that there is no real difference. When the government turns her down–she goes a little out of control. The resulting mess of her trying to find herself, getting in loads of trouble in the process, and the government’s strong reaction is the resulting story.
She is yearning to know what it truly means to be human.
“Oh ooma–” said Danor, but Kam must have shaken his head, telepathically advising her to do what I said. They really were a pair, just like lovers in old books–one mind, one heart and so on. They’d have made you puke if there hadn’t been that sense of something shining and rock-hard at the spine of their idyll.”
I loved this book. I actually would put it down and read other things so I could still come back to it. The world-building was excellent and I really wanted to be a part of that perfect world. *A PART OF YOUR WORRRRRRRRRRLLLLLDDDD!* (Sorry I had to). Her inner struggles were compelling, and her revolt against society inspired others to take action. She knew what it was like to be both male and female. It was quintessential science fiction and fantasy–how could we expect any less from Tanith Lee?
There was quite a bit of “Jang Slang” thrown in there. I heartily recommend referring to the guide several times until you get it down, because otherwise their conversations may be without context. The cover is completely ridiculous for the actual story–other than for symbolic purposes. It was also a little strange to have an unnamed protagonist (something that didn’t even occur to me until halfway through the first book). I kept flipping backwards, sure I’d missed something. But all in all, excellent.
This is a need to read, my friends.
4 ecstasy tablets of 5