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Ryan's Reviews: The Alteration, by Kingsley Amis

Uhura's Mazda

Savage Methodist
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
I read this a few months ago and just came away with the slightly soiled feeling of having spent several hours in the company of a quasi-incel who has an extremely unhealthy attitude towards sex. It's not even that he's writing from the viewpoints of teenagers and sexually repressed people, it's just a constant screed. I ended up siding with the pro-castration characters.

However, I will say that the opening sequence in the cathedral is a brilliant piece of AH exposition, in that you can almost get through the whole scene without clocking that it's AH if you're only skimming it, but if you pay attention and you know your art history, you can piece together quite a lot of the worldbuilding. I wasn't a fan of the shoehorned Dick reference, it felt a bit too look-at-me and didn't quite make sense - however, the more subtle references generally work.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
Pavane's really good, though the bit at the end of "ah but Our World might be worse cos NUKES" is quite funny many decades later when nothing's blown up (yet)
 

MAC161

Well-known member
Published by SLP
Location
WI, USA
Just got done re-reading this book (after a long time of letting it sit on the shelf, in keeping with what the review seems to recommend :D), and one element that still baffles me to a certain degree is the way the Pope ("a thinly-disguised Harold Wilson", or "Machiavellian Yorkshireman") is portrayed. I understand that Amis may have wanted to caricature Wilson and other 1970s British political figures (esp. the Left/liberal ones, given his tilt to the Right), but I got the sense it was tapping into some larger, popular perception of or animosity towards Wilson that was perhaps common then, and maybe still is today? I know about the conspiracies surrounding him, yet it felt like there was something else behind this portrayal. Anybody have any thoughts?
 
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