Trouble and Her Friends by Melissa Scott

I had a really hard time figuring out what I wanted to say about this book.

I really liked it. It’s a cyberpunk adventure with a lesbian romance. The world could use more cyberpunk adventures with lesbian romances. I believe that very strongly.

This book came out in 1994, so I’m two years older than it. I’m not sure that it aged gracefully?

The big ideas brought up by the book, about the web and who has the freedom to access it, and how are big ideas in the news right now but it’s framed very differently here. The idea of technology and body modification is also very present, and I think that works better because we’re still on the far edge of that. I can’t pinpoint why, but there’s a sense that Scott gets close to the future, but it’s not quite right in little ways that interrupt the world. The net is still described as a very physical space in ways that seem awkward. It is still a place that people have to go to, not a place that we carry with us constantly, with our phones in our pockets. I don’t think it’s fair to judge science fiction for not being prescient, but when it’s about the near future and almost right it’s kind of unsettling.

That said, I still enjoyed it, because it is a cyberpunk novel with lesbians, and that is 1000% my jam. The supporting cast is mostly queer as well, and Scott repeatedly uses the word family to describe the relationship between the various tech world people who aren’t straight, which I really enjoyed. The idea of a queer community that’s unified like this is really appealing but unreal. It’s utopian really, which makes the dystopian aspects work better.

It’s a good adventure book, and it’s about my people. Very cool.

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