I read this for the first time many years ago and decided I should go back and re-read it. I forgot just how brutal it was when it started and just how much sex there was in it! Still I suppose it was the 60s.
For a book about polyamorous sluts it did come off a little hetero-normative at times, but at least there was a few bits of bisexuality. I also liked how the different polyamorous relationships didn't make anyone any better. Some people were still hideous bigots despite being more open about sex. In fact the whole issue of belonging and prejudice was a theme I thought he did really well in this book.
In many ways it felt like a proto-cyberpunk novel. There were implants, genetic engineering and ruthless mega corps who had all the real power and were behind everything. I think I would have liked it a little better if there had been more with the corporations, explain a bit better what the fake revolutions had been about. It seemed to be going in one direction and then changed towards the end. I did really enjoy it though, up until the last chapter. I don't care how free of sexual hangups you are, you'd still never marry a man who gang raped you, and even in a new colony I would not be proud of my daughter for getting knocked up at 14, 16 and 18. It was like once they'd arrived at the colony everyone just became farmers and house wives. Surely even an agrarian economy would need scientists! I think the ending left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. But it was a good book, with a cool and competent main character and an interesting world....Continua