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The Smell of Orange Groves: A Beautiful World, Yet No Real Story

Updated on April 3, 2020

The Smell of Orange Groves by Lavice Tidhar

The Terror is a long book. I mean a really long book . And as with most long books I take occasional breaks to read something else. Typically a short story. Again I am diving into the 29th Edition of the Year’s Best scifi to read The Smell of Orange Groves by Lavice Tidhar.

So what is it about? It’s set in a far flung super future Tel Aviv, Isreal and follows a multicultural family in this world. It jumps between two generations. Half the story follows Boris’s father who sought the oracle. A creature was human once but has advanced beyond, human and cyborg to something otherworldly through quantum computing. It's something over from the olden times and is considered a god among people. His father asks to always be remembered and to always be with his family wishing that future generations will not fall apart. In the future, Boris lives with the consequence of his father’s wish. He can relive memories of his father. But not only that, he connected to every member of his family. He can feel their thoughts, memorizes and sensations flooding to them all the time. It’s a lot to handle but he must deal with it.

The good? I tend to like stories that has this gritty different futuristic view, instead of the American shiny one we’re used to. Tel Aviv is such a strange setting and how it evolved into this future is so messy, yet so fascinating. I enjoyed this world. Also I think Boris’s dilemma is quite unique here.

The bad? The story doesn’t really go anywhere. It introduces a concept, briefly explores it, and then that is the end. There’s just a sliver on conflict and no resolution. The detail in this world is intriguing and all but the writer does going in circles dancing around the point often and then when it comes to the point, it’s interesting but then it just ends. It’s a bit pretentions in a lot of ways. And after reading this, I will say no matter beautifully the words flow and the imagination put into this world, this story is not a story. It’s a brief exploration of a concept and nothing more.

Overall, this has promise with the world building, but is a concept at heart. There’s just not much to it. His father wishes for something the son doesn’t like it. That is really it. It doesn’t evolve into anything. There’s no beginning, middle ,or end. And I can’t recommend to anyone.

1 Smoothie out of Four

Overall Rating: A Beautiful World, Yet No Real Story

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