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Science Fiction Fantasy Blog

Our Discussion of Lexicon by Max Barry

The group had a lively discussion of some of the very timely ideas expressed in the book, along with our critiques.

A sampling of our comments are listed below:

  • What was the point of the organization? The poets accepted stringent rules – no love, no emotions, it was dangerous to reveal anything about yourself, even among other poets.
  • Maybe the organization was a guild – existing to train poets to protect themselves?
  • None of the poets were healthy emotionally. Maybe the only way they could let down their guard was to allow someone to “compromise” them?
  • This story was relevant to targeted ads we’ve seen this election cycle with various ways to manipulate people by determining their “segment” and using words to control or “compromise” them.
  • In the opening scene, was Eliot going to try to extract the bareword from Wil’s brain? How?
  • The story was very cinematic, especially the airport scene and Emily crossing the desert.
  • Was it ever explained how or why Harry was an outlier? Theory: he grew up with items pulled from the mine, like the mobile Emily found – maybe they contained fragments of the bareword and he acquired immunity?
  • Too bad the words used were not actual language, but if they had been, we might be compromised.
  • The book had a Dr. Who "Power of Love" ending and it wasn’t believable.
  • I wanted Emily to be a supervillain – it was sad to find out she was controlled by Yeats.
  • The book had too many scene and time changes – flashbacks and flash forwards, too. It would have helped to have a date stamp on the chapters.
  • It was a relief that the tragedy in Broken Hill wasn’t due to a “woman scorned” scenario.
  • Too many big ideas, not enough exploration. The story needed more detail.
  • I loved the fast pace – lots of action and not too much detail!
  • The book had a lot in common with Snow Crash by by Neal Stephenson.
  • Bottom line: all the characters were really messed up.

Please add any additional thoughts or comments you may have about Lexicon. We gave this title the codes ETH, NFW, MAG, LIT & CUL with an average rating of 3.

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