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Chris Beckett - Dark Eden
A spaceship crashes on an unknown world. Several generations later, the descandants have filled up their valley. A dude decides something must be done.
Vaguely interesting society, could have gone without the main character wanting to establish male supremacy etc in his breakaway tribe. Also, the characterization of the spaceship's only woman made me go gaah. And the characterization of the main character's mother. Also, the main character is meant to be likeable, despite being something of an asshole.
Bechdel pass.

Chris Beckett - The Holy Machine
The whole world has become a patchwork of religious totalitarian states, apart from Illyria. Our (male) main character decides to run away from the totalitarianizing Illyria, with a high-quality sex bot.
Came across as saying that all high-tech/atheist societies are morally bankrupt. The main character's mother comes across as a shy ten-year-old girl. (Beckett had a decent idea and went too far with it.) Also, the main character is meant to be likeable, despite being something of an asshole. He still gets the girl.
Bechdel pass.

David Brin - Sundiver
There are aliens in the Sun. Our (male) main character is called to help with the investigation.
Unlike Brin's The Postman, I was able to slog through. Suffers from Smurfette Syndrome. The main character is made of Boring. Brin's style of writing bores me. The only woman is competent, but for whatever reason, doesn't do anything in the climax, even though her doing something would make more sense than the actual climax. Also, she's tossed off as a reward to the main character, even though they have zero chemistry.
Bechdel fail.

Gary Gibson - Angel Stations
A wavefront of radiation is traveling towards Earth. First, however, it will hit and sterilize Kasper, which has sentient aliens. The story of people wanting to save the Kaspians.
Suffers from Smurfette Syndrome. All the important aliens are male, even if female ones exist. Bonus points for lesbians, even if it's only in flashbacks. Not only readable, but interesting.
Bechdel pass.

Generally, when a SF author needs to come up with a culture that differs from the current mainstream, zie creates male supremacy, often religiously mandated. (See: Masada from David Weber's Honorverse, The World Whose Name Eludes Me from Gary Gibson's Shoal Sequence) Not only is this annoying to those of us who would like to have even the smallest feminist sympathies, it is repetitive, overdone and boring.
So, when I started reading Dark Eden, I was happy: a matriarchal society! Finally! Then, Beckett starts writing in a way that implies that all the society's woes are the result of its insularity, which is caused by its matriarchality. And by the end it's patriarchal, militarized, etc. Agh.


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