10 Jan 2003 palm   » (Apprentice)

Had to quit reading Ben Bova's book, 'The Precipice' (c) 2001 at page 42. Not a picky reader, I consume mass quantities of science fiction and mysteries to compensate for not watching any broadcast TV. Here's the offending passage:

"What about your cook?"

With a laugh, Dan said, "She goes with the van, old buddy. She only speaks Japanese, but she's terrific in the kitchen. And the bedroom."

Frieberg flushed deep red. But he did not refuse Dan's gift.

I've read plenty of books that were racist and sexist. I've enjoyed them. Some of them (Ivanhoe, Tarzan) had the (thin) excuse that their authors were working within the prevailing mores of their lifetime. Others lacked even that excuse (Casino Royale et al).

So why am I so heated about the admittedly tame passage quoted above? The problem is that Bova actually has a decent scientific idea (the greenhouse effect is accelerating catastrophically) but he throws in this offensive crap that has nothing to do with the plot. It's like he thinks he has to bribe me to read his book (time out while we all fantasize about giesha.) Spare me, pal!

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