The Textile Planet is a novel by Sue Lange.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 30.7.2018
Marla Gershe is a manager on the Textile Planet. The planet is devoted in its entirety to the production of fabrics of all kinds – and it demands a lot of devotion from its workers. Marla’s expected output quota has been nothing but raised. When her team is halfed in size without it affecting the quota at all, Marla has had it. She organizes a strike, gets shot for her efforts and her entire life is upended – so Marla has to leave the Textile Planet behind.
The Textile Planet is a weird book. It sets out a good and pretty fast pace, but as it hurries along, it left me mostly confused and disoriented. Ultimately that turned to annoyance on my side.
The Textile Planet is written in the first person from Marla’s perspective. Despite seeing the story through her eyes, Marla herself remained a cypher for me. I just never understood her decisions and thinking process and was constantly surprised by the conclusions she draws.
There’s also a big reveal at the end: practically everything that happens to Marla is part of a psychological experiment from the clothing company she works for. That experiment was done on Marla without her knowledge or consent and she is upset about that. Understandably, I’d say. But that disregard for her boundaries, her autonomy, her life is never something that feels like a bad thing. I had to keep reminding myself that this is not a good thing at all. And after I put all that work in – work that the novel should have made easier by making the (emotional) impact tangible – it all gets handwaved away because it turns out that the experiment was done for a good cause, so everything is fine. Only that’s not how ethics work.
There were good things about it. The world-building was interesting and with all the turns the story takes (that mostly took me by surprise because, as I said, I just didn’t understand Marla) it at least never gets boring. But I would have gladly traded some calmer, more boring moments for a bit more clarity in pretty much anything.
Summarizing: It’s not without entertainment value, but mostly it didn’t work for me.