Climate of Change by Piers Anthony
I’ve read most of the books that Piers Anthony has written, having devoured the first three books of the Xanth series early in my teens. Climate of Change is the latest in his Geodyssey series that began with Isle of Woman in 1993. The Geodyssey series is historical and anthropological fiction as each book takes on a series of characters that recur in various permutations and incarnations across the span of human history. Each section features a different time period and geological age, but a common theme runs through the book along with the characters. These links have grown more complex along the way from Isle of Woman, which featured two main characters, to Climate of Change, which features two separate families and seven characters that intermingle in various combinations as the tales unfold across the ages.
This series has always been very graphic and sexual in nature, partly due to the anthropological elements of studying how humans formed relationships, tribes and ultimately civilizations. Climate of Change is no different from the other 4 books that came before it, except for one thematic undercurrent which runs throughout the entire novel, whether it actually occurs or is merely a risk in each different story. While Rape is indeed a part of our human history, the graphic way in which it is portrayed over and over again, or implied as something about to happen to one of the teenage characters “right on the verge of womanhood” was intensely disturbing to me as a female reader. Descriptions of how the young women showed their flesh to entice a man, distract them or inadvertently cause their discomfort and arousal reminded me all to sadly of the “she was asking for it” argument one often hears.
Most of Piers Anthony’s novels are sensitive and empathetic… but this one just left me feeling slightly sick at heart. Perhaps I am more sensitive to this as I try to raise two grounded daughters in this era of overt sexuality. The questions raised about how our planet needs to adapt to survive and the intriguing glimpses into other cultures and other eras are both valid and captivating. Unfortunately, Climate of Change made me feel as if I was reading someone’s forbidden pornographic fantasies instead of watching history come alive through the words of the talented writer I know Piers Anthony to be.
Hardcover format, 446 pages, published in 2010 by Tor