The Core of the Sun

306 pages

English language

Published Aug. 7, 2016

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4 stars (3 reviews)

Set in an alternative historical present, in a "eusistocracy"--An extreme welfare state -- that holds public health and social stability above all else, it follows a young woman whose growing addiction to illegal chili peppers leads her on an adventure into a world where love, sex, and free will are all controlled by the state.

2 editions

The Core of the Sun

2 stars

I read The Core of the Sun because it was on the #SFFBookClub backlog.

This book is about a woman in a (gender-)dystopian Finnish society that puts public health above all else. Applying eugenics, gender stereotypes, applying science like the fox domestication experiments to humans, this society divides everybody into men and women, and further into H.G. Wells-esque eloi/morlock categories, all based on childhood appearance, behavior, and health. Eloi women especially are forced into extreme feminine stereotypes. The main character has been secretly educated but pretends to be eloi.

I think the most weird and delightful part of the book for me is the focus on chili peppers and capsaicin. It's been made illegal (along with alcohol and tobacco), and so a lot of the book is focused on the main character getting her chili fix, illegal pepper drug trade, and the transcendental experiences from having too many scovilles. The …

A very topical dystopia

4 stars

The "Finnish Weird" label that I've seen bandied around fits but also doesn't quite - it had me expecting a bit of a lighter quirkier book than this turned out to be. The first scene or two definitely feels like that, but it quickly becomes apparent that a more serious dystopia is being spun, along lines set out by the cover.

Actually I should praise the cover more: it's one of the best book covers I've ever seen, because it tells a lot of the story but without spoilers since none of it made sense until I had reached the relevant parts of the book.


  • Women
  • Hot peppers
  • Fiction