January 16th, 2009


Raise high the sun & then strike it down! (6)

Pirate Sun by Karl Schroeder.

Confucious versus
Grimm & anime bikers
& a Moth, unfurled.

Here is the very simple math problem that loom over this book: Venera Fanning > Chaison Fanning > Hayden Griffin. I liked this book, but after the last one, Queen of Candesce, it was kind of a letdown. It is probably a better book than Sun of Suns, but being the first one, Sun of Suns has a line of credit-- it introduces the fantastic zero-g setting. There are some grand moments in Pirate Sun-- the Precipice Moths are awesome-- which sort of make up for it, but the truth of the matter is, I kept hoping Admiral Fanning wouldn't be the main protagonist of this book-- that instead he'd meet up with his wife Venera Fanning sooner rather than later. I like Chaison, I do, & he's actually got a sense of nobility (a suicidal sense of nobility at points) but I think he is a superior storytelling engine when paired with his wife.

What there are here are details. We see the nations in play: we've seen Slipstream, the sort of homebase to the story, & we've seen Aerie, the nation conquered & absored by Slipstream. We've heard rumblings of the fascist Falcon Formation, & here we get them in depth, along with the faerytale Gretels, who govern with mythology. We get a little more on the Home Guard who protect Virga from the otherwise post-human galaxy (& the aforementioned Precipice Moths), we see more of Artifical Nature (who are not villified overly, & thus all the more spooky. The Pilot of Slipstream, it's "evil monarch" is finally revealed, & he's you know, as besides the point as he had to be. There are a couple of modified humans-- the Atlas is a guy raised under extra-g's, which in a mostly zero- or low-g world makes him insanely strong; Antaea is big eyes, small mouth & I wish the words "Anime mod" weren't used-- the "anachronism" of it rang really false to me.

Narratively it is well plotted; it isn't break-neck but gives you time to enjoy the sights. The attitude towards sex is remarkably healthy, too, if less...graphic? than in Queen.... I liked it, & as a capstone, it works; everyone gets at least name checked, & a lot of minor characters are revisted or promoted to full character status. Oh & there is a map at the begining? I am really glad the map didn't come till later; figuring it out is half the fun. I wonder if there will be another series set in Virga or in a situation like Virga-- some high concept sort of telling. Over all I think the focus of these books worked best when it stays local, & hints at the bigger pictures. That is, I care more about Venera Fanning taking over Spyre than I do the struggle against the Anti-life Equation Artificial Nature. I like the lurking high-tech terror, but I like it kept in the background, something for the critical reader to pick out.

Lemurian archeology. (7)

Into the Hollow Earth: Golden Path Volume One by Ansom Montgomery.

The Radient Ones
make Hiroshima shadows
in the Hollow Earth.

Choose Your Own Adventure! Except, packaged as a hardcover, & not self contained. Wait, what? Yeah, that is what I said-- I got to the end of my first story line & it told me to turn to a completely different book. & did I mention it is a hardcover? Okay actually, a ten-dollar hardcover isn't so bad; especially factoring library use. The fact that it isn't complete really blow though. Probably enough to turn me off entirely. I mean, it wasn't even like I got to a chapter close. I followed a few paths, & they are all similar, plus nothing too madcap? I mean, you are in a dystopian near future, but you don't-- make backup copies of your brain in your big toe. & you don't flip the page to find out you've been horribly killed. So was it fun? Kind of. Would I recommend buying it? Naw; & I wouldn't recommend reading it unless you had the whole series-- however long it might be-- immediately at hand.
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