Monday, August 26, 2013

Recent Reading -- back into space

Evening's Empires by Paul McAuley

Back in the solar system for the next book in the Quiet War sequence; a maguffin hunt around the decadent worlds of the Belt and outer planets.

Much better than the rather aimless In the Mouth of the Whale. But with sections named for well known old school SF stories, and a clade of tick-tock people, I was disappointed that none of them said "Repent, Harlequin!"

The Shoal Trilogy (Stealing Light et al) and others by Gary Gibson

The Shoal books are a decent set of interstellar adventure while he's setting more and more plates spinning as a couple of humans are caught in the machinations of the one species that possesses the secret of FTL travel, but like many of these things, taking them down again doesn't happen so neatly. The bad Heinlein pastiche bad guys in human space do get annoying.

That sequence manages to avoid something other of his books suffer from -- a big setup opening passage, then completely setting that aside for the rest of the book : Final Days sets up the concept of a wormhole network to the post-Stelliferous age, and then turns into near future action thriller; and Angel Stations starts with a probe reaching the galactic centre -- then drops us into some gang fighting in a future run-down London and scatters across half a dozen or more disconnected viewpoints that take most of the book to achieve a semblance of coherence.

But at least he makes the effort and does not go the safe route of just dressing an historical in spaceship clothing.

The Expanse (Leviathan Wakes et al) by James S. A. Corey

Grand scale maguffin hunting across the solar system -- plenty of page turning action as planets go to war over a find of alien biotechnology.

Commits the sin of not conserving angular momentum at a crucial point in the last volume. (One of the Gibson's did as well, but in a much less significant context.)

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