One of the few works I've ever read with successful second person narration. The beginning is kind of slow and hard to tell where things are going, buOne of the few works I've ever read with successful second person narration. The beginning is kind of slow and hard to tell where things are going, but the story certainly picks up, and the end makes it all worthwhile. Stross also manages to build an incredibly believable vision of a not-too-far-away future. Not light reading, but recommended for people looking for some harder sci-fi more in the vein of cyberpunk....more
I kept seeing this book mentioned by various authors as an influence and as one of the foundations of steampunk. Sadly, it is pretty much entirely atmI kept seeing this book mentioned by various authors as an influence and as one of the foundations of steampunk. Sadly, it is pretty much entirely atmosphere and no plot. Anytime a character finally became interesting, their story would end without any particularly clear closure. It was more like a bunch of vignettes for the purposes of worldbuilding, rather than having a world for the characters to move around in. A huge slog....more
(January book for "The Women of Science Fiction" 2011 reading challenge.)
The really short version of Dust is that it is a story about the people on a(January book for "The Women of Science Fiction" 2011 reading challenge.)
The really short version of Dust is that it is a story about the people on a generation ship. Which is, of course, true. But the generation ship has been stuck in “temporary” orbit around this particular star for 500 years after an unknown disaster forced it to find somewhere it could stop for repairs. In that time, the people, and to some degree the ship, have forgotten that the ship is a ship meant to be moving to somewhere else. It has instead become its own world, with its own nations, races, and religions.
And while I don’t feel like that’s really revealing too much about the book, since it’s all more or less included in the back matter, it really sort of is. Bear sets the reader down right at the beginning of a burgeoning war, with Rien, a character who has a very limited viewpoint as she has never left the domain of Rule, in which she is a servant. She is assigned to care for a recently vanquished prisoner from the realm of Engine, Perceval, who in turn has her own limited viewpoint. And then we get a vignette from the view of Dust himself, which, while seemingly omniscient, he points out himself is still limited in scope. So the reader must piece together everything, the social dynamics, the form of the “world,” what is actually going on to spur all these political machinations, along with the characters. As it turns out, this is a rather clever metaphor for the overall story itself. Read it and you’ll see.
If you’re not a person who enjoys having to struggle along with a limited view that you know is limited, though, this may not be the book for you. If you want to be taken along for a fantastically interesting ride in a sci-fi world that thinks its medieval, try it! The third book of the trilogy comes out tomorrow, so now’s a good time to pick up the series. I’m certain I’ll be reading the rest of it. (At some point. When I don’t have so many things checked out from the library.)...more
This was Elizabeth Bear's debut series? Really? As one of the reviewers said of the first book, "A glorious hybrid: hard science, dystopian geopoliticThis was Elizabeth Bear's debut series? Really? As one of the reviewers said of the first book, "A glorious hybrid: hard science, dystopian geopolitics, and a wide-eyed sense of wonder seamlessly blended into a single book. I hate this woman. She makes the rest of us look like amateurs." (Peter Watts, on Hammered) I assure you, the sentiment applies to the second book as well (and bids good to continue in the third, which I just started.) I do kind of wonder if all three books weren't written at the same time, though, because the first and second ones especially run right into each other, plotwise. Don't pick up the first one unless you're ready to read all three is my advice.
I love the main character, Jenny Casey, and her rather hardboiled military sci-fi take on narration, but I equally love all the other characters and the way they show her to truly interact with people. The near-future world portrayed is an entirely too possible view of ecological collapse, and the characters aren't really having the best time trying to save said world, but the whole thing walks the line between being realistic about the likely outcomes and never quite becoming actually depressing. Reminds me of a more political version of Tanya Huff's Valor series. (This is a good thing.) I will definitely be reading more Elizabeth Bear....more
Like pretty much everyone else I know, I thought this book was excellent. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get around to reading it. It sure wilLike pretty much everyone else I know, I thought this book was excellent. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get around to reading it. It sure will make you feel paranoid, though.
The version I read was from the Goodreads free library of public domain ebooks, and each chapter was dedicated by Doctorow to a different bookstore, everything from Amazon to specialty independents around the world. A nice touch....more