Why I Read This Book: It's the SFDG book for 2013-06-29.
I have mixed feelings about this book; it presents aliens who use language in a very different...moreWhy I Read This Book: It's the SFDG book for 2013-06-29.
I have mixed feelings about this book; it presents aliens who use language in a very different way from the way humans do (or at least my limited understanding of the way humans do ;-) but it felt like the author cheated at several points. On the minus side, it's as bloated as the current fashion; on the plus side, the author did a deft job of making me realize the story wasn't what I thought it was, not just once, but several times.
I was thrilled to discover that Carole Nelson Douglas has now made all of her Irene Adler books available as ebooks and will pick them up as budget al...moreI was thrilled to discover that Carole Nelson Douglas has now made all of her Irene Adler books available as ebooks and will pick them up as budget allows. This novella looked intriguing enough, and was inexpensive enough, that I couldn't resist it.
I enjoyed this even more than the Irene Adler novels I've read (the first three). I'll admit to occasional exasperation with the narrator of those novels; by contrast, this story is narrated by Adler herself. Fortunately, and perhaps not surprisingly, she's a much better narrator than Holmes was in Doyle's work.
It may be that one of the reasons I enjoyed this so much was the shorter length; I'll be very busy this week and was pleased to have something this good that I could read and finish in a single morning. (It's also possible that the shorter length forced the plot to be simple enough that I could easily follow it ;-).
A word on the ebook itself: A lot of long-time paper publishers have been putting out barebones ebooks of mediocre quality and high prices. (For instance, one of my favorite Isaac Asimov novels was so full of typos that it was clear no human had read it before it was republished.) By contrast, this ebook had nice artwork, was nicely proofread (I only caught one typo--a space where there shouldn't have been one), and had a very enjoyable afterword explaining how this particular story came to be written (and why Holmes ended up in such an unusual setting). I look forward to any more Irene Adler novellas that Ms. Douglas may release as ebooks.
(Finished on 2013-02-06 well before 9:00 EST.)(less)
Our SF group meets once a month (except December) to discuss a particular book. The rule is that if you finish the book, you can give a rating from 1...moreOur SF group meets once a month (except December) to discuss a particular book. The rule is that if you finish the book, you can give a rating from 1 (really terrible) to 10 (really great). About 40% of the way through this book I decided that I would finish it, so that I could give it a 1.
In my humble opinion, there's maybe a novelette's worth of "story" here. The characters are not particularly likable, the main city on Mercury is fairly ridiculous, and Robinson doesn't really bring any new ideas to the table. There are a couple of vivid scenes involving surviving a disaster, and a few clever coinages, but they're offset by particularly shallow discussions of consciousness and computing. Also, there are some metaphors that blew my suspension of disbelief because things are compared to objects that are familiar to 20th century readers but would be utterly unknown to characters in this time and place. Finally, as much as I love the Beatles' album Abbey Road, I find it hard to believe that it will still be well-known (and quoted) in three centuries.(less)