So far my impressions of Scalzi are that he's an easy read and prefers to dump you into the universe and explain on the way rather than start with anSo far my impressions of Scalzi are that he's an easy read and prefers to dump you into the universe and explain on the way rather than start with an epically dense first chapter full of exposition.
I'm okay with this. *G*
The book itself reminded me a lot of Heinlein, but with 80% less objectionable POV, less the feeling that the author was simply finding a soapbox for his own feelings on the Way the World Should Work and 100% more like I came from the same place culturally as this author did. Structurally though, it was eerily similar.
It was a fun read, my only complaint was that it didn't really feel like a structured story and I'm not exactly sure why it ended where it did. Though knowing there's 3 or 4 more in the series, it wasn't as frustrating as it could have been....more
Sawyer challenges a lot of assumptions in this book. About god, about evolution, about astronomy and about paleoWow.
No. Seriously. Wow.
This guy? Deep.
Sawyer challenges a lot of assumptions in this book. About god, about evolution, about astronomy and about paleontologists.
"Take me to your paleontologist." Once again, Sawyer does aliens in a way that makes them alien in such perfect ways.
This book goes to the edges of philosophy and beyond and it was a very interesting and challenging ride to be on. Wow.
It does at times read like a textbook to varying subjects, there's an awful lot of science and philosophy the reader needs to understand as the the main character makes his journey. However, there's a large dose of cultural context, from Carl Sagan to the skeptical inquirer to South Park. The character of Tom Jericho FEELS like he lives in the late 90s/early 00s, with all the things that a person of that era would know.
It took me approximately 50 pages to go "Oh. Interesting." Another 50 to go, "OH. INTERESTING." And another 20 or so after that to really see how evenIt took me approximately 50 pages to go "Oh. Interesting." Another 50 to go, "OH. INTERESTING." And another 20 or so after that to really see how even MORE interesting it was going to be. After that, I stopped keeping count.
This is obviously one of Sawyer's earlier works, he's a bit clunky in the exposition, there's definitely a good deal of interesting in the beginning, but it's shrouded in uneven introduction and clunky science. It might have been that this particular science was not something I knew the basics about at ALL, which I find helps when reading a novel heavily steeped in some science concept or another, or that Sawyer just hadn't gotten a handle on thinning it down for the laymen while still making his characters sound competent.
One thing that Sawyer obviously has a grasp on early on (though you get a better picture as the novel goes on) is how to do Aliens. I mean, serious Aliens. I don't really have a huge problem with Star Trek form of Alien, anything is plausible when we don't know all that much, but Sawyer does it right, from biology right down to sociology. Sawyer really understands aliens and the implications thereof.
This novel is startling and refreshing. It reminds me of Heinlein minus all the things I hate and with a dash of wonder and mystery that Heinlein didn't often pull off. Despite its slow start, I plodded along until the pull of plot wasn't simply a tiny string plodding me along, but a full force tug that continually surprised me by its directions.
Sadly, the book is out of print, but Amazon has it used for a reasonable price....more
**spoiler alert** See, I can't even start talking about the ending, I spent most of the book hating every single character. They were all self serving**spoiler alert** See, I can't even start talking about the ending, I spent most of the book hating every single character. They were all self serving and kind of stupid. Maybe Willis was trying to show humanity and how in the future it sort of simmers down to a more obnoxious essence?
I also started to twitch at the "dangle the fact that something is wrong in front of the readers but keep using the literary equivalent to ACTS OF GOOD to stop the only person trying to do something about it from even getting the most basic of facts". Again. That's life-- but it felt so utterly extreme.
I like that people died, characters we'd known through the whole book. I didn't like that such crass and utter stupidity was allowed to rule the day.
Again, human nature, yes, but it just crossed a line into skin crawlingly annoying somewhere early in the book. ...more