Mike's Reviews > The Practice Effect

The Practice Effect by David Brin
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's review
Jul 20, 11

bookshelves: scifi-fantasy
Read in July, 2011

Later on in his career, Brin will learn how to fashion together a plot, to make characters that have depth and to understand how to blend science in with a believable world. This novel was written in 1984 and does not have any of those elements.

There is one intriguing plot twist and I will reveal it right here: What happens if we reverse the Second Law of Thermodynamics? This book is a lame attempt at trying to explain what would take place if nothing falls apart but actually improves over time (except people).

This is obviously the work of a young David Brin. The dialogue is contrived. No one talks this way. The two primary characters fall in love but there is no explanation of why. The girl is good looking and this is the extent of the attraction between them. Yet, they are willing to be in a relationship with an alien based on a few passing glances and an improbable ride on a glider turned single-engine aircraft. The battles have no drama in them. The main character knows all about all of science and almost never follows a wrong hunch. The primary foil character is almost as likeable as the main guy and the evil villain gets thwarted way too easily. There is no quest, no self-discovery and very little suspense to hold the story together.

To top all of that off, the ending makes no sense at all. Even if it did make sense, it has no point to it. The only point I could conjure was wondering if the hero becomes his own ancestor.

There is so much Deus Ex Machina that I wonder if Brin himself believed his book would improve over time. All this book proves is that the second Law of Thermodynamics applies to this novel. It looks very weak, even after all these years.
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