Michael's Reviews > Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future

Santiago by Mike Resnick
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Jun 24, 2009

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bookshelves: obscure-references-book-group, read-in-2009, science-fiction, to-be-read-challenge
Read in June, 2009

A friend recommended this to me, saying that "Santiago" reminded him of "Firefly." Being the Joss Whedon obsessed fan that I am, I was immediately intrigued so I picked up a copy of this and the sequel novel, "The Return of Santiago."

And now that I've read half of the saga (which, thankfully "Santiago" is a self contained book), I'm not sure I'm in any kind of hurry to pick up the next installment. It's not that "Santiago" is necessarily a bad book--it's not. It's just not necessarily a great book.

In the far future, a man known as Santiago is rumored to exist. But the character of Santiago himself isn't necessarily the point of the story, so much as the stories that exist around Santiago and the search to find him. He's the most wanted man in the future universe, existing outside the law as some kind of bounty hunter/do-gooder with a heart of gold. The story quickly makes it clear that it's not so much the fact that Santiago exists but the idea that he could exist that really matters. And while it's an interesting concept to explore the dichotomy of the man vs the myth, the book spends far too long on the quest to find Santiago and not enough time with the actual man himself. In fact, we don't find Santiago until three-quarters of the way through the book, long after Resnick has trotted out a variety of characters who are all either looking for the man or have looked for him.

It's a book filled with larger than life characters and maybe that's why I didn't care for it as much as I did. Going back to the recommendation and comparison to "Firefly," it's almost like we're hearing the story of Mal and company from outside and following a group of people determined to bring them down and bring them to justice. It's interesting, but at some point I think it would have been more interesting to find out more on how the myth and the man compared. But again, the point is that it's not the person, it's the idea of who they are that matters.

In the end, I was left with an experience that wasn't as satisfying or as complete as I'd hoped it would be. I've read a lot worse books in my time, but I've read a lot better.
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