Nick's Reviews > Black Hole Sun

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill
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's review
Apr 09, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: young-adult-fiction, science-fiction

I enjoyed it, although not as much as some reviewers seem to have.
I had problems with how derivative the setup was, mostly Seven Samurai meets Mad Max in the middle of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, but as I was reading it the bigger problem I had was with odd word usage. Several times it felt like the author or the editor put in the wrong word, like mixing up "vertical" and "horizontal" in one fight scene. The weapons used in the story were just weirdly described, like the plasma guns that only make sense if they are sending out really slow little blobs of plasma, or the things repeatedly described as "mortars" that seem to act like rocket launchers. Then there's the whole "armalite" thing, where you're supposed to know from the use of a company brand name what the heck the weapon is. I'll bet the Armalite company isn't all that thrilled to have their trademark used as a common noun in a book, either. There is also the question, never explained, of why corporations on Mars have trained a huge cadre of teenaged Samurai/Viking-themed warriors, and given them this whole "victory or death" life philosophy. One last gripe is that, like some other recent SF novels, nanotechnology is indistinguishable from magic, and can do anything the author wants, without need for things like resources or energy.
Once you accept ALL of these things, the story itself is exciting and interesting. The characters do not act their age, which is why making them teens was kind of weird. The baddies were truly disgusting, and the relative good guys were interesting.
The Seven Samurai thing was a little too blatant, though. Even the recruitment scenes were familiar to anyone who has seen that, or Magnificent Seven, or even Battle Beyond the Stars. So, yes, the story has been done as SF before.

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