Friday, June 30, 2006

Consequences by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Consequences is the third novel in the Retrieval Artist series and, like its predecessors, is a cross between light speculative fiction and a police procedural thriller.

The plot of this novel centers around a murder investigation in the Moon colony of Armstrong and the connections between the murder and an escalating political crisis.

The novel, though well-written and a fast read, is at times weak in its character and future-world believability. This is most noticeable with the Retrieval Artist character Miles Flint, who Rusch imbues with such overwhelming computer skills that he is able to bypass any security or firewall so as to advance the plot.

Despite the reservations, the novel is more fun than it is contrived, so I would recommend Consequences to fans of the Retrieval Artist series and readers interested in a fast SF thriller.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Extremes by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Extremes is the sequel to Rusch's The Disappeared. Like the original novel, the sequel blends speculative fiction with a police procedural, detective storyline.

However, unlike the first Retrieval Artist novel, there are no aliens; the events and plot are tightly contained around an all human cast and a murder investigation at the annual Moon Marathon.

Overall, the novel is weaker than The Disappeared: the lack of aliens and inter-species cultural conflict bleed the speculative world of some of the verisimilitude Rusch crafted in the introductory novel, and Miles and some of the other characters seem a little too contrived.

Still, as with all Rusch novels, the writing is so good that it is transparent and the experience of reading her prose is light and relaxing. So, I would recommend Extremes to dedicated Rusch fans or those readers interested in a fast, well-written but at times contrived speculative novel.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

My Name Is Frank

This column was inspired by true events and the NBC television show "My Name Is Earl", and is about being delayed at the airport and the powerful influence of karma.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Disappeared is a very good speculative fiction novel that blends nicely with a traditional police procedural, detective storyline.

The plot is tight and fun, and the characters are well-drawn and interesting. And while the book doesn't extend into hard SF, the science that's there supports the story enough such that the extrapolated future feels very real and believable.

I definitely recommend The Disappeared.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Old Man's War by John Scalzi

Old Man's War is an engaging, fun military SF novel, in the tradition of Heinlein and Haldeman.

With moments of great action, believable characters, well-reasoned physics, and moral complexity, the text provides an excellent and fresh perspective of a classic SF sub-genre.