SpeculativeFiction


Serenity

Let me begin by setting the stage a little, and telling you about me. There's not much about me that's relevant to a movie review, but because Serenity originated from a television series, this preface is necessary: I don't watch a lot of television.

Perhaps that doesn't get the point across. The last television series I followed regularly was Babylon 5, which ended in the last century. Cable news programs persisted until 2 years ago, but they also reached the end of my patience. So, in order for me to see a television series, it needs to be available on DVD, and it needs to have generated enough interest for me to have noticed... and then it needs to be good enough to deserve a permanent copy.

Firefly begin to show up on my radar screen by way of Claire Wolfe. Yes, that Claire -- the "Is it time to shoot them yet?" one. We're talking here about a television series, produced from the infamously-liberal mainsteam media, by a director who had just spent the past decade or so turning a blonde cheerleader into a vampire-slaying national obsession. And his next project is winning praise from Claire Wolfe?

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Thu Sep 29 15:07:23 CDT 2005 by Matthew. Comments

The Long Run

The second novel in the Tales of the Continuing Time series, TLR is a masterpiece of the science fiction genre that is difficult to summarize in a few paragraphs.  Moran has done some brilliant technological and political speculation set in the late 21st Century.  His characters are very real and alive, and the writing is rich and fast-paced.  TLR has the most cohesive plot of the three books in the series so far, and if you're a new reader, I actually recommend starting with it rather than Emerald Eyes.

TLR picks up seven years after the massacre of the Castanaveras genies, most of whom were telepaths.  Three children escaped and have been pursued by the UN Peaceforcers, but without success.  Trent lives in what used to be New York, dancing on the Infonet and pulling off heists just below the radar of the authorities.  His routine, if it could be called that, is interrupted by the arrival of Denice, who sparks off a chain of events that forces Trent to make his run.

On his way out of the clutches of the PKF, Trent will tangle with Elite cyborgs, hop spacecraft and space stations, crash on the moon, infiltrate a PKF base, and reach lunar orbit by the most unusual means - but he won't escape until he's made a daring opening move in striking back at the Unification.  Throughout all of this, we get hints at forces operating behind the scenes, and glimpses of things to come.  TLR stands on its own, but is very much a part of a larger tale.

Sun Sep 25 14:00:05 CDT 2005 by tsarren@infodancer.org. Comments

More new work from Steven Brust

Following the meltdown of Steven Brust's weblog (along with everything else on the server, such as the Dragaera mailing list), he's started up a livejournal.  Interesting notes: he's got a Firefly novel and a new Vlad novel (post-Dzur) in the works, plus a poker murder mystery.

Sat Sep 24 21:33:47 CDT 2005 by Matthew. Comments

The Sundering

    She's done it again.  A word of warning, though, to fans of the Kushiel series - this is a very different, and much darker, story.  In it, the seven Shapers made the world and all the races, but the First, Haomane, Lord of light and thought, quarreled with his brother, Satoris, the Third, Lord of passion and reproduction.  All the world was involved in the war, and it was sundered in two.  Satoris fled, terribly injured and burned by Haomane's sun, and now hides in a fortress cloaked in shadows, sure that his brother won't attack him directly while he holds the weapon Godslayer.  Haomane, determined to destroy his brother, has engaged in a campaign of lies and false prophecy that will spark the races to rise up in one last war against Satoris.
    This story feels like a slightly twisted retelling of Tolkein's Silmarillion, with that kind of vast scale and heartbreak.  Carey tells both sides, and somehow manages to lose none of the heroic spirit or faith in good and right, even when good and right aren't quite what they seem.
    It is, however, hard to read.  Not for any flaw in the writing, which is excellent, lyrical and epic, but because it hurts.  This story is emotionally draining in a way I haven't encountered outside of a Guy Kay novel.  It is beautiful, compelling and powerful, all at once, like Carey's previous series, but ten times more bittersweet, without the moments of true joy interspersed in the Kushiel series.
    The reader roots for both sides.  The bright, desperate, heroic army of Haomane's Allies, with their tragically pure faith that what they do is right, never seeing that they are being lied to about nearly everything they think they know.  The equally desperate and noble army of Satoris, and the folk who come to him, finding solace and a sense of belonging from a world that rejected and betrayed them as well as him.
    Carey strikes just the right balance between faith, fate and irony, with a deft touch and truly lovely, piercing writing.  As much as one comes to care for the characters, no one really wins in a story such as this - no one except the reader.

(Please note: reviewer's copy included both volumes, Banewreaker and Godslayer, so both are included in this review)

Wed Sep 21 17:48:51 CDT 2005 by storm2013. Comments



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