I’ve decided that, “My science fiction is pasted on, yay!” stories make me cranky. These are stories that could just have easily have been set in early 21st century Earth, but are instead plopped onto another planet, or a ship or station in space. The mechanisms of travel between stars aren’t even hand-waved, they’re just not mentioned at all. The aliens are Obscure, or are referred to as “human.”
Renata Ghali is a complex character, and even I was taken in by Sung Suh’s mild manner, but that doesn’t make this story any less an episode of Hoarders set in a town so small it’s boggling that no one could have known about a community leaders/home-builders problem for over twenty years.
Yes, buried secrets (literally). Stress. A mysterious alien artifact. But all that leads up to one of those obscure endings that leaves you not satisfied, but scratching your head wondering how to interpret exactly what happened.
2015’s Cloud Atlas: a somewhat offbeat tour-de-force whose character motivations ultimately strain credulity just a bit. Every time someone went into the three – body game, I wanted to skip over those parts. I didn’t see the appeal of the Trisolaran culture as depicted in the game. In fact, I found it repugnant. So I couldn’t really understand its appeal to the characters.
A lot of this book relied on tell-don’t-show, flashback, and pure info dump to get the entire story told in a reasonable length.
The Chinese cultural setting is the most interesting and refreshing part of the book. Well, that and the living computer circuit scene.
spoilers – A typical KSR tour de force, with melodious and long-winded digressions into science, engineering, philosophy, sociology, and most particularly of course, geology and meteorology. But ultimately this is a depressing novel and when you finally realize what the main pessimistic message of it is you wonder why he bothered writing those voluminous poetic descriptions of Tau Ceti and interstellar space at all.
I should have known that was coming when the protagonists left with the backers. I wanted so much to stay narratively with the stayers. I read the story to go into space, not to be told to stay home.
There is a good message about preserving the Earth and protecting it but it doesn’t have to be told at the expense of dreaming about the stars.
Novel 5 of the Expanse Series is not about the alien planets on the other side of the rings. Or only indirectly. It’s about our solar system and its politics, again. The gang of four is separated on their individual shore leave sorties. This book should suck by every measure of The Expanse series I have. Except it totally does not suck. It is non-stop, edge of your crash-couch action. Strap in and hang on!
The ending is a little anti-climactic, but I suspect that’s because the authors wanted to introduce a villain and complication to solar system politics they can carry on with in the subsequent books.
Plus, several fan favorite characters return, because of the Awesome.