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Posts Tagged ‘The Space Opera Renaissance

‘The Well Wishers’ by Colin Greenland

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I’m afraid I’m going to have to spend some time on the introduction again.

The fiction of Ken MacLeod, noted space opera author, was not included in this anthology. He is, however, repeatedly quoted for his contributions to the August 2003 issue of Locus which was devoted to the New Space Opera. The editors here select a longish quote that begins: “Colin Greenland eased space opera’s limbs out of the contorted shape in which Harrison had left them, visibly drawing on him whilst lightening his tone, in Take Back Plenty.” If I have to tell you who Harrison is then you are reading the wrong blog (Hartwell and Cramer seem to subscribe to a similar view since they don’t bother to name him either). Anyway, MacLeod’s description sounds pretty reasonable to me and indeed the editors interview Greenland himself and quote him to identical effect. And yet they respond to the MacLeod quote thus:

This assertion entirely ignores the existence and evolution of American space opera between 1970 and 1990, much of which was either not reprinted in the UK or was not recognised as space opera, a continuing problem in clarifying the tradition… [Take Back Plenty] made much less impact in the US because there was so much popular space opera available in the 1980s and 1990s.

Wow! There is much to unpack here but let’s start with the direct connection: MacLeod does not ignore American space opera, rather it is irrelevant to his point. As the editors themselves show immediately after saying this, Greenland was working firmly in the nascent British tradition and of which he describes M John Harrison’s The Centauri Device as the “exemplary work”. Hartwell and Cramer are reacting – overreacting – to some perceived slight on their nationhood that simply doesn’t exist.

But let’s move on to their factual claims about American space opera. The third section of The Space Opera Renaissance is entitled “Transitions/Redefiners [Late 1970s To Late 1980s]” and notionally covers half the period of evolution they are talking about (the other half truly is ignored because Hartwell and Cramer don’t include a single story from the Seventies in their anthology – those in glass houses, etc, etc). This section contains only four stories, one of which is by Iain M Banks who was known to Greenland but not a direct influence. The remaining three stories are by American writers but only one is actually published in the relevant time period: David Drake’s story was published in 1986 whereas Lois McMaster Bujold’s story was published in 1990 (the same year as Take Back Plenty) and David Brin’s story most of a decade later in 1999. So in defence of their nonsensical assertion of MacLeod’s ignorance, the editors can only muster a solitary story and it goes without it isn’t bloody space opera.

Which brings us to the next issue, that lovely little phrase “not recognised as space opera” which, we are piously told, is “a continuing problem in clarifying the tradition”. The clear implication is that the inhabitants of Britain, including award-winning space opera novelists like MacLeod, couldn’t tell space opera if it slapped them in the face. No such doubt seems to have troubled the editors despite the fact they allow the passive voice to elide the fact they don’t have a counter-argument.

For completeness’s sake, let me address the final point. As we’ve just discussed at length, it is not at all obvious on the evidence provided that there was a surfeit of US space opera in the Eighties. I accept there was much more in the Nineties but that is hardly relevant since it postdates the publication of Take Back Plenty in 1990. Even if America was groaning at the seams with space opera before Take Back Plenty appeared, would that automatically account for its impact? I can’t see any logical reason why it would. Perhaps a more plausible explanation would be the lack of Transatlantic publishing synchronisation that the editors refer to and that I discuss here since my understanding is that Take Back Plenty wasn’t published until two years after its original UK publication. (As an aside, check out that cover depicting the protagonist of the novel – she is actually black and I’m pretty sure she’d never a wear a catsuit quite that shiny.)

Towards the end of their main introduction to the book, the editors unhelpfully compress the Eighties and Nineties into virtually a single paragraph before concluding: “Together such works formed not one cutting edge but many.” This is a pretty big cop out, casually abrogating the duty of critic and historian to trace the connections. After all, Hartwell and Cramer keep telling us that there was little interchange between the two countries that have produced the majority of the works under discussion. Given this, it seems only sensible to conclude that there were, in fact two separate national traditions during most of this period (traditions that I would suggest only started to merge in the third wave of space opera flowered into the 21st Century, much later than the editors would have it). Indeed Greenland’s comments in this introduction set out the causal chain of the British tradition very clearly:

1) A single revolutionary text – M John Harrison’s The Centauri Device (1974).
2) A pair of apostles who produced a quite influential series (Colin Greenland (1990-1998)) and a hugely influential series (Iain M Banks (1987-)).
3) A mature and rehabilitated subgenre that produced Britain’s current bestselling SF novelists – Peter F Hamilton (1996-) and Alastair Reynolds (2000-) – as well as countless others.

(All dates given are for novel length space opera publication rather than active career.)

Hartwell and Cramer fumble this progression both in their critical comments and in the structure of the anthology but the picture does at least emerge. The same cannot be said for the US tradition. There is no such direct chain (although it is fun to imagine a counter-factual world where Samuel Delany’s Nova (1968) became a similarly revolutionary text) and the editors are far more concerned with how US editors used the term than what US writers actually produced. The result is a jump straight from the original space opera to the new space opera with no discussion of how the work (rather than the word) evolved. I would guess that the Greenland/Banks stage is filled in the US by the emergence of CJ Cherryh and David Brin at the beginning of the Eighties but you wouldn’t know it from the anthology (and Cherryh’s fiction isn’t included). It is strange that the editors are so quick to rebut claims about the character of new space opera whilst being so reticent in exploring its roots. To take another example, nor to they make much of the undoubted (and international) influence of visual space opera during this period, particularly the debuts of Star Trek (1966), Star Wars (1977) and Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). There is clearly a history to be written of the evolution of space opera but you won’t find it here. This wouldn’t be a fatal weakness for an anthology if not for the fact the book is so clearly intended to be definitive.

I feel a bit sorry for Colin Greenland because my thoughts on his story are inevitably going to be somewhat buried by my preamble. I’m sure he’ll get over it though. ‘The Well Wishers’ makes a compelling contrast to ‘Escape Route’, Hamilton’s story in the anthology, as do the two protagonists. Captain Marcus Calvert is an old-fashioned WASPy space hero who believes his glorified white van is the herald of free enterprise. Captain Tabitha Jute, on the other hand, knows she is just a errand girl: “Tabitha checked an impulse to kick her. She had lost a job once before, for refusing to be treated like dirt.”(p. 354) Her life is resolutely and hearteningly unheroic:

Captain Jute slept again, woke, ate, bathed at great length in real water, got drunk, watched some porn, called reception, called the ship. (p. 357)

Jute is one of the great space opera captains, perhaps the greatest, but this is a short story anthology so we face the recurring problem that there only being room for an aria. She briefly takes to the air in this story but her wings are soon clipped. The plot sees her implicated in a crime but there is never any suggestion this will stick so really she is just hanging around. Refreshing but not exactly operatic. Still, the cops are blue-faced space dogs so that’s got to count for something, right?

Quality: ****
OOO: ***

Written by Martin

15 January 2013 at 20:10

‘The Death Of Captain Future’ by Allen Steele

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A very odd story, this. ‘The Death Of Captain Future’ is dedicated to Edmond Hamilton (who opened the anthology) and is a sort of tribute to his Captain Future stories. In the introduction, Steele is quoted as taking pains to point out it isn’t a lampoon or a parody but rather an exploration of “what a ’90s version of an SF pulp hero would look like”. The answer turns out to be a mentally ill, physically grotesque fantasist. Hence “sort of” tribute.

Bo McKinnon is a rich idiot who gets his stepfather to buy him a spaceship. Cosseted by this wealth, he comes to believe that he actually is Captain Future, the shining cover star of the priceless pulp magazines he collects. Our protagonist, who has unwillingly signed on as Second Mate, has a rather different perspective on the man: “Squat and obese, he filled the chair like a half-ton of lard… There were old food stains on the front of his worn-out sweatshirt and dark marks of his crotch… he smelled like a fart… a butt-ugly, foul-looking son of a whore… He had little respect for personal hygiene and fewer social graces.” There is no empathy or sympathy in the story at all; Steele makes McKinnon the butt of an unpleasant joke and I can’t work out why. The story concludes with McKinnon catching space plague which gives him space madness (tragic) on top of his existing madness (comic), our protagonist sends him to his death in a way that saves Mars from catastrophe and ensures he actually does become a hero. The legend of Captain Future lives on.

How does this meet Steele’s stated aim of producing “a pulp-fiction story for the 90s, one that reflected upon the classic space-op of the past while, at the same time, reworking it for the present”? I can’t find any reflection in this nasty little story and perhaps the only way in which it sticks to the pulp brief is in its treatment of women. The only female character is a beautiful, intelligent, highly competent woman. Obviously, she used to be a prostitute. She once propositioned McKinnon in a bar and he turned out to be her white knight, declining sex and instead installing her as his First Officer. He has been the perfect gentleman and showed no sexual interest but “if he ever asked, I’d do so without a second thought. I owe him that little.” Obviously, our protagonist fancies her; obviously squared, he gets her in the end (he just needed to kill her employer and saviour).

The true punchline to the story is that ‘The Death Of Captain Future’ won the 1996 Hugo Award for Best Novella and was shortlisted for the Nebula. In-jokes, warmed over nostalgia, bluntly bad prose and unexamined sexism are always a winning combination.

So, not a good story. I’d also quibble about whether it is space opera, rather than being the sort of near-space hard SF which Steele made his name with and never leaves the Solar System. The author himself describes space opera as “the adventure-oriented category of hard SF” which seems to be a fundamental mistake. Space opera is not a category of hard SF; it can come in any flavour of hardness from Alastair Reynolds to Star Wars and is defined by its scale and sweep. Having a spaceship in your story is not enough. Steele’s definition does, however, explain the constant slurry of exposition.

Quality: *
OOO: *

Hartwell and Cramer Political Commentary Watch: “his fiction has been called “working-class hard SF,” because of his regular choice of ordinary people as characters, and because of his generally left-leaning politics.”

Written by Martin

13 January 2013 at 13:39

‘Ring Rats’ by R Garcia y Robertson

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So we move from puppy loves to a 13 year old hitchhiker sucking off a space trucker. The tonal shift from Asaro’s story is presumably intentional but it is still jarring. ‘Ring Rats’ has a veneer of grimness rather than realism, however, and this ludicruous story of white slavery actually shares some of the same properties as ‘Aurora In Four Voices’. Namely, action crap, idiot plotting and unbridled escapism. I mean white slavery? Seriously?

Quality: *
OOO: **

I promised myself I’d ignore Hartwell and Cramer’s chopshop intros but I can’t help quoting the vital information they opening their piece with: “He’s one of the few SF writers who does not thus far own a computer.”

Written by Martin

10 January 2013 at 15:57

‘Aurora In Four Voices’ by Catherine Asaro

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I’d never read Catherine Asaro before but was aware of her unique selling point: the fusion of hard SF and romance. Two great flavours that taste great together! Or perhaps not.

‘Aurora In Four Voices’ is indeed the worst of both worlds. So, on the one hand, we have hard SF gravel like this (which takes place during what is notionaly a frantic escape):

“That’s why consoles transmit infrared signals.” Her face had an inwardly directed quality, as if she were running a canned routine to answer him while she focuses her attention elsewhere. “The sockets act as IR receivers and transitters. Bio-optic threads in my body carry signals to the computer node in my spine. It processes the data and either responds or contacts my brain. Bio-electrodes in my neurons translate its binary into thought: 1 makes the neuron fire and 0 does nothing. It works in reverse too, so I can ‘talk’ to my spinal node.”

And, on the other, we have romance cliche like this: “Jato hardly heard her. All he saw was her smile. It dazzled.” The object of his awe – a colonel in the intelligence service of an interstellar navy – is equally bedazzled: “Jato, I’m terrible at this. Ask me to clculate engine efficiency, plot a course, plan strategy – I’m a whiz… Put me in front of a handsome man and I’m as clumsy as a pole in a pot.”

Impressively, Asaro sometimes manages to deploy both simultaneously:

He tilted his head towards the courtyard. “Do you remember the design in the tiles back there? The curving lines?” When she nodded, he said, “It’s a plot of the vorticies for a single-degree oscillator with an undamped torsional flutter. “He stroked her blowing curls back from her face.

The story itself is simple: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love at first sight, girl rescues boy from supervillian. However, this doesn’t do justice to the sheer madness of the plot so I’d like to go into it in a bit of detail. An illiterate adolescent farmer who apparently can’t operate a voice-operated computer saves his pennies and travels to the planet of the Dreamers hoping to trade one of his dreams for one of their immensely valuable works of art. Instead, the galaxy’s greatest artist takes a shine to him and frames him for a non-existent murder with the complicity of the upper eschelons of Dreamer society. He becomes an unwilling muse, imprisoned and tortured for the next eight years. Our farmer does have some freedom, however, and during this period finds time to compose a fugue to be played on four “spherical-harmonic harps”, invent a new form of musical notation based on the angles of carved facets and then etches these onto a sculpture of a bird he has carved from black marble which he quarried (he still can’t use a voice-operated computer though). Perhaps you are ahead of me but this is instantly recognised by everyone (except the protagonist) as one of the greatest works of art the universe has ever seen. The passing colonel finds his innocence equally recognisable (maybe it is his smile) and there follows some knockabout action crap before they fly off into the sunset together.

Anything positive to say? Well, it is definitely space opera. In fact, with its implausibly monumental architecture and grotesquely overblown antagonist, it resembles late – which is to say bad – Banks.

Quality: *
OOO: ****

During their introduction, Hartwell and Cramer state (pretty much apropos of nothing) that: “One of the boundaries that US space opera is pushing is feminism and the role of women. British space opera has not been notably feminist.” Obviously, no evidence is provided and you are unlikely to find any in Asaro’s story either.

Written by Martin

8 January 2013 at 11:07

‘Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington’ by David Weber

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It makes a sort of sense to follow Peter F Hamilton with David Weber, purveyor of what the editors describe as “the kind of space opera UK readers love to hate”. In other respects, its inclusion is questionable.

Firstly, it isn’t very good. It is even longer and duller than the Hamilton and never aspires to be more than functional; pure Extruded MilSF Product. Secondly, whilst the Venn diagram of space opera and military SF overlaps, this does clearly fall into the latter camp. It is, after all, Hornblower in space (a fact made even more explicit than usual here).

Finally, although we know by now that lack of quality or relevence is no impediment to inclusion, I would have thought the fact this story is so similar to the superior ‘Weatherman’ by would have given the editors pause for thought. Both are prequel stories that see an exceptional military student face the challenges of life outside the academy in their first post. For Miles Vorkosigan, it reveals his character for the reader; for Honor Harrington, it simply confirms for the reader that she is made of awesome. To hammer this home, she is also physically perfect and has a magic cat.

Quality: *
OOO: **

Written by Martin

7 January 2013 at 10:11

‘Escape Route’ by Peter F Hamilton

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Returning to The Space Opera Renaissance after some time away (a mere three months this time) is to be struck anew by the poverty of the introduction Hartwell and Cramer have burdened the stories in their anthology with. The introduction to Peter F Hamilton’s ‘Escape Route’ makes a good case study so I’ll go through it in some detail. See if you can spot a unifying thread running through.

The first paragraph is, sensibly enough, an encyclopaedia style précis of Hamilton’s career. The second paragraph begins: “Hamilton’s universe is not a hard SF construct: Dead souls come back to threaten the living, and take possession of living people.” This is both terrible writing (the repetition of ‘living’, the nonsense of ‘dead souls’) and terrible criticism: which of Hamilton’s fiction universes are they referring to? The editors have mentioned several in the first paragraph but you need to be familiar with the Night’s Dawn trilogy to realise they are referring to the Confederation universe where (unmentioned) this story is set. (I’ve no idea why the editors are playing the hard SF game but since they are I will note that ‘Escape route’ is much more of a hard SF story than the majority collected in The Ascent Of Wonder.) The rest of the paragraph is given over to a quote from Hamilton (sloppily identified as “late-1990s Locus”) than unconvincingly discusses the ways in which the trilogy is not militaristic. Again, the relevance is unclear.

The third paragraph is a discussion of Hamilton’s politics which surprisingly concludes: “It seems to us as if Hamilton is essentially nearly apolitical.” There is plenty of scope to quibble over whether it is even possible to be an apolitical writer or whether to be so is actually to simply embed unexamined political assumptions. Regardless of that, however, the editors have just quoted Hamilton describing Mindstar Rising, his debut novel, thus: “I had the socialists as the bad guys, purely because of plot.” Let’s permit ourselves a chuckle at “purely because of plot”, as if this was an externality imposed on him, and quickly move on to scratching our heads at Hartwell and Cramer’s final pronouncement. I’m not sure how a novel who deliberately hinges the denouement of his debut novel on the question of infrastructure nationalisation can be described as apolitical.

The fourth paragraph then sidesteps into another irrelevant quote from Hamilton in which he describes a childhood passion for EE “Doc” Smith. The fifth paragraph sees the editors abdicating responsibility to a fellow editor, Gardner Dozois, quoting from one of his editorials before blandly concluding: “We generally agree with his perception in that regard.” Oh really? I wondered why you’d just quoted him!

The sixth and final paragraph is simply synopsis. Taken as a whole, the introduction is shabby and incoherent and I can’t work out what Hartwell and Cramer are trying to achieve. This is neither curation or criticism and it certainly isn’t the work of supposedly world class editors. The Space Opera Renaissance is severely weakened by these interventions.

So on to the story then. ‘Escape Route’ is pure space opera (not exactly ‘new’ but new enough) that is distinctively Hamiltonian in two respects: its length and its conservatism. Marcus Calvert is the embodiment of entrepreneurship, rugged individualism and aspirational capitalism. He is, essentially, a man-with-a-van but this always seems more exciting and romantic in space where Culvert’s battles with red tape can be set against the backdrop of the stars. He is offered a job by Antonio Ribeiro, Eurotrash (boo) and covert revolutionary (double boo). After five pages of um-ing and ah-ing, Calvert accepts and jets off in his white van for a spot of interstellar mining (another page is spent describing this take off).

Calvert is hoping to find gold, Ribeiro is hoping to find uranium but what they actually find are the remains of an alien spaceship. This spaceship contains working anti-gravity, universal replicators and even a time machine; in other words, discovering this relic makes crew and client the richest people in the universe. But Calvert clashes with Ribeiro (who planned to blackmail the corporation that owns the asteroid he comes from into granting independence) and, in the evitable showdown, clumsily destroys the spaceship in his haste to escape. This destruction of the single greatest discovery in human history causes Calvert to breathe a sigh of relief because it would have meant changes to the existing economic order. Clearly he fears social revolution as much as political revolution. It is a view he shares with Hamilton and one that is heavily present in the Night’s Dawn trilogy. ‘Escape Route’ encapsulates the fact that the Confederation is the anti-Culture: a series that will go to any lengths to escape from post-scarcity into the comforting embrace of capitalism.

Quality: **
OOO: ****

Written by Martin

4 January 2013 at 10:39

‘A Gift From The Culture’ by Iain M Banks

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Banks is the UK version of Lois McMaster Bujold: massively critically and commercially successful in their own country and the definitive space opera writer of the period but nowhere near as well known on the other side of the Atlantic. Like Bujold, he also hasn’t write very much short fiction. Despite the Culture universe being the single most influential setting in British science fiction for over twenty years, this is one of only two Culture stories he has written (the other being the titular novella from his single collection, The State Of The Art). And ‘A Gift From The Culture’ isn’t even set in the Culture; like his debut SF novel, Consider Phlebas, it depicts it from outside.

In this section of the anthology, H&C go to considerable lengths to set up and then knock down a US/UK divide. To this end they even drag out an irrelevent quote from “New Space Opera writer” M John Harrison (whose fiction doesn’t actually appear, obvious). I’m not sure why they got the bit between there teeth – misplaced national pride in response to perceived misplaced national pride? – but it isn’t a very profitable avenue of thought. That said, Wrobik, the narrator of this story makes a stark contrast to Miles Vorkosigan: she is a pathetic, self-deluding addict who commits mass-murder as the easy way out of the decision she’s found herself in. It certainly sets the tone for the Culture novels but doesn’t really add anything to them.

Quality: **
OOO: *

Written by Martin

20 September 2012 at 11:09

‘Weatherman’ by Lois McMaster Bujold

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I have never read anything by Bojold before. This is worth mentioning because she is perhaps the single most popular American science fiction author of the last twenty years. H&C tell us that “She is the only writer in SF to have won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, as many as Robert A Heinlein, the previous record holder.” Unpack that sentence if you can. However, she has only been published erratically on this side of the Atlantic and her body of work, including the Miles Vorkosigan series, is commensurately less well known.

This is the enjoyable adventure of an exceptional individual. If I had one of those new-fangled Kindles I might well have downloaded another installment as it makes a good accompaniment to lying on one’s back in the south of France. I imagine Bujold could write this stuff for ever.

Quality: ***
Operacity: **

In their introduction, H&C come straight out with the unavoidable problem which dogs this section of the anthology: “’Weatherman’ is one of her few short stories. It is the planetary romance variety of space opera, a long episode within a larger space opera framework of interstellar war, with a hard SF attitude.” I guess the analogy is trying to put together an epic fantasy anthology and finding only a small sample of sword and sorcery tales available from the key figures.

Written by Martin

19 September 2012 at 06:38

‘Ranks Of Bronze’ by David Drake

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Can you set a space opera entirely within a sword and sandal Roman legion battle? No, obviously not. In an inversion of the previous story, here we have a story that is the genesis of a space opera novel but not itself space opera. For some reason, science fiction writers love Rome (although they have little interest in Italy) and here Drake provides a conclusion for Horace’s ‘Roman Odes’ in which Crassus’s lost legion turn out to have been press-ganged by aliens to serve as inter-galactic mercenaries.

H&C make much of the fact that this all occurs in a vacuum. “This is military SF with the contemporary politics stripped off, and removed from the level of policy decisions… There is no access to those who make policy in Drake’s military fiction. All in all it is a fairly dark vision of human life.” This is completely wrong. ‘Ranks Of Bronze’ isn’t dark at all, a band of noble, decent Romans put the anonymously massed Johnny Otherworlder to the blade for their contemptible alien commander. Jettisoning “policy” means jettisoning any context or nuance; war is turned to sport.

Quality: **
Operacity: *

Written by Martin

18 September 2012 at 06:41

‘Temptation’ by David Brin

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Can you set a space opera entirely underwater? No, obviously not. ‘Temptation’ is an annex of a space opera megatext but not such a story in its own right. Brin started his Uplift series with Sundiver, his 1980 debut novel, but it was really with his subsequent novels in the universe (1983-1998) that it emerged as a key work of new space opera. This episode is from the Robert Silverberg’s 1999 anthology Far Horizons – “all new tales from the greatest worlds of science fiction” – which puts it substantially outside of the “late 1970s to late 1980s” period Hartwell & Cramer ascribe to it.

So this is a story within a story but it also contains several stories itself. We open with physician Makanee describing the alien world where she now lives. She is a dolphin, one of the races that humanity has uplifted to sapience, and is taking pastoral care of a pod of her fellows who are regressing back to their original nature due to trauma in space in the safe confines of a backwater planet. Then we have the twin narratives that seem to reveal the story’s plot: Peepoe has been kidnapped by a pair of semi-regressed males to be used as a sex-slave and Tkett is searching for her whilst, at the same time, investigating mysterious acoustic traces far below. Brin, it must be said, is not particularly sensitive to the issues of using rape as a plot point and simply attempts to shirk his responsibility:

Despite sharing the same culture, and a common ancestry as Earth mammals, dolphins and humans looked at many things differently. Peepoe felt more annoyed at being kidnapped than violated. More pissed off than traumatized.

This is symptomatic of an author that H&C describe, not unsympathetically, as being know for “optimism, showmanship, and unornamented prose.” Indeed, Peepoe’s first section begins with leaden cliche: “Captivity wasn’t as bad as she had feared. It was worse.”

But this enslavement turns out not to be the heart of the matter either – now comes the showmanship. Both Peepoe and Tkett discover mysterious acoustic traces far below the waves and follow them to a vast alien submarine containing myriad other species, including humans, locked into virtual reality dream worlds. This leviathan will then seed the local galaxy with these pioneers of brave new VR worlds: “It will be a galaxy run by special-effects wizards! A perpetual theme park, whose inhabitants use magical spells instead of engineering to get what they want.

It is a bizarre turn for the story to make until you realize that the whole point is to provide Brin with a platform for culture wars and really he just wants to have a pop at fantasy fiction. This is clearly voiced by the dolphin poetry that closes the story:

*What need for ersatz magic?
*Or for contrived Disney marvels?
*God and Ifni made a cosmos.
*Filled with wonders… let’s go live it!

Quality: **
Operacity: **

I’m not sure where H&C took their source text from but either it was a right state or multiple errors were introduced when it was typeset because it contains at least four embarrassingly glaring typos.

Written by Martin

17 September 2012 at 12:54