Saturday, January 29, 2005

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams

Through, I downloaded the HHG2G on my thumb-sized muVo mp3 player - very good, and somehow appropriate having the Guide (well, a book about it, read by the author) on a portable electronic device. Made me wish for a Vogon space ship to hitchhike on. And kind of nice to be listening to this book at the same time the asteroid named for Douglas Adams was announced.

Fun to read, or listen to, this book really is unique. Not pure spoof, it really is quite a decent SF story, albeit a very lighthearted one. I think I'll get the next one for my next subscription.

Partner in Crime

J. A. Jance

This was an interesting book - Jance decided to connect her two detectives, Sheriff Brady and JP Beaumont. I don't exactly like all of the way it worked. The audio version I listened to was not the BN link above, but this one read by two actors, one male and one female, sharing the appropriate characters. That didn't work as well as the pair who do the Lois McMaster Bujold books. The oddest thing is that the books shift from first person (Beaumont) to third person (about Brady) back and forth. Kind of confusing. I think the abridged version might be a better choice.

Most interesting, and disturbing, is the information about sodium azide, used to kill the victim in the story. Scary stuff.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

City of Pearl

Karen Traviss

City of Pearl, the debut novel by Karen Traviss, is a magnificently complex story about alien societies struggling to coexist on a remote planet similar to Earth. When a small team of marines and researchers -- led by hard-nosed Environmental Hazard Enforcement officer Shan Frankland -- comes in search of a lost human colony, their discovery is both astonishing and potentially deadly.

This is "mainstream" book by Traviss - already nominated for a PKD award - shows amazing depth. The potency of her Star Wars effort was no accident; she's got a lot of great stories to tell, it seems clear. Very Eurocentric focus - and looking forward to an interesting eco-future. Re-reading it will be interesting, since a lot of the tension seemed to depend on revealing facts to the reader, ala the "Suppressed Briefing" the main character is working under [a briefing where facts are 'remembered' when and if needed, but not until]. And as others have said, I'd love to have a "Swiss" - the all things-tool Inspector Frankland uses.