Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Solar Queen Omnibus

  • The Sargasso of Space
  • Plague Ship

by Andre Norton

The first of the "Solar Queen stories" by Norton, I bought this book on the day she died, 3/27/2005. At fifty years old, these stories have a few antique SF features - but encapsulate a vision of a fully realized world. Trade, warring between free traders and corporate, and apprentice starting out in a career - these are a great piece of craftsmanship - an excellent work.

It is interesting to look at these 'Space Opera' stories in comparison to Star Trek. Norton created an interesting future with great episodic potential. Neither dystopia nor utopia there is an interesting future. Earth suffered a terrible war in the past - there is a remaining "big burn," a radioactive wasteland. There are huge powerful corporations who run space trade, and there are the small free traders. It is a remarkable series. Worth reading!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Pattern Recognition
William Gibson

This book had lots of interesting things: EVP, Apophenia, Curta calculators, Russian Mafioso, the world run by advertisers and the anguish of loss from 9/11. Gibson is nothing if not evocative, giving you a way to think about the present and the future. And look at the symbols and meaning of the past.


In the end I find these books, and the whole morass of cyberpunk and its milieu to have a tedious and depressing quality. It is cool to sketch out and show the high flying world of marketeers, and artistes and all ... but there is no there there. The books seem to be possessed of an urge to tell us something important, but mostly they are the maunderings of disaffected, disconnected loners.

The most vital thing in the book is Cayce and her longing for her father, and the memories she has of him. His lessons to her are what matter and what help her survive. The best thing that happens to her is the story being over and maybe having a normal life begin.

Enough - on to some good, classic SF from the late, great Andre Norton....