A slight confession - Grin with cat attached — LiveJournal
|A slight confession||Jul. 1st, 2006 04:33 pm|
Not *all* of my sleep trouble recently has been down to the heat. Neal Asher has a certain degree of blame to accept, too. Having read his "Gridlinked" recently (drawn in by a sense of perversity, being given the impression by the cover art, title and synopsis that I was in for some real quality pulp) and found it to be extremely good sci-fi, I again found myself browsing my bookshelves for something "light and accessible". Well, Asher's Polity novels are very accessible, and extremely readable, but "light" is probably not so accurate a term. And they don't let go; Line of Polity is 650 pages but I found myself very hard pressed to stop turning them. The books' strength, I think, lies in Asher's ability to sustain suspense and mystery; in a universe of AIs, FTL travel, "runcibles", forbidden tech, and the odd (and I do mean odd) immense and/or inscrutable alien entity, you can never be sure quite what's meant or what will happen next - and yet this doesn't cause confusion so much as fascination. Most books can have entrap you in the "one more page" trick 10 pages from the end; this one caught me half-way though, and I found myself closing the book to gauge just how far I'd got to go.|
One thing I like about reading books by new (to me) authors is you don't know their rules yet. Do all their "leading" characters survive to live happily ever after, or are they actually happy to slice&dice them in the name of unpredictability? Do they succumb to the lure of the Deus Ex Machina; if so are they any good at it?
So far Stross, MacLeod, and Asher, from each of whose work I've read at most 3 books, stand out the most strongly as excellent "new" authors with fascinating pet universes; I hope they can continue to do so. (Stross I know is somewhat bored of his Eschaton universe, despite its immense promise; Asher could quite easily overdo the appearance of one Entity in upcoming books, and MacLeod appears to have killed most of his protagonists.)
(As a side thought, the three authors listed above join Asimov in generally equating religion to the status of delusional anachronism in their work)