With the flood of science fiction stories coming out, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ferret out the good stuff buried in the new slush pile of easy publication.
I’m getting increasing cranky with authors writing stuff that I get fifty pages in, and I don’t care what happens. This has happened with both established and Indie authors recently…but more often with the self-publishers.
As an author myself, this scares me. I want my readers hanging on every word I write. So, what is the magic alchemy that keeps a reader turning pages long after they have vowed to quit in order to sleep, to eat, to breathe? To so enthrall a reader that he or she rubs reddened eyes and mumbles, “Okay, just one more chapter, then I’ll stop.”
Here’s an interesting blog by a reviewer who attempts to answer that question, and provide insight to any authors out there.
As both a series writer and reader, I recently picked up Cibola Burn by S.A. Corey (who we know is Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). I’ll have to admit the title rather put me off, but the cover was awesome. Besides, I liked the first three books in this intriguing space opera series.
I also had the usual issue of a newly released, traditionally published book in that it was available only in hardback at a high price of $27.00 or for an ebook at $12.99. Thank you not Hatchette Group.
Rant. Rant. Rant. Ahhh. Library solution.
For me, Cibola Burn is the best so far in the series. It’s sort of a Firefly meets Apocalypse Now.
The mysterious gate (Abaddon’s Gate) has opened up a vast new universe of empty worlds to human exploration. Made homeless by the destruction of Ceres, a shipload of desperate humans rush through the gate, searching for a place to settle. Life is like the wild west frontier, but they manage to eke out an existence on one of the brave new worlds. Then, word comes that the big corporations and governments are sending their ships with papers that contain deeds and property claims all tied up in pretty ribbons and fancy legalese to kick the current settlers off their land. Many on the ship are scientists coming to study the new world and send back reports.
The “squatters” revolt to protect their homes. A bomb meant to explode the landing pad accidentally kills a shuttleful of passengers, including the “new mayor.”
A fast trigger finger on the surviving security chief from the new ship retaliates and a feud between the original settlers and the new arrivals bursts forth. Familiar characters from the earlier series, James Holden and crew, are sent in by Earth diplomats to mediate the dispute.
Holden lands just in time to witness the security chief shoot the leader of the more violent settlers in the eye, igniting a blood feud.
As the conflict escalates, Holden is one of the few to look around the planet, notice alien artifacts of a long dead civilization and wonder what killed the former residents all off. A highly intelligent, amorous, female scientist provides him with disconcerting observations and ardent help, much to his discomfort.
The answer to his question is important. Amidst violence erupting from both sides, the humans suddenly realize that more is at stake then their own petty squabbles as the long buried and hibernating alien artifacts stir and awaken.
The taste of a Firefly episode lingers at the back of my mouth, which isn’t unpleasant. “No good deed goes unpunished” also reverberates throughout the story as Holden puts human life ahead of regulation and power grabs, while trying to do the “right thing.”
I found the solution for the panting, young scientist insulting, but it didn’t destroy the story for me. Although this book could stand alone, it is best enjoyed after reading the three previous novels. Still, I must say that I enjoyed the story and recommend it.
In this age of hard to find good science fiction, I keep stumbling over fantasy novels. And since Robin Hobb has come out with a new novel, Assassin’s Fool, that continues the Story of FitzChivalry and the Fool, I just had to read it.
I’ll give you my reactions on it next week.