Friday, May 14, 2010

Another unfinished book

Man, I am having the hardest time getting into a read these days. I started a science fiction novel earlier this week and ended up putting it down. Allen Steele's Coyote is the first of (at least) seven of novels about interstellar colonization. The opening is fun. It starts in the late 21st century when an authoritarian government rules what is left of the United States (New England and the West Coast have split off.) The government is a spoof of the angry white male forces that were growing in strength in the early Bush years. Said nasty government plans to colonize the stars but a rebellion steals the star ship, even sneaking on some dissidents to start anew.

This was all well and good, but there was a bit too much bloat in the writing for my taste. Many reviewers compare the book to Heinlein and Pournelle, which is apt. In that era of scifi, ideas counted more than writing, and that seems to be the case here. To be fair, this book is actually a collection of short stories, rather than a single work.

Reaction to these endless series is hard to judge. I love the overly wordy Malazan novels of Steven Erikson, but I completely understand why the books might put off some people. I might have been better served starting this book somewhere where I could give it more attention.

4 comments:

Citizen Reader said...

Tripp,
Don't you hate it when that happens? Mercifully weeks when I can't get into anything come and go and soon I find I'm interested in more books than I can finish. I hope you're back to finding all great reads soon!

Tripp said...

It makes me crazy! I also wonder if it is more the mood I am in than the books I am reading. Maybe I would like the book at a different time.

I am in the middle of Drew Gilpin Faust's Republic of Suffering, which I am enjoying, if that is the right word.

Citizen Reader said...

Yes, I think it's more personal mood than books too.

Have you seen Nathaniel Philbrick's new history, "Last Stand"? I don't know if you're a Philbrick fan but you seem to enjoy history, so I thought of you when I saw it.

Tripp said...

I do want to read that one, mostly because I liked his books In the Heart of the Sea and Sea of Glory.

While I don't mind dense historical writing in subjects about which I am deeply interested, I really appreciate how pop historians can expose you to new topics without making the read a chore. Philbrick is great at that.