Jun. 22nd, 2014

divisionsandprecisions: (dry)
Moving from novellas to "novelette"...

Militaristic space opera, fighting via remotely controlled androids. Hardly new, but reasonably well done. Rather than pure gung-ho belligerence, Brad Torgersen allows questions to be raised: Is the US's fictional militarization of space causing a new arms race rather than making the citizens safer? Are soldiers fighting for selfish reasons? Not so easy to define your characters well enough in 20 pages to let them have discussions like this without it feeling forced.
divisionsandprecisions: (dry)
Soulless magical elf spends a decade copying manuscripts in a Christian monastery to understand God. The story could have addressed some interesting questions, but doesn't. It doesn't move past arguments based on wordplay or "Why does God let bad things happen to good people?" Some questions that could have been brought in are silly (Does a creature need a soul when it is already immortal?) and some have obvious parallels in human history (exploring the attitudes of people toward those of other faiths). No story here, as no one reveals anything deep, no one learns anything or changes.

The oddness of putting explicitly Christian monks in a fantasy world with no thematic justification and no explanation in the context of the story may be a result of the publisher being an explicitly Christian publisher. The story seems to be a trivial copy of Michael Flynn's Eifelheim (about an alien in a monastery), a Hugo-nominated novel published by Tor (large publishers do not appear to have an antipathy toward explicitly Christian themes when the work is well written).
divisionsandprecisions: (dry)
Retired spaceman offered one last task that she won't return from. The essence is the same as Heinlein's "Green Hills of Earth" from 1947 (and untold thousands of stories before and after), though in this case the protagonist is a pilot and leaves behind a dying husband. Hitting heavily on the pathos of the decay of the sick elderly, crossing the line into rank attempted emotional manipulation. The entire story is predictable from the first page or so; it needs something unexpected, either to partially change the nature of the conflict or to bring it into sharper focus or to generalize it.

And what in the world kind of title is that? "Lady Astronaut" ??????


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