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Chance's Take on Books

I'm a novelist who loves to read and discuss all things word-bound.

Currently reading

Swann's Way
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis
Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style
Virginia Tufte
The Chicago Manual of Style
John Grossman, Margaret D. Mahan
I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive
Steve Earle
The Legend of T93 - Michael R. Herrman The elements for what is traditionally thought to be satisfying in a story are present in Legend of T93. The sci/fi genre has its own traditions--testosterone-rich war adventures where the hero is motivated by revenge, the girl is unattainable or dead (thus, the revenge), bad guys are really, very, very bad, the struggle is monumental, the goal obtained (sometimes not), and the hero is changed for the better--are all here. Legend of T93 reminds me of The Forever War, Starship Troopers, and Old Man's War---largely because it contains elements that I enjoy most in good sci/fi---social and political observation and commentary. Yes, folks--imaginative, thought-provoking, and outright thrilling action, all present here.

Political/social commentary in the novel can be gleaned from three pockets of civilization that develop after the US suffers nuclear devastation. Our hero and the major villain reside in a high-tech, invasive dictatorship based on 'merit' commerce. In another place, not too far away, a fanatical religious group survives using low-end technology, but boasts enough tactical savvy to surprise their technically superior foes, at least once. In the middle of these two extremes is a group knowledgeable in both plants and technology with a governing structure similar to engineering and labor forces. What is wonderful about this mix is the strength and weaknesses of each are explored, and ultimately, the outcome requires teamwork from citizens of each. I appreciated the complexity of this as compared to a Dark Star evil empire scenario.

The action never stops, and never bores, the yang energy dominates over token yin. I personally don't mind, but this is a modern guy's story where women are respected, if not entirely understood. Don't look for romance here, but you'll get plenty of heroism and courage and imaginative world-building in a grounded sci/fi way. The only criticism I'll mention is that I think the villain(s) could have been more complex. I like my villains gray. That's it--that and the end came too quickly. Most importantly, the writing, plotting, character development and dialogue are all well beyond the typical first novel. For all its strengths, I recommend Legend of T93.