A few book notes

Just briefly:

:: Cetaganda is the next book up (for me) in Lois McMaster Bujold’s ongoing saga of the adventures of Miles Vorkosigan, and as usual, a fine book indeed, full of politics and intrigue and adventure as our Miles gets embroiled in the internal politics of the Cetagandan Empire, and drags his poor best friend, Ivan Vorpatril, along for the ride. I really enjoy these. I can’t really say a whole lot more than that — these books are just good, character-driven entertainment. At this point in the series, Miles is still pretty young and inexperienced, so it’s fun seeing him gain in those areas.

:: Jack Campbell’s The Lost Fleet series is, apparently, full-throttle military science fiction, following Captain John “Black Jack” Geary as he takes command of the fleet in a failing war effort and vows to bring it home. Trouble is, Geary was recently resuscitated after spending a hundred years in hibernation after completing a battle victory that has made him a legend. Thus he has to deal with the fact that his own officers treat him with worshipful reverence, which strains his relationships and fills him with dread for how morale will suffer when they realize that their hero is as human as they are.

The first book in this series, Dauntless, starts with a huge BANG, and the pacing rarely drops after the third or fourth page. Military SF doesn’t always ring my bell, but this book was terrific. I can’t wait to read more of this series!

:: Praise seems to be uniformly good to great for John Scalzi’s Redshirts, which is why I hesitate to report that I just didn’t like it. I must qualify that, however: Scalzi’s skill with characterizations and for keeping the pot boiling is still in evidence, so ultimately, I think that my reaction to this book is less a reaction to any deficiency in the execution and just that, well, this type of story just isn’t my cup of tea. Redshirts is a very meta kind of tale, meditating on the oft-cited (and equally oft-mocked) way that the poor guys in red shirts on Star Trek almost always met awful ends. Redshirts is even more ‘meta’ than Galaxy Quest, believe it or not. If you like that sort of thing, then this book will probably be up your alley. I’m not a big ‘meta-fiction’ fan, so this book just didn’t do much for me, alas.

It’s not you, Mr. Scalzi. It’s me. But I’ll keep reading your stuff!

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