Tuesday, June 29, 2010


So I'm really enjoying Alastair Reynolds' REVELATION SPACE trilogy. I'm nearly done with the second book, REDEMPTION ARK and I'm very impressed with Reynolds' writing skills. The far future backdrop has a lot of scope to it and feels very credible to me, and I enjoy his characterizations.

Reynolds seems to stay away from the heavier emotions. Neither sex nor romance play much part in his characterizations - often times they're part of a particular individual's history, or a couple of characters may already have an established relationship - but Reynolds seems to have no interest in that soap opera staple, the romantic arc. Still, I like his characters enough that I don't feel they need that added level of intensity.

I am, however, completely disenchanted with one particular aspect of the Clavain/Felka interaction - this whole "is she or isn't she his daughter" mystery is just nonsense. This whole thing takes place 600 years in the future; technology has made HUGE advances, and both Clavain and Felka are Conjoiners - members of a cybernetically advanced human faction very similar to Star Trek's Borg. And we're supposed to accept that in three hundred years of wondering, Clavain has never had a fucking paternity test run? Please.

Other than that, though, I like the story a lot.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The critics speak!

One of them, anyway. I hadn't even looked at the Amazon Kindle pages for my various e-novels in a long time, but today I swung by each and was astonished to see the following reader review, on TIME WATCH:

Don't waste your time on "Time Watch"., February 11, 2010
By Kelly Abney (Bentonville, AR USA) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Time Watch (Kindle Edition)
A single, one-dimensional, unlikeable character who makes his way through a nearly incoherent plot. The author attempts to create a futuristic "slang" language that is periodically used to further confuse the reader. Throw in a little cyber-sex with a computer avatar and you start to understand where this review is headed. If the author had even started to develop our time traveling hero's character and then added a few plot lines to expand the story's basic premise, the book's hypothesis might have been more interesting.

Interestingly, TIME WATCH is pretty much my top seller, as such things go, and among my novels, probably my second favorite. I like the shifting narrative viewpoint and the relatively simple central story/character arc, and enjoy the (hopefully) unexpected romance that shows up in the story's third act.

However, I can't argue with anything Ms./Mr. Abney has said here. Presumably, he/she bought the book and are entitled to their opinion, as as TIME WATCH's protagonist is pretty much me, I certainly can't dispute the 'unlikeable' tag. Christ knows I am. As to one dimensional, well, I guess that's the risk you run when you essentially write about yourself. I chose to focus more on the story elements than developing 'Jim' overly, probably because I know Jim well and presumed the story of Jim getting hold of a time machine was more interesting than Jim himself. Which certainly could have been a mistake.

I will say that it seems Ms./Mr. Abney (Kelly is an indeterminate name; I'm not trying to be disrespectful) has some kind of personal issue with sexual depictions in their science fiction, and, well, I guess that happens. Sorry you didn't enjoy it, sir/ma'am. Maybe you'd like ZAP FORCE better.