Sunday, January 14, 2007

I finished Coyote Risingby Allen Steele on Friday. This is the first sequel to Coyote. The first book was about the first settlers on Earth's first extra-solar colony. The 2nd is about their rebellion against the oppressive government that tries to extend Earth's socialist government to the new colony. I'm a fan of Steele's work, particularly his near space series. Both Coyote and Coyote Rising are as well written as his earlier works but they both suffer from one major problem - they are both basically stitched together collections of earlier published short stories. The result is a distinctly un-novel like lack of cohesion and character development. Instead of building throughout the novel, the parts feel like little vignettes. When I first read Coyote, this was affected my enjoyment of the book enough that I decided to try to avoid other books that did the same thing. I probably wouldn't have bought Coyote Rising if I had realized that it was based on earlier stories. In most books that are created this way, including Coyote, the earlier stories are listed on the copyright page. In Coyote Rising, they are not. While reading the book, it felt like the chapters were individual stories but because of the lacking copyright info, I speculated that maybe Steele had decided to deliberately parrot the feel of the first book. It wasn't until I read the acknowledgements at the end of the book that the previous publication of the stories was revealed. I still like Steele's writing enough to look at his future books but I will be more careful next time and do more research before buying.

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