Saturday, January 16, 2010

A few days ago I finished Heavy Time by C.J. Cherryh.

It's set in the same universe as Rimrunners, but in a very different time and place. This one is set in our solar system and involves miners working on asteroids. It starts with a distress call that two miners answer hoping for salvage and instead find one person still alive. That person is very damaged - not only physically, but mentally out of whack after having spent months trying to survive. The rest of the book follows the miners as they return to base, try to claim there salvage, and deal with the oppressive company that runs the mining operations and has secrets to protect.

It was more enjoyable than Rimrunners, though the point of view of the disturbed character gets old after a while. He slowly recovers, but the emphasis is on slowly.

Cherryh's approach is interesting, because she keeps things at a very low level and therefore her plots are more intimate and cover less ground than many SF works. I will probably keep reading these books, since they make good stand alone SF novels as well as contributing to a nicely varied and deep background universe.

Monday, January 11, 2010

This morning I finished Personal Injuries by Scott Turow.

Another excellent book from Turow. While technically in the legal thriller genre, Turow's characters are so real that they elevate his works well beyond that genre. His plots are also a stand out, avoiding the cliches and action packed finales that show up in a lot of genre writing.

This one involves the efforts of a DA to bring down a number of crooked judges in Kindle County, the setting of all Turow's books. In an unexpected choice, the protagonist is actually the defense attorney of the lawyer who is pushed into being an informant. He is almost totally passive in the book, serving almost exclusively as a conduit to tell others story, mainly that of the informant and the FBI agent that has to shadow him as he tries to get the crooked judges and civil servants to expose themselves on tape.

In addition to being a great read with some wonderful, complex characters, it also serves as a procedural for how complex investigations can play out, with interesting but believable twists and turns along the way.