quizcustodiet: (drunk)
[personal profile] quizcustodiet
Hello all,

Our trip to India (which was amazing! Check out Shreena's pictures on Facebook) gave me lots of time to read things, so I have a recommendation and a WTF to share with you.

I really, really enjoyed The Red Knight. I think my favorite thing about it was the setting: it's fairly clearly based on Britain, but in a very different history where magic and Christianity coexist, and actual demons are waiting the other side of Hadrian's Wall. It also found a good balance for me between being realistic, with a range of characters from heroic to despicable, and not being overly depressing. I'm looking at you, George R. R. Martin.

A few of the reviewers on Good Reads felt that there were too many viewpoints and it slowed down the story: I thought that the author did a really good job of weaving them together. There are definitely some viewpoints I preferred, but I was happy to read all of them.

I picked up Triplanetary in Hay-on-Wye, because it was supposed to be the first of the Lensman series, and I'd heard good things about Smith. Looking at GoodReads suggests that it's the first chronologically, but not the first written, so maybe that explains some of it... because oh my God was it bad.

It starts off all right, with some back-story about two evil super-races. A slightly random pair of short stories follow, set in Rome and in America. Then we get on to the main story, and it all goes wrong. We start off with our square-jawed American hero finding his vital accessory, a swooning woman to admire him. Then we move on to an alien race who want iron: as a result of an unfortunate miscommunication, they take it from an entire human space fleet, including the haemoglobin in their blood. Oops.

Then our heros are taken captive, and go back to the alien planet. In the course of escaping, they kill an entire alien city with poison gas. The aliens, meanwhile, have returned to Earth and caused still more deaths in search of iron. Fortunately for humanity, our heros have somehow managed to acquire so much information about the alien technology that good old American know-how can come up with some even better in a mere couple of weeks. The American super-ship returns to the alien world, destroys yet another alien city...

And then they decide to call it even and have a peaceful settlement. Apparently, everyone can just let bygones be bygones, despite the vast casualties inflicted on both sides. W. T. F.

I do not think I'll be reading the rest of the series.
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November 2013

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