Wednesday, September 16, 2009


So a few years ago, I read a short story called "Grist" by Tony Daniel. It was incredible. Turns out, there was a novel based on it. Two novels. I kept an eye out for these books for a few years, until finally, I broke down and bought them on Amazon.

It was worth the wait... Kinda.

The first book is called "Metaplanetary", and it is absolutely excellent. It was exactly what I wanted (a continuation of the short story) and was just simply delicious. The characters are engaging, the science is very interesting, and about as understandable as one can hope from quantum physics.

Just superb from beginning to end.

The second book is titled "Superluminal", and is even better... until it stops.

It doesn't end. It stops.

Early in the book, a new character is introduced in a small, parallel plotline. This secondary plotline runs throughout the book, reaches a climax, and has a resolution. This climax and resolution is the end of the book. All of the other plotlines, the ones I cared about, and had been reading since Metaplanetary, don't get climaxes and ends. They get no resolution. They just stop. Its like the author got tired of writing the book that I was reading, and so wrote a short story instead, and then put that short story into the book, and called it a day.

Theoretically, the development in this secondary plotline does make the end result of all of the major conflicts a foregone conclusion. But, a fair amount of the earlier exposition in the book is written in the form of Memoirs which suggest that a lot of other things happen that haven't happened by the "end". In addition, all throughout the first and second book, everyone "in the know" is always talking about how a particular character is important, and about how they need to find this one person so that they can get him in gear, and win. Or something, I'm being deliberately vague. Essentially, they have a plan, it seems important, and the characters pursuit of this plan is the story that I cared about.

The little short story in Superluminal has pretty much nothing to do with that. Furthermore, it renders almost all of the struggles and efforts by the characters throughout both books almost completely meaningless.

But the worst part about it all, is that the story that I cared about, the story that was cut cruelly short, was so good. It was incredible. One of the best books Ive ever read. And if it had continued, if that little short story hadn't been weaved into Superluminal and ruined it, I think it might have been one of the best books I have ever read. The story Mr. Daniel was writing would have been great! It would have been an epic tale of Love, Loss, and Regret. Of Heroism and Sacrifice, of Good and Evil, and of everything that it is to be and not to be Human! And it spanned an entire Solar System made strange by the incredible advances of technology.

It would have been amazing. But, it was not to be.

And dispite the awful case of literary blue-balls... It was still great. The books are still good, and I still recommend them...

Which makes the blue-balls even worse!!!! ARRGHHHBLBLHGHHG!!!!

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