Slowed down a bit on updating the big master list, but still at it. Today I ramble on about a science fiction story I read while working the world science fiction convention a few weeks back.
I grabbed the sample for this off of Amazon. A feature I’ve been using every now and then to check out the first bit of a story that catches my interest. You know, when I glance away from colorful magic pony literature. The sample got my interest in that I wanted to know what happened next. While I was at the 2016 Worldcon (world scifi convention) one of the books on the shelf of my dad’s bookstore booth was Moonseed, so I grabbed it for reading for a few nights at the hotel after we finished up in the dealer’s room each day.
I got about two-thirds through it before I gave up. Had some cool concepts and functionally written. Once again my disinterest in people was my downfall. Though my father said that he has something of the same problem with Baxter’s stories so it wasn’t all my brain’s fault this time. I still kind of what to know how the story turns out. Just not willing to slog through the rest of the story to find out. It was a cool concept. A silver dust brought back from one of the moon missions turns out to be something that eats the molten cores of planets and after sitting in a storage cabinet for a few decades a tiny bit of it gets out and starts the disaster plot rolling. Also, Venus explodes from what is assumed to be the end result of the affects of the silver dust. Something that has little to no impact on the actual story, which was disappointing. It is mentioned that the radiation from the explosion makes it dangerous for people to be outside without some basic radiation protection for long periods. Then it’s never really brought up again.
So, all good so far. Basic disaster plot. Would make a good big budget disaster movie. My main problem with the story is that as the story went on we kept jumping around to people other than the main characters. Like, some of them are secondary characters, but a lot of the time we would jump to some random person somewhere and see how their life is going. Then, either in that scene or a second scene with them, we see how they die because of the ongoing disaster. Once or twice this isn’t bad. Showing us the human cost and how the unfolding disaster is wrecking lives. I gave up on like the sixth time it happened. Because at that point I knew it was pointless to invest in this new character any, because they would die in some main plot disaster way. It just got tiring. I was just barely getting emotionally invested in the main character(s) at the middle of the story and jumping away from them to show me how Random Person #47 goes about their day and then dies was just killing the flow of things for me.
So not bad, and if you like interesting hard science fiction I would recommend it. Just be warned that the viewpoint jumps around a lot between lots of people, many of whom die for no real reason except to show the ongoing disaster unfolding. Like one was a… Okay, I forget if she was a fireman or nuclear technician, but we see her dealing with a big fire in a nuclear reactor and then, since she’s the newbie, she’s the one that has the oomph to go into the big fire to fix things when the more experienced guys are worried about, well, the gigantic radioactive inferno in the heart of the nuclear reactor. But we don’t actually see any of that. We get her mentally going ‘this is the job we are supposed to do’ then it cuts away to someone else and then a few scenes later one of the main characters picks up the horribly burned woman while driving near the reactor. I’m not sure if she dies or if that’s about where I stopped reading.