from the basic bookcase: Brightness Reef

So I pulled this one from Savage Review’s Basic Bookcase and as I mentioned earlier I’ll be reading every single one of them there books…well, not exactly, I only made it to page 114 of Brightness Reef before doing my usual, “hmm….let’s see what happens on page…312!”.

However as a study in sf/f, this book is a good one. Multiple POV characters, six races, multiple (English-y) languages, diverse cultures, technologies, and ecologies, those little italicized sections at the beginning of chapters, you know, attributed to ‘Rek-kwan, sixth chapter of the first pamphlet, 1204 a.y.’. Italics. In general, a lot of italics.

The writing was a little flat. I confess the whole thing left me unimpressed, and since this was my first shot at Brin I may sample some of Brin’s earlier stuff, such as Startide Rising, to give the guy a fair shake.

Bookcase worthy? Nay.

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2 comments so far

  1. Cliff Burns on

    Not surprised that you’re unimpressed by Brin. I wrote a piece on scientist/SF writers on my blog
    and he was one of the guys I had in mind. Peter Watts has also written re: scientists who are tone deaf when it comes to composing prose. There has been a spirited discussion on the SF Forum on “LibraryThing” on this, most SF fans seem to dismiss the necessity of fundamentally sound writing as long as the ideas are neat. I’m a fan of Philip K. Dick (non-scientist) but I have to admit that structurally his works are suspect…

  2. kooneiform on

    I’ve read sf/f all my life, and this reminds me of a bad experience I had when I was 14 or 15. Up to that point I had loved every sf/f book I read — Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, Frank Herbert (well, just Dune and not the later stuff that I couldn’t stand), Ray Bradbury, etcetera. What I didn’t realize was that, in poaching all of these books from my dad’s library, I had the benefit of someone who already had done the hard work of getting the good stuff. One day I went out to a Waldenbooks or someplace and bought some generic fantasy book off the shelf. I felt…used.


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