Monday, July 14, 2003

Jul 14 2003

A couple nights ago, I finished one of those small pleasures in life that becomes greater as it becomes less frequent: I finished reading a sci-fi novel.

Some people read trashy romance novels. Others watch bad kung-fu films. Me, I love actiony sci-fi thrillers. The kind set in an inventive future, where lots of things have changed, and the protagonist is suddenly being pursued by killer robots.

Which exactly describes James Allen Gardner’s Vigilant, set on a human-colonized planet ten years after a devastating plague, which is beautifully and horribly described in the book’s opening chapters. We then fast-forward through the protagonist’s self-destructive young adulthood into her initiation into a local watchdog group, at which point she’s suddenly being pursued by killer robots.

It’s not a great novel, but it’s a surprisingly good one. The mystery of what-the-hecks-happening is pretty interesting. The world is well realized. There are lots of interesting characters, particularly the protagonist, who has a whole range of issues.

On the other hand, as the Amazon.com reviews note, Gardner has a tiring thing for the inherent corruption of governments. You can hear him grinding his axe in the background. This detracts from the story’s momentum and just doesn’t fit.

But, like the Amazon.com reviewers, I enjoyed the book anyway.

By the way, I’m currently updating the anime song download pretty much every day, and won’t be announcing the new song on this journal. The song will just change.

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