redbyrd_sgfic (redbyrd_sgfic) wrote,
redbyrd_sgfic
redbyrd_sgfic

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Friday and Book rec: The Sky People

Friday at last! A busy week at work- I didn't finish the new database setup, but I at least got it to the point where they can start working on the backlog of data entry. I need to whack through a couple of the scripting tuturials. I *know* that I can use scripts to automate some things, but couldn't learn the language and get them working in the time I had.

Then there was wrapping up a couple of dozen other odds and ends and sorting out stuff for my trip to Texas next week. Think of me at 3 am, driving to the airport through the (forecasted) ice storm!

In fun stuff, however, I read Steve Stirling's The Sky People- c'mon, how can we not like airships and dinosaurs on Venus?

The Sky People by S.M.Stirling

This hearkens back to the days of John Carter of Mars, and Three for the Legion, when men were men, women were voluptuous and when danger threatened, there was nothing like the thews of a strong hero to get you out of it.   Okay, it's not quite that over the top!  But suppose that instead of finding the overheated pressure-cooker of Venus or the dry emptiness of Mars, we had found instead that the SF authors of the early-mid twentieth century were right.  Not only is there a breathable atmosphere, but intelligent life much like us.   Instead of the space program slowing down to a mere trickle, it is beefed up.   The Cold War continues with both Russia and the US planting colonies on Venus.  

Stirling strings us along with smidgeons of real science, speculations of parallel evolution and alien terraformers while writing a story of adventure and intrigue in the unexplored jungles of Venus.   He populates the ecology with a fearsome array of predators and natives of various stripes.   And he works in a lot of great and evocative detail without ever bogging down his story.   

Was it perfect?  No.  There were some (what else do I ever complain about?!) structural issues.   There wasn't a single consistent antagonist, there were a few awkward gaps in timing which made sense from a plot point of view but did not help the pacing.   But he avoids the cliches he doesn't embrace, and the whole thing was so enormously fun, I couldn't help enjoying it.  I'm already looking forward to the sequel (which I suspect will be set on Mars).  

Caveat- I did in fact read John Carter and Tarzan as a kid, so I'm known to have a proclivity for this kind of thing.

Tags: books
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