Brett's Books



The Best SF Imprint Ever

Of course, I get DAW & TOR confused, so maybe it's a tie for first place.

close up of face, hair covering one eye, put through a red brown posterize palette filter

Political Intrigue

by Greg Bear

Thoughts Going In

The book has:
150 Pages
34 Lines to the Page
+/- 10 Words to the Line

Yielding +/- 50,000 words
It's a short book.

Most publishing houses (I am told) have target lengths for the books that they publish, which makes sense, as I used to prefer thicker books with smaller writing, as I knew I'd be getting more story for my buck. And as such, there are (or at least, I have) standard expectations:
 50,000 This Small Thin Book
 75,000 Typical Romance Novel
100,000 My Target for a Novel

250,000+ Let's Split It Up
Since I do not pay for content, I'm not looking for value anymore. And the short length of this book was appealing, as was the TOR imprint and the clean never been read before look of the book.

The disembodied head on the cover makes me think the story will be stupid. But then, campy can be fun.

After reading the jacket, I am told that there are a bunch of cryogenically frozen heads... of which I could care less. But I can see having fun with them, making them humorous:
'When I get my body back, I am going to so smack you upside the head.'
'Yeah? You'll be too busy bending over from me kicking you in the balls.'
'Gentlemen. Gentlemen. Didn't you hear. They are not giving us our bodies back. They are going to extract our memories and incinerate the rest.'
And so on and so forth.

I for one, hope the witty repartee is better in the book (or any future book I might write) than in the example text I just provided, because if not, one (me, you, the author, whoever) is better quitting while they're (wait for it) a head.

Of course, I don't, actually, expect humour. But man, it would be nice.

The second thing they promised on the back cover was a discussion of Absolute Zero: specifically, a cold so cold that it can 'freeze space-time itself... and bend the laws of physics', which sounds pretty cool. I'd always taken Absolute Zero as a state of matter: matter, which in turn, occupies space-time. But if one goes all quantum mechanics (a bunch of hooey, I know), then maybe it is the space-time which holds the energy and Absolute Zero is a state of non-space-time... whatever that might mean.

Seriously, whatever.

The important point in all that is: while reading the cover, I slipped off into thinking of matter as some sort of topological interpretation of the space-time continuum (a sort of planar fabric of sorts), which equates energy as folds (or knots, if that makes any more sense to you) and its absence as a sparse and empty plane (stretched thin to the point of non-existence), which is sort of meaningless... until one realizes that we might just be talking about The Void from whence The Big Bang was born.

So, don't play with fire (or the total absence of fire), because you might just get burned.

And thus, as an answer to the question:
Why am I reading this book?
My excuse will be food for thought.

But the real reason (I am reading anything) is that I am sick of standing and I want to sit down. Reading is a sitting pastime for me, while writing is a standing one. So, read I shall.

Oh (and finally), I was, also, planning on mentioning that I have some jealousy issues when it come to the DAW/TOR imprint (don't ask me about the relation -- if any -- between the two). In that, neither are publishing my books. Of course, I don't think I have ever sent either of them a query letter, asking them to. But if you are going to start being reasonable, I got no time for you and would much rather be reading a book about Absolute Zero and Disembodied Heads.

Real Words

Wow! Impressive word there, Mr. Bear. I'm going to need you to hold on a second and let me look that-there word up, so I can see if it's real... and if so, what in tarnation it means.

Beautiful Techno-Jargon

Post-Boolean Three-State Logic
Disorder Pumps
Five Interactive Media

Individual Consensus

Notable Quotes

Rho said, looking at him with high-energy complete-equality adoration.

I had been assigned twelve possible in-family girlfriends at the age of thirteen.

"Movies are a weak shadow. Religion is where we ought to go."

Running Thoughts

My Thoughts (above) are sort of jumbled at the end (after I started skipping pages), loosing their original ordering.

The Debriefing

There was a moment (or long drawn out scene that looked like it was going to last a while) in which betrayal, lack of honor, and/or emotional turmoil (so, I'll leave you guessing) looked like it was going to play a central role in the rest of the story. And since the writing was effective, I felt the pain. But I had no wish to feel the pain. So, I pulled out of the story and skipped ahead. Basically, my enjoyment of the book ended there, as I read the last dozen pages (or so) mostly for closure.

I liked the hardcore SF elements: a character named Rho, details concerning life on the moon, and the discussions about the Space-Time Continuum (and other points of scientific interest). But I do not care (in real life or otherwise) about political intrigue. I am not a drama person. For the most, I find Soap Operas uninteresting. And as such, I found huge parts of the plot boring.

Furthermore, in the last year or two, I have come up with the slogan:
The Market and The Government are One.
I would label the author (based on the society he depicts) as a Laissex Faire Capitalist. But since I do not believe Laissex Faire Capitalism is possible (it is a slogan that will never become a reality), I found some of the assumptions underlying his created Political World to be impractical.

And thus, my Final Verdict is that the cover was the best part.

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Ironically, I feel worse trash talking this one book (a book that I read about half way through) than a whole web-page full books that I did not read in any depth, spending at most fifteen minutes with each. But then, perhaps that is because not reading those particular books was a foregone conclusion prior to turning the first page, as 'Just a Quick Glance' was the rationale for cracking the spine, in the first place.

© copyright 2019 Brett Paufler