1634: The Ram Rebellion by Eric Flint with Virginia Demarce
I am slogging through this book right now, trying to get through it. I already have a somewhat love/hate relationship with the 1632 series. It’s either really great, or deathly slow. This book is no exception. It’s a collection of short stories and novellas leading up to the event in the title, The Ram Rebellion. Like any anthology, some of the stories are great and engaging, and some just last forever and a day. I hope to finish it, because I’d like to read the rest of the series and feel like if I don’t make it through this book, the rest won’t make as much sense. The one thing I do like about this series consistently is it is full of strong female characters. The women are as much a part of the wars and planning and scheming and political maneuverings as the men, so that’s always a big plus for me.
Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar edited by Mercedes Lackey
Haven’t really gotten a chance to start this anthology, I’m just part way through the first story by Mercedes Lackey, same name as the title, Moving Targets. I’m somewhat disappointed with her work lately, I think she may be trying to crank out too many books for too many different projects. Her stories seem to be lacking that character development and believable dialogue that has made her such a popular author. I haven’t read any of the other stories by guest authors so can’t say how the whole anthology will work out.
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
I picked this book up at the Friends of the Library bookstore. I’ve been trying to read some of the older science fiction and fantasy authors in order to sort of get a good grounding in the evolution of the genres. It’s much less fluffy than modern fantasy or science fiction.
I’m almost done with the book, but became sidetracked by Christmas and then the two books above and haven’t managed to finish it yet. I will say, without giving too many spoilers away, that this book is nothing like the movie of the same name that is now a cult classic.
The writing style is very matter-of-fact and in first person, from the point of view of Johnny. And I really really like it. The only strike against it, in my book, is that women characters are non-existent. But really, it isn’t as though women are seen as less, they’re actually seen as better in the intelligence-heavy military positions, and our main character is at the bottom of the food chain, a “common” line soldier, infantry, shock troops, and therefore just doesn’t encounter them very often. I’d prefer to see an army where women are just as good in shock troop positions as in the starship pilot’s seat. That’s really my only sticking point with this book, though.
Otherwise, the action is good, the story is good, the tone is realistic and conversational, as though Johnny is sitting there with you years later describing the scene to you. This is the first Heinlien I’ve read all the way through (or almost). A few years ago I tried reading Stranger in a Strange Land, but couldn’t get into it at the time. I’m planning to pick it up again and try reading it.