Back to Infinity and Beyond

Having finished Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I decided to switch genres again and go back to science fiction for a time.  Larsson’s book was pretty good; the story was engrossing after it took of but you did have to be patient for that.  I felt like some of the writing was very pedestrian, but I can’t help but imagine that a part of that was due to the fact that it was a work in translation.  So, I’m going to blame the translator a little here.  All too often I felt like someone was relaying the narrative to me as if it was a newscast.  I didn’t feel like I was in the story as much as I might have wanted.  Was it good enough to make me want to read the two other books in the “Lisbeth Salander” trilogy?  Sure, but not right away.

Instead, I decided to head back to space.  A while back, before I started this blog, I read Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space and Chasm City.  I enjoyed them, the second more than the first, but when I finished Chasm City I didn’t want to read any more.  It’s what they call “hard” science fiction, which means its heavy on the science and technology aspects.  But it is also classified as space opera – large, sweeping narratives encompassing enormous amounts of physical space and civilizations.  That part is what I can really get behind.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy the hard science parts, just not as much.

So, this morning before work, I read the prologue and I’m hooked.  It picks up several decades after Revelation Space left off, but in space opera time, that’s not a whole heck of a lot.  His idea of the “melding plague” (a virus that infects nano-machines and biological matter the same, merging them together in a horrific juxtaposition) is back and I have to say, that’s one of the coolest sci-fi ideas I’ve read.  Probably why I enjoyed Chasm City so much; it was all about that.

So, this book picks up with the idea that humanity has gotten the attention of the Inhibitors, a mysterious race of heretofore unseen aliens who have set up, for lack of a better word, space stations throughout the universe to alert them to the presence of other star-faring cultures.  Alert them to their presence so they can destroy them before they become a threat.  Destroy them with super weapons that rival what the Death Star could do.  Now if that doesn’t set up a good conflict for space opera, I don’t know what does.  We’ll see where it takes me…



A connecting point between In the Woods and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is that they both feature strong female supporting characters who go on, in the books’ sequels, to become the main protagonists.