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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

I'm fortunate enough to have gotten my hot little hands on a galley of Spin, Robert Charles Wilson's newest book (Tor, April 2005), and I have to say, the man makes me sick. He may be the most consistently underrated writer in science fiction today. I mean, he's just damned good.

BIG ideas. Stunning ideas. Sensawunda ideas. Awe-inspiring, breathtaking, Dyson-sphere-scale ideas. And real human complicated delicately drawn characters--not hamhanded caricatures or expositional robots. Strong, fragile, heartbreakingly plausible people. Complex and thoroughly examined plots.

And absolutely pellucid writing.

If I were a planaria, I would eat this man's brain. This stuff is that good.

(And, just to really rub in my current feast of wondrous fiction, after I finish this I get to read Behemoth:Seppuku. And The War of the Rats.)

Sometimes, I really like my job.


I love being right. Heh.
Heee. It's very shiny. And a bit longer than he usually runs, I think, which is in this case is a good thing.
You know, I got to read Behemoth: Seppuku recently, and you are in for a treat. Great science. Scary dark villains. Perhaps too many loose ends.

Do you mean War of the Rats by David Robbins, or another one?
Peter's the other best underrated SF writer around. *g* Somebody ought to make a list.
Oh, and yes, the Robbins War of the Rats. I'm about four chapters in and quite engaged by it so far. He does a good job with claustrophobic panic.

I have an idea to write an Industrial Soviet WWII fantasy in the not too terribly distant future (I think it's about five books down the queue currently), so I have a pile of books on my desk to get through and let erminate in the next year or so.

Industrial Soviet

Ever read "Back in the USSA"? An alternate history in which the 1917 Revolution happens in the US, instead of Russia? Weak at the end, but the episode set in the 1930s was amazing. I've wished more than once that Cyril Kornbluth had lived long enough to do a sequel to "Not This August" (rather than trying to update it, which I thought was a mistake).
I just finished Blind Lake. Pretty damn good.
I haven't read that one yet. I'm saving it for a rainy day. Along with a Peter Beagle book and a couple of other things.

But, yeah, he is of the asskicking.
He's a fine writer, but so many of his books finally leave me emotionally cold and finally indifferent.
That's really interesting, because I find he's one of the few hard science fiction writers who creates characters I really care about.

What do you think it is about him that leaves a chill, as it were?
I don;t want to overstate, but each of his books I read, I am aware of the tiny choices being made that add up to a self-involved determinist, intelligent, but quite self-involved (after all that's all there is) which works as anti-sense of wonder for me. I finally know where each story is going on the deepest level(futility, meaninglessness, etc) and so I end up not really caring.
I can see where you might get that from some of Wilson's work, Sherwood, but is it ever not true of Spin.

This is the novel in which Wilson has worked out an open-ended universe of expanding human possibility to match the strength of his storytelling skills.
Oh, wow. It sounds like he's jumped up a level--got to read this oane, most definitely.
Having read it, yes, you won't find that chilliness or futility at all. I haven't been this excited about hard sf since I found Ken Macleod.
Yum! I do like MacLeod!
*nod* I think I can see that. My favorite of his books so far is Bios, which I think redeems itself from thoroughly depressng existentialism in the epilogue--but I think I have a clue where this one is going, and if I'm right, it's going to be a bit of a 90% angle from even that.

(And no spoilers from you, Patrick!)

Why RCW's so good

"...Robert Charles Wilson...may be the most consistently underrated writer in science fiction today. I mean, he's just damned good."

But of course --- he's Canadian ;-)