Saturday, June 4, 2011

Book Review: Black Hole Sun

I keep saying that I need to read more science fiction and, well, you can't really get more science fiction-y with a title like Black Hole Sun (which first reminded me of two different Doctor Who episodes, then of the Uplight book series and then another Doctor Who episode). Once I started reading the book then I was thinking about Cowboy Bebop (the Book Smugglers might think of Firefly every time they hear "space" and "cowboy" but I would be remiss as an anime fan not to think of Cowboy Bebop when I hear "mars" and "cowboy") and when I was done with the story I was thinking about how the title of the book had nothing to do with the story and then realized that this was basically The Seven Samurai on Mars. Whew, that's enough bolded text for now, onto the review!

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill
  Well, the images on the cover fit the title but, as I've already said, the title has absolutely nothing to do with the book, it's not even a phrase that one of the characters say. So, since it doesn't say anything about the actual book, the inside flap has less than a paragraph about the book (which isn't a very good paragraph either), I actually had to read the blurb by Suzanne Collins to figure out what it was about, I can't call this a good cover.

Summary: On a futuristic, polluted Mars where the rich are beyond rich and the people are poorer than dirt, Durango (a master less peacekeeper) is approached by a group of miners who want to hire him to protect them from seemingly unkillable monsters.

The Good: It seems a bit contradictory to have a low-tech science fiction story but BHS pulls it off well and has a pretty interesting setting. Vienne was a cool action girl, one gets the impression that most of the fight scenes in the book would make for an interesting movie, and Fuse and Jenkins* get their own moments to shine as well. The whole book is rather exciting, lots of desperate fights, big damn heroes moments, and strategizing that saves the day, it's a fun ride at the very least.  

The Bad: The villain in this book seems rather, well, random. There's not enough of a backstory for and and what backstory there is feels weak. The backstory behind the artifical intelligence living in Durango's brain, Mimi, also feels weak. The story explains who she is but never the exact reason why Durango even has an A.I. in his brain, it hints at several possible reasons why but never outright states it. Finally, it's a bit tiresome to see that the standard government for a science fiction setting a hirearchcal society from medieval Europe? It honestly doesn't make sense that our own society is getting more and more progressive and then goes completely backwards once people get off planet, also it's rather boring to see everyone slap on the same kind of government and then blame all the social problems in the book just on the government. 

It was an alright book, certainly an exciting read, but nothing new and nothing especially special about it. I did pick up another sci-fi book at the library lately but it's likely going to be awhile before I get to that one, hopefully that one is a bit more creative however.

*his name is actually Leeroy Jenkins and has a badass boast about it, I wasn't sure if I should laugh my ass off of face palm at that point.

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