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auspex

Novel Tease

Random meanderings about the books I love—or don't. 

Interspersed with observations about my hobbies: Beer & Wine, Bridge, Bikes and Bow-wows.

Currently reading

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
Pontypool Changes Everything
Tony Burgess
Variable Star - Robert A. Heinlein, Spider Robinson I love Heinlein, and I love Spider Robinson even more, so I really should love this book. It is typical Robinson (essentially, it is Robinson's work, as Heinlein had only left 7 pages of summary, and 15 index cards of notes), filled with dance and jazz and bad puns.

The novel starts with a dance scene written as only Spider could ([b:Stardance|1504729|Stardance|Spider Robinson|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1336059520s/1504729.jpg|2177257] is the definitive SF dance story). There are a couple of great passages about playing the saxophone (I played alto, and have done the circular-breathing trick, so I understood immediately just how impossible he meant it to be, to perform a 15 minute piece on a baritone sax, using circular breathing).

The interminable puns would put some people off, but as far as I care, the only thing better than a good pun is a bad one.

The problem with this book is not Robinson's writing, it's just that it's such a bad storyline. It gets to the point where every second chapter, you're waiting to hear "...and that's when disaster struck!". How are we possibly supposed to suspend our disbelief: "G2 stars don't go nova!" If we were told that G2 stars were known to go nova, but that scientists had thought it shouldn't be possible, then the rest of the plot falls (barely) into place, but he tells us himself that it can't happen, because it hasn't happened - and that's when disaster struck.