19, 20

I’ve finished recording the material for the next album, which will be called Parallax — cover art done, ready to master and write up the descriptive stuff. And I’ve also got the half-hour Sonic Sound Synthesis set I’ll be releasing as Stridulation-Yukon-Relay, art and mastering done and words left to go. So that’s Starthief releases 19 and 20 about to drop.

Recent reading has been Linda Nagata’s “The Red” trilogy.

The first book (which is really called First Light despite the cover) is a very dystopian, intriguing (and intrigue-filled) story that’s like a (long) Black Mirror episode in novel form, with strong elements of War Is A Racket. I enjoyed it very much. It’s a novel that feels like it was written in late 2020, despite its 2013 publication date — aside from explaining a couple of concepts that should be very familiar to almost every science fiction reader and person paying attention to social commentary in general.

But the second and third have the protagonist become less likeable, turning away from people he supposedly loved and trusted and his original motivations. They read more like Tom Clancy but not quite: almost patriotic/jingoistic, almost pro-military, and almost clear-cut ethics most of the time, no matter how many times the characters tell you that everything is grey and confused. There were still a few twists and betrayals but they just didn’t land well. Overall, books two and three were not bad, but still quite a disappointment after the first.

The author’s novel Vast, from 1998, has long been one of my favorite science fiction novels. It’s supposedly the third in a trilogy, except that it’s really the fourth in a six-book series. There was a “book 0” that was chronologically written first (Tech-Heaven), and then further along the fictional timeline but closely spaced in real time, books 1-3 (The Bohr Maker, Deception Well, Vast). Then 22 years later in real time, another “series” of two books (The Inverted Frontier: Edges and Silver) which follow not too far behind in the fictional timeline as I understand it. But anyway, I’ve had a hard time finding any of the original four books aside from Vast, until I thought to check Alibris.

I have to admit, I’ve confused Linda Nagata with Sarah Zettel. Zettel’s Fool’s War is another one of those favorite books, and I presume it and Vast occupied neighboring networks in my brain, though the plots and writing styles are really not that similar.