Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Recovery Man's Bargain

Novella by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

This was a 42 page novella that at the same time flew by, and felt like it had the content and development of a full novel. I stayed up late to finish it, and yet this was my least favorite Analog novella of the year. Imagine that at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke is trying out his new robo-hand when 2 dozen storm troopers show up out of nowhere, gun down the medical droid, and then are defeated by the ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Sort of ruins the whole movie doesn't it?

The illegal flower retrieval mission that got me interested in the first few pages ended abruptly, having served only to have the titular Recovery Man's employer act over-the-top irrationally in order to plot-shoehorn him into a mission many reasonable people would have taken just for the money. Oh, and to give him a CHEKOV'S GET-OUT-OF-JAIL-FREE CARD, guaranteed to be used by the end of the story or your money back.

So we drop one mission, and are given another, the plot progresses well enough, and it makes a pretty decent story. But then we're supposed to be feeling sorry for the victim of all this, who I can only describe as a complete monster. She has 0 empathy of her own, is guilty of genocide and a gristly murder by her own hands, and show 0 remorse. Yeah, I pity her having been taken from her cushy job to answer for her crimes. Now things do go a bit wrong for everyone towards the last 1/3 of the story, but I really have trouble buying the epiphany our anti-hero is supposed to be having here.

And then, out of fucking nowhere in the denouement, we have a big pointless conflict, that get's resolved by that foreshadowed deus ex machina. I guess when you write yourself an out that good, you can't not use it. Here's an idea: DON'T WRITE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Despite the rant, the middle of the story was okay, so 2 out of 5.

No comments: