Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Earth II

Novella by Stephen Baxter

Nothing to do with the tv show, for better or for worse; nothing to do with comic books, for the better.

I am not a fan of names so very generic, especially when it seems only there for lack of a better title. But the generic title doesn't ruin the rather good story.

Xaia Windru is a warrior queen sailing around Earth II and exploring things, her husband is a stay-at-home-king involved with the politics of building a super-library. The exploration of Earth II is exciting, and there are some good ideas here, but the top library lobbyist strikes me as a Hari Seldon wannabe. The discoveries Xaia makes on her expedition are surprisingly relevant, but are always revealed back home by one scholar or another at the same time. This gets a bit annoying.

Regardless, this is a strong adventure story with some really interesting concepts, particularly the organism known as The Purple. And, following up the return of our heroic/dangerously impulsive warrior queen is a conclusion that really surprises. I don't agree with the end at all, and if I lived in Zeeland I'd probably commit some sort of treason, but it is perfectly in character and makes logical sense, I just hate it. And that is what makes it, I can't stand the ending, but I have no problem believing it, and get angry enough that I might as well be there. So well done Stephen Baxter, 4 out of 5.

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