report on recommended reading

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Wed Aug 7 20:52:44 EDT 2002


>Ah, the above comment is not reassuring... I've been wondering whether
>to poke into Catherine Asaro or not...
>I would suspect that there is a picture of her looking like a Romance
>author inside the back cover because all the front covers I've seen look
>like Romance novels?  Y'know, beautiful women and hunky men?  She's also
>highly recommended on the SF-Romance site (darn, I can't remember the
>URL) so, well, maybe some think of her stuff as more Romance than SF?

Interesting comment. I guess plot-wise, they are very much Romances (in the 
Mills and Boon sense, not the medieval poetic sense - DWJ novels are often 
the latter); but they are also heavy on the science. The first one was 
particularly annoyingly heavy on the science, which disguised its extremely 
thin M&B plot.

>I know what you mean, and I can't quantify the problem either.  I
>haven't read Passage myself, but other ones I've enjoyed, like "To Say
>Nothing of the Dog" and "Belwether", I don't feel any great desire to
>read again either.  The words "enjoyable fluff" spring to mind, though
>that isn't quite fair, because it isn't as if they weren't full of good
>ideas too.  But then I don't tend to *re-read* books for their ideas.
>Things that make a book re-readable are the characterisations and the
>style, I think.  Because you may want to relive that stunningly poetic
>passage, or re-travel that road with characters you love... as distinct
>from characters you like, perhaps?  Or maybe it's a question of
>character growth rather than likableness.  I'm really not sure.
>The odd thing is that the Connie Willis book I'm most likely to actually
>re-read is "Water Witch" and she co-authored that with Cynthia Felice.
>So the style, or the something, is quite different.

I guess I agree with this. I don't find Willis' style irritating or 
unreadable, but it isn't compelling, either. And none of the characters in 
Passage was really interesting or different, although they were likeable 
enough. Well, actually, the main character annoyed me a bit, because she 
seemed to have so little agency. She spent the whole book just being pushed 
along by events, and then finally when she started to be reflective, 
everything came so easily.

Robyn


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