Friday, March 27, 2015
The Space Between, Tribes of the Hakahei Book One, by Scott J Robinson
Well, if I'm not in Texas, I seem to be in Australia. At least, that is the impression I'm getting by the books I've been reading.
I have only JUST now gotten back into the swing of things of reviewing. For some bizarre reason, Pam Uphoff's "The Lawyers of Mars" took four days to read, which is longer than I spent reading "Gone With The Wind." That is NOT a criticism of Pam's work, by the way, I loved it. It's just that life, the universe, and everything seemed to conspire there for a bit to put me off schedule.
And after reading about Martian lawyers, I found myself with two books in my queue, and no idea of how I put them there. I'm sure I had a well thought out plan, and so far, it's looking like a good choice; just no memory of adding these two items.
However, I can at least identify the source of the book I'm reviewing today. Scott J Robinson, of Woodford, near Brisbane in Queensland, Australia, is a fan of The Mad Genius Club, as I am. However, Scott's also a writer, and evidently I glommed on to that fact and grabbed his book to read and review. I hope he doesn't mind.
I don't think he will, though, because he wrote a great book, and I'm going to tell you about it.
First, The Prologue. Skip it. Don't read it. It will confuse you twice, and the second confusion is the only one that's going to be cleared up in this book. I feel relatively certain that the first confusion will be cleared up in his later books, but it won't add ANYTHING (well, maybe a smidge) to the story, so: just skip The Prologue. My advice, take it or leave it.
So, start the book off by meeting Kim. She's irritating. She's irritating because she's usually right, and because she has a very low tolerance for fools. However, she is rather brilliant at grasping the key facts of a confusing situation, and getting things done, so there is that. Umm, she's a regular old Earth-type human by the way. Half Aussie, half American, and maybe that's why she is so irritating. Don't know; the only Aussies I've ever hung out with were magnificent in every way. I did know a New Zealander once who was a bit abrupt, but that might have been because I was 19 and a bit of a pain in the patoot at the time.
After you've met Kim, meet Meledrin. She's irritating, too. She's irritating because she is an elf, and has a deeply internalized belief in her own superiority, with respect to everyone else she comes in contact with AFTER she leaves her homeland. In her favor, though, she does condescend to treat her pet man with courtesy and respect, unlike her sister elves, and she has kept him around for 23 years when a year is the most that the other elves will spend on their dalliances. Perhaps related to this quirk in her character, she also is willing to take responsibility for Keeble, the one-handed dwarf, who has been exiled from his home to die. (Note: I don't know if his name is an intentional joke. In the states, Keebler is a company that makes cookies, and they used to run an ad campaign that claimed their cookies were made by elves in hollow trees. So, naming a dwarf Keeble is funny here. Is it funny Down Under?)
Keeble, the dwarf, isn't irritating. He is to Meledrin, but that's partly due to the fact that she has to be responsible for him, and partly due to the fact that she is contemptuous of all who aren't elves. To the rest of us, though, he's a nice guy, although a bit pathetic. All he wants to do is work, he can't keep a thought in his head, and he is great at what ever he does. I almost said "at whatever he sets his hand to," but then I'd have to explain that no pun was intended, and it's just not worth the effort.
And finally, there is Tuki, the giant. He's a bit irritating as well. It's mostly because he is so passive, due to being raised in a culture in which men can't make any decisions, but he also has what is a fatal flaw, at least for a Southern Redneck like myself: he won't eat bacon. Not only that, but he won't eat ANY meat. And he's really big, but he refuses to use his strength to get his way, and consequently gets the sand beat out of him by smaller people who mistake him for a troll. He's not a troll, by the way, he's a moai. (The Easter Island statues are also called moai, but if there is a tie-in, it doesn't happen in this novel.) He has found a crystal ball (his sweetie sent him after it) which acts as a...nah, not gonna tell you that.
So, four different kinds of people, each with a different skill set. First, they have to combat space bats. (The story reads a lot better than that.) Then they have to deal with organizational stodginess. And then other things happen, but I'm on a no-spoiler kick, so I'm not going to further divulge.
What I will do is tell you this: Scott is an excellent writer. No purple prose, no confusion, no dithering about; just good, straight forward writing. This is why I love indie publishing: phenomenal writers can get their work published without having to get sliced to pieces by corporations. Of course, I'd LOVE to see Scott's work become the next Game of Thrones, but actually, I don't think George RR's books had that much of an audience until HBO made a series with nekkid wimmin in it. Could be wrong, been wrong before. But I ain't wrong about this: The Space Between is worth your time.