Archive for June, 2013

defianceWe’re all nerds of some flavor around here right? Nerd or not, I should hope you’ve heard of Defiance. It’s SyFy’s newest show. What’s it about? Short version, Firefly meets Farscape. Most people I tell that to don’t need to know much more than that. Covers it nicely. And pretty accurate too. One of the creators of Farscape is working on Defiance.

Slightly less short version… The Votans, a group of aliens from a common solar system, emigrate across the galaxy because their own world is going to hell in a hand basket. They cross space in giant arks and get to Earth and whoops! Humans. They try to play nice for a while. Didn’t work (’cause that wouldn’t exactly be interesting if it did) and war happens. Terraforming tech drops onto Earth and screws the planet all up. Then a bunch of soldiers from both sides said “Enough of this” and laid down their guns for a common cause. Peace happened. Now there’s a Wild West – Post Apocalyptic – Sci Fi thing going on. Defiance itself is a city built on the ruins of St Louis (the arch is a major piece of imagery). Our main characters are ark hunters (salvagers) who roll into town and end up filling the roll of Lawkeepers. There’s the newly elected mayor, her sister the brothel keeper, the mine owner, the Boss Tweed-like gangster/immigrant leader. It’s a great show with a lot of different layers going on to it, mixing up a lot of different tropes.

I’m behind on my episodes though and only just got the game a few days ago! No spoilers!

“So you found a new TV show. How is that the future of storytelling? There have been lots shows with great stories, you referenced a couple up at the top there.”

I know I did. I have a point and I’m getting there. See, Defiance is also a game.

I actually heard about Defiance the game first via my Game Informer magazine. It was touted as an MMO Shooter that had potential. Shooters naturally play better on consoles than on PCs which also was a plus for me what since my desktop bricked a few weeks back. Also, I don’t have to pay for online access with the PlayStation. Lots of wins going on there already. The magazine was talking about gameplay that was pretty tight and (once you cleared out of the newbie area) a solid storyline. It’s not quite Mass Effect, but nothing is. I’m enjoying the storyline just as much as Fallout or Skyrim or when I tried out Star Wars the Old Republic which had crappy gameplay but an awesome story. And this story that Defiance the Game is rocking crosses over with the show.

Wait what?!

Crosses over with the show.

Bold to make sure it sinks in.

The stuff that happens in the game, effect the show. The episodes of the show, effect what happens in the game.

This fills me with nerdy delight. Nerds, and especially gamers, love Easter Eggs when they play. There’s a long tradition of easter eggs in video games. This goes way beyond finding little tid bits and getting the references in the game.

Example (very minor spoilers)… Episodes five of Defiance the Show involves Rynn who escapes from a transport taking her to prison in Vegas. Yesterday when I was playing Defiance the Game, I found her under siege from a team of E-Rep (Earth Republic) rogue soldiers. I shot them with great prejudice. Now Rynn started me off on a quest chain out in California. We’re shooting a lot of bugs. Gameplay may be a lot of bug shooting, but it’s all supported by a story. I’m digging up a story about rogue officers who want some knowledge that Rynn has that could be used for a big power play. Now because of this I’m picking up on some of the back ground of the E-Reps making them a lot more complex whenever they roll into Defiance the Show.

Still not cool enough for you? How about a player from the game being added into the show? Or a plague that may or may not make it to Defiance the city based on whether or not players stop it cold in San Fransisco?

Video games have already shown us they can tell a fantastic story on par with any movie or novel. All three use different tools and all three have different strengths and weaknesses. No one can deny what Mass Effect did across its three games was nothing short of spectacular. Mass Effect also broke away from the video game world and laid out some of its characters backstories, side stories and extra depth as novels and comics. One of the game’s writer’s penned Mass Effect: Revelation, one of a number of Mass Effect books. I’ve read just the one and a pair of the comics. I thought they were independently good. Strip off the Mass Effect name, and they’d still be a great read. The Halo series has some well received books, including one by Tobias Buckell and a trio by Eric Nylund, an accomplished novelist who’s dayjob is writing for Microsoft.

Mass Effect and Halo started the ball rolling with the novels but Defiance takes it to a whole different level because of the interactivity of video games. By playing the game I am part of the show. Watching the show and playing the game are enhanced by this crazy synergistic relationship. I got hooked on the show before I got the game and there’s a good chance I would have tried out the game even if I never saw an episode of the show. I know my parents aren’t ever going to play the Game, Sims and MarioKart are their speed. I’m sure there are people playing the game who have no desire to watch the show. Fine for them. They have have the pieces they want and enjoy it. You’re not missing out if you don’t put all the pieces together. The Matrix sequels tried that with a tie in game ten years ago and it fell flat. The game sucked, the movies sucked and they sucked a little bit more when separated from the other. You’re return is greater than the sum of its parts. Quality in, quality out. Defiance has quality in spades and is showing what happens when you put it all together. Voltron or Captain Planet style.

SyFy has already inked a deal for a second season. Clearly people are liking this. I hope the storytelling of Defiance, layered throughout different mediums, becomes the new Thing. As a fan, I get excited thinking of all the possibilities that they could do with this. Jeez, even the product placements with the post-apocalyptic Dodges are done smart. As a creator, all this potential must be intoxicating. I truly hope the people behind Defiance can add more Voltron pieces to their storytelling mosaic. The world is so interconnected, there is no reason for our storytelling to not be. A rising tide lifts all ships. The people are Defiance are not simply opening doors for writers, they’re creating new doors for storytellers. They may not be opportunities that would ever come across my table, but it makes me happy knowing they are out there. But I write novels and went to film school. There’s a couple Voltron pieces right there. Voltroning storytelling mediums can become a thing now.

Look back up at the title of this post. Notice I said Defiance is A future of storytelling. There is no One True Shining Way. There are many paths. The future has one more thanks to Defiance.

Unfortunately, the science fiction fantasy genre gets plagued with controversies all too often. It’s a very connected community and when lameness drops, it spreads fast. The latest one involved the SFWA Bulletin, that’s the newsletter for the Science Fiction Writers of America. I’m not a member, but it’s something I aspire to.

Honestly, I tend to skim over the controversies sometimes. Writing and the SF community is supposed to be fun and enjoyment for me. I’m not naive enough to think I’ll get to quit my day job even if I sell my novel tomorrow, so writing isn’t putting a roof over my family’s head and food on my kiddo’s plate. Those are the things I’m going to care about first. I make no secret that I really hate my day job so my day’s stress is usually used up by the time I hit my 9am break. That doesn’t leave me with a lot of patience for controversies involving shortsighted jerks.

This latest SF crapstorm was so big and so exceptionally douchey, it’s impossible to be remotely tapped into the community and miss it. The parts I read about started with the SFWA Bulletin having a rather sexist cover (chainmail bikinis in the middle of the frozen north). Some people were rightfully annoyed that a professional organization dropped all this sexist imagery over one of its very visible faces. Then some cranky old white guys put a rebuttal in the latest issue that was first in the wave of exceptional douchiness.

It’s a very dated attitude and all quite unfortunate that it’s something that needs dealing with in this day and age. Jim Hines compiled a not-quite-comprehensive list of the issue and responses. John Scalzi as outgoing president of SFWA made an official statement owning up to the faults that happened on his watch and how to fix the rift going forward.

As a generic white (now) middle class guy (seriously, ancestors go back to the Mayflower, doesn’t get much whiter or  American than that) sometimes I feel like I’m not supposed to have or talk about my opinions because some great mass of other white guys says what all white guys are supposed to say. “Oh but your a white guy, you’re not oppressed.” I can’t speak with the emotional knowledge of experience for anyone’s life but mine. Logically knowing the kinds of (insert thing)-ist behavior other people have to deal with that I don’t necessarily have to experience will never be the same as the person who has to deal with it on the wrong end. I don’t define myself as a white guy, I define myself as Mike. And while that may be one of the most generic English names on earth, I define myself as an individual and not some writhing subset of humanity that makes opinions for me.

This individual says “Fuck all that noise. Follow Wheton’s Law. Don’t be a dick.”

Look, sometimes it amazes me that the SF community can’t evolve past the racist, sexist, xenophobic, insert the -ism of your choice behaviors. I was lucky enough to grow up in a household with thousands of books. I think they insulated my home more than the walls did. I started reading my parent’s SF books when I was ten or eleven and never even had to bother buying my own until I was in college. I still read their books sometimes. There was only one qualification to being read in my household was being awesome. It didn’t matter who you were. An unproven name just defined what shelf a book was alphabetized on, it didn’t define your worth as a writer. Writing defined the writer. I grew up with Mercedes Lackley, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Katherine Kerr just as much as I grew up with Tolkein, Zelazny and David Weber. It frustrates the crap out of me that people use anything other than talent as a way to define writers. . This is a genre that defines itself as forward looking. The science fiction side of things in particular has been doing social commentary disguised as other things for decades. It isn’t the bread and butter of our genre, it’s the frickin meat and potatoes.

I want to sell my novel and become a part of the grand tradition of the genre based off how good I am, not someone’s preconceived notion of me and damnit I’m going to apply those same principals to the books I read and the authors I respect. I do my damnedest to start everyone I come across in life on a level playing field. I’m not perfect. No one is. Anyone who thinks they are is probably a tool. And believe me, there are plenty of things people can and often do to drop that opinion of them like a fucking rock really fast. Driving like an ass. Loud cell phone conversations in public. Driving with loud cell phone conversations. They make me hate you a little bit. What you are will never be a part of my opinions of you. Who you are and the things that you do are the only things that will alter my opinion of you. And if I’m buying books, my opinion of you as a person effects my decision even less because I don’t actually have to hang out with the author I’m reading. Talent is all that should matter in a writing community.

I don’t read authors like Madeline Ashby or Seanan McGuire or  Cherie Priest because they’re women. I picked up their books because they were highly recommended by the community and sounded great. I don’t read Wes Chu or Saladin Ahmed because they’re minorities. I read them because they wrote the stuff I want to read. I praise these authors not because they’re different than me, but because they are fucking fantastic. I strive to be like them and be part of their ranks.

I let this sit around in my head thinking it can’t be good to kneejerk reactions to anything. I figured some proper thought organization was in order. But fuck me I’m getting real agitated typing about the crap going on in the community. You can tell by all the swears. I swear like a fucking sailor in my real life but try to keep it off the blog. But I’m not. Cause of agitation. And that’s a good thing. I should be agitated and upset by this. Go click through some of the links on that Jim Hines page. More people need to be pissed that kind of crap is going on. It shouldn’t be fucking tolerated. Read some of these women’s stories and the dumbassery they’ve had to put up with. It’s embarrassing and enraging and I don’t even know any of these people personally. It’s just horrible. And it’s not just women that have to put up with crap. I read an author on twitter that’s mega frigging talented question if he wants to go to a con in Texas because he’s not sure if he’d feel safe as a minority.

A small segment of the community (out of touch people with hateful -isms) is harassing a large part of the community (women and minorities and anyone else under the broad spectrum of “different”). It’s horrible and embarrassing and pisses in the pool for everyone. There’s room in the pool for everyone. If you don’t want to share, go off to the corner, that one with none of the nice water jets where all the crud gathers that no one skims. You’re the crud no one skims. We should skim you away, but we don’t because we’re trying to be nice and inclusive to everyone even though you’re all assholes. Eventually we’ll get tired of the crud and skim you away and toss you over the fence where we don’t even have to look at you. You’ll be dismissed from the pool where everyone else will get to play without you.

Being quiet because white guys aren’t supposed to talk about issues that hose women or minorities or LGBT (which is a awkward acronym to type btw) is not a helpful attitude. It lets the hosing continue. Assholes make a lot of noise. All the regular joes need to yell back at the assholes along side all the people who were wronged and drown out the assholes. The SF community has a lot of good going for it. I want to add some good to it. I hope the community can grow and somehow come out the other end of the mess a better, stronger community. This long litany, liberally sprinkled with swears is intended as volume on the side of good.

Blarg. I need to go to my happy place. It’s a novel I’m writing.

About a couple women. That happen to be pirates and welders, fighters and artists. Who occasionally smooch men and occasionally fucking punch them. Who are just like the men in my book. Because we’re all people damnit.

Age of Voodoo

Posted: June 9, 2013 in Reading
Tags: , ,

ageofvoodooToday’s book is another in one of my favorite subgenres of SF, godpunk. I should hope it is what since that’s where the next novel I write will be firmly entrenched. While I started out in godpunk with American Gods (like everybody) and Mortal Coils, I think that James Lovegrove is writing some of the most interesting stuff in the subgenre. His Pantheon series is a series in theme only, the books aren’t actually connected so you can read them at your leisure. Each book is all about one pantheon of gods and how they affect the modern world. I’ve been reading these since they were new and I got wicked excited when I picked up Age of Voodoo.

Lovegrove started out with the Big Three when it comes to godpunk, Egyptians, Greeks and Vikings. After that he went into lesser known (to western audiences) pantheons and that is just inherently more interesting in itself. There are eight novels and novellas out or in the pipeline right now (Including Age of Shiva!) so these books are going into increasingly interesting territory. So how does Voodoo play with the modern world?

Let’s find out. Back of the Book time!

Lex Dove thought he was done with the killing game. A retired British wetwork specialist, he’s living the quiet life in the Caribbean, minding his own business. Then a call comes, with one last mission: to lead an American black ops team into a disused Cold War bunker on a remote island near his adopted home. The money’s good, which means the risks are high.

Dove doesn’t discover just how high until he and his team are a hundred feet below ground, facing the horrific fruits of an experiment blending science and voodoo witchcraft.

As if barely human monsters weren’t bad enough, a clock is ticking. Deep in the bowels of the earth, a god is waiting. And His anger, if roused, will be fearsome indeed.

Removing the fact that as a different pantheon, it will naturally have a different flavor than say the egotistic personalities in Age of Zeus or the ritual sacrifice for screwing up at work in Age of Aztec, this book takes a bit of a departure from the previous novels. I say novels because stylistically, Voodoo has more in common with the novella Age of Anansi than any of the others. There’s a “everyone’s invited to the party” sense that is used in a lot of godpunk. Up through Aztec the most another pantheon of gods got was a mention about being defeated earlier in human history. Voodoo also has a tighter focus. It’s one op in the Caribbean that affects the Caribbean. What’s at stake here isn’t exactly insignificant but it doesn’t really change the world. We’re also dealing with intermediaries rather than the gods themselves, or loa to use the proper vodoun terms. That’s actually true to how vodoun works for real even if it’s not as exciting having Thor or Ares punch things.

So all this about scope is one of those neutral things. Better or worse is all in the eye of the beholder. I happen to be of the school of thought that expectations going into a book have just as much to do with how much you enjoy it as the quality itself. If you’re expecting the same world spanning saves the day adventures, you won’t get it. I personally missed it a little bit but it wasn’t wholly unexpected because of the tone set in Anansi. Lex Dove is an assassin. In, out and you’ll never know he was there unless that’s part of the plan. Keeps everything small.

That’s not to say there isn’t some oomph to this story. What’s the number one thing that people expect reading a story involving voodoo monsters? Zombies! Or at least the equivalent Haitian French term that I can’t find in a flip through the book. These are original, proper zombies, the root of all the horror stories the world has ever seen. They’re a little different than traditional movie zombies but they still make for fun bad guys.

The learning curve is not as steep as Aztec but it’s still much more than Zeus or Odin. Not everyone is familiar with voodoo but Lex is an outsider being the Brit retired out to the Caribbean. Albertine is a vodoun priestess who packs the metaphysical punch for the book and does the explaining for Lex and the American team. I wish there was more metaphysical punching and a little less shooting.

The thematic choices of the book are nagging at me a bit after the fact though. The pacing, plotting and adventure satisfied me every bit while I was reading it. I think mostly what I want is more and I want it because I had it with the other books. I liked Age of Voodoo though. Lex Dove as a skeptic moving to acceptance and belief is a great story arc. When Albertine did get to play with her bag of tricks it was a lot of fun. Another one of the “give me mores” of this book is that I’d like to see the characters next story arc. Leaving me wanting more is always a good thing.

Overall, I actually think I liked Voodoo better than Aztec but Age of Odin is still my favorite of the set. (Seriously expecting the future Age of Shiva to bump that out though, cause fuck yeah Shiva!) I’ll especially recommend this one to people who like the small military op style of saving a chunk of the world.

My last batch of books brought a lot of sequels home lately and I’m continuing today with the InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire, specifically, Midnight Blue-Light Special. She’s a very prolific writer. Her big October Daye series has its eight book due this fall and she won a metric ton of awards and nominations for the Newsflesh series writing as Mira Grant. I started in when InCryptid was brandy new via recommendations from Scalzi and Jim Hines.

The series is really hitting its stride with Midnight. We’re getting right to it with Back of the Book time!

Bam!

Telepathic mathematicians. Chess-playing dragons. Boogeyman nightclub owners. Talking mice. The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity – and to protect humanity from them. Verity Price is just trying to do her job, keeping the native cryptid population of Manhattan from getting into trouble, and doing a little ballroom dancing on the side. But her tenure on the East Coast is coming to an end, and she’s still not sure what she wants to do with her life.

Enter Dominic De Luca, an operative of the Covenant of St. George, and Verity’s on-again, off-again boyfriend. When he tells her that the Covenant is sending a full team to assess how ready the city is for a purge, Verity finds herself between a rock and a hard place. Stay, and risk her almost-certain death, or flee, and leave the cryptids of New York with nothing between them and the Covenant.

It’s not the kind of choice that ever comes easy. With allies and enemies on every side, an no safe way to turn, it’s going to take some quickstepping for Verity to waltz out of this one. There’s just one question on everyon’s mind: Is this the last dance for Verity Price?

Point blank, I liked this one better than the first book, Discount Armageddon, which I blogged about before I really hit my groove with these posts so I’m not going to link back to it. There’s a lot of establishing world building that had to take place in Discount even though it’s a variant of New York. There’s Price family history, Covenant history as the baddies, plenty of different cryptids to describe and their whole interaction with the world around them. All those things are already done. Even with a year since I read Discount, I never felt any sort of steep learning curve with Midnight. I forgot a couple of names but McGuire caught me up without having to drop into an infodump, one of the hallmarks of a great sequel. You could get away with reading Midnight cold, but since Discount is a good book in its own right, there’s no real reason to.

The more of McGuire’s work I read, the more I think she is to urban fantasy as Cherie Priest is to steampunk. This series is everything that urban fantasy should aspire to. Granted, UF is somewhat of an umbrella term for a large swath of subgenres, but I still hang my hat on that statement. The InCryptid books should be considered a high water mark, a Tome for urban fantasy.

Let’s get specific to Midnight now though. There’s a Romeo and Juliet thing going on in this book which telescopes certain parts of the plot out ahead of you. This completely being flagged as a personal preference thing. If you like sneaky foreshadowing and romantic plot threads on the down low, you might get a bit annoyed. It doesn’t bother me one bit, the romance or picking up on what’s coming up. The Romeo and Juliet kind of romance certainly isn’t new, nor is it subtle, but it works. There’s a reason the world still reads the Bard after all these years.

Before anyone gets all in a wad over romance, first of all, get over it. People like each other. It creates conflict. Conflict creates good stories. The relationship plot thread certainly isn’t the only one in this book. There’s problem solving, ass kicking and shit hitting the fan (which involves more ass kicking). I think because the heavy lifting of the world building was done in Discount, all those plot threads were able to breathe a little bit better in this book. Verity’s supporting cast got more room to move around in Midnight too. Sarah, Verity’s adopted cousin and psychic cryptid herself, got POV chapters. McGuire was able to deftly pull off the “almost human but not quite” voice for Sarah. There was also a whole lot of Istas who is thoroughly awesome. She’s essentially an Inuit werebear that loves gothic lolita fashion. She pouts when she’s told she’s not supposed to talk about bloody carnage more than once per conversation with regular people. I would read a whole book about Istas.

I want to take some time to talk about the cover art for Midnight before I’m done. This may well turn into a full blog post later

Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire

Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire

but since this book has the cover I want to talk about, it’s appropriate here. Science fiction and fantasy as a whole suffer from an image problem when it comes to covers with women on them. Look at Jim Hines’ blog as it’s something he talks about in the most humorous ways while always having real valid points. Short version, SF doesn’t usually seem to realize that women can look good AND be tasteful about it at the SAME TIME. Urban fantasy as a subgenre seems to carry the stigma in its own special way to boot. It all too often has this “Buffy rip off” look about it. I think these things are starting to get better, particularly the Buffy look, but it’s still prevalent in the genre. The cover art for Midnight  breaks the mold in all the ways it should have been broken a long time ago. The characters are accurate to the story and they are entirely tasteful. Verity is wearing a regular cut shirt and jeans. Appropriate and practical ass kicking attire. Sarah is on the cover with Verity and she’s wearing a long sleeve sweater and a long skirt. Regular clothes. Entirely appropriate to a character that’s a self defined math nerd. While I think it’s unfortunate that tasteful and true to the story cover are a note worthy thing and not just the standard MO for the genre, I think it’s more important to point out the good examples of the genre thinking the way it should be than just harping on the bad. This cover art by Aly Fell is a cover that should be aspired to.

Doesn’t hurt it’s for a novel that should be aspired to as well.

Steampunk day. Again. Because reasons. And those reasons are largely because I like it. Steampunk is everywhere lately, it’s the hot thing. I’ve seen steampunk aesthetics on TV shows like Warehouse 13 (which I really need to catch up on) and merch at the “Random Crap from Asia” Store in the mall. You know that store, every mall has one. It’s got the display quality (at best) swords and Buddhas and little pots of bamboo. Well, they’ve got a steampunk wall now too. $80 for some goggles? Hell no. I have goggles. They cost me $7 on ebay and they’re Swiss military surplus.

So what do you do for a real goggle fix if you don’t want chintzy mall crap and can’t muster the credit card control to play on ebay? Read. Duh. Should be doing that anyways. And if you’re going to read steampunk, go for the end all be all, go to steampunk series, The Clockwork Century by Cherie Priest. I’ve got the latest in the series, The Inexplicables.

Back of the book time!

Rector “Wreck-em” Sherman was one of many kids orphaned by the Blight of 1863, but one of very few who made it to his eighteenth birthday. As a reward, he’s being cast out of the orphanage he grew up in. But Wreck’s problems don’t stop there. He’s been breaking the cardinal rule of any good drug dealer and dipping into his own sap supply. He also things he’s being hunted by the ghost of a kid he used to know – Zeke Wilkes, who died six months ago, after Wreck helped him get into the walled city of Seattle.

Maybe the haunting is only his guitly conscience, but Wreck can’t take it anymore, so he sneaks over the wall. Once there, he finds that Zeke isn’t as dead as he thought… but the wasteland of Seattle is as bad as he’d heard; chock full of hungry undead and smothered by the poisonous, inescapable yellow gas. And then there are the newcomers: not at all human, but not rotters, either. Arms too long, eyes all wild, murderously violent, and know to the locals simply as “The Inexplicables.”

Seattle’s de facto leader, Yaozu, gives Rector his first real job: to track down these creatures before they do any more harm. In the process, Rector finds another set of dangerous intruders, lured there by greed. Something valuable lurks within the city wall, and the newcomers will kill to take it… which means that Rector needs to figure out where his loyalties lie. Fast.

All of The Clockwork Century books tie in with each other, but are essentially stand alone books. I approve of this, especially since I’m missing one for some reason. Minor characters in one book are the stars of another. Rector actually shows up early on in the first of the series, Boneshaker, although what with the fact that I’m bad at names and I read that other book two years ago, I completely forgot about it until the book prodded me with what he did. It’s that “helped him get into the walled city of Seattle” bit from above. Rector went from two scenes to push the plot forward to the star of the show.

He’s kind of an ass though. If you’re familiar with the series, the Blight gas that shut down Seattle can be turned into sap. Sap gets people high as a kite and is sold as such. Too much sap and you turn yourself into a rotter, i.e. zombie. Remember, back of the book told use that Rector is a user as well as a dealer. On page one, he’s one bad trip away from becoming a rotter himself. Which kind of makes him a tool. Oh he’s not so miserable that I ever wanted to put down the book, but definitely a tool.

Eventually the character warmed up to me. Took just as long to warm up to the other characters in Seattle. Back of the book already said Zeke isn’t dead so we know he shows up again and so does Huey. Seeing as they’re practically the only teenagers in Seattle, they end up paling around. Huey in particular didn’t seem to like Rector much though their relationship progressed for the positive once Rector got clean as the book went on. Rector’s mind clears as he gets off the sap and the clarity of his thinking is something you can track through the book. The plot actually takes a bit of time to get working and it moves pretty evenly with the amount of time that Rector takes to get his head clear.

Rector’s missions are The Inexplicable and the Other Intruders. I picked up on what was going on with both forks of the story pretty early on. I liked them both although the Other Intruders had more impact on the well being of Seattle whereas The Inexplicable was almost a personal quest for Rector (even though he did have a crew with him for the quest). The two plot tangents never quite came together like I thought they would but meh, they were both satisfying in their own way and neither left dangling threads. I can call those victories.

I like being back in Seattle again. Dreadnaught was about Mercy Lynch getting from the deep south to Seattle. Ganymede is about airship captain Anton Cly doing a job in New Orleans. Seeing the rest of the world of this series is great, you know I love world building, but Seattle is the anchor for this series. This time around our view of the city is expanded somewhat which I am all for.

So I liked world and the writing and all sorts of stuff right down the sepia tone ink they use for the printing, not to mention the series has some of the best covers in SF. I eventually liked Rector… well enough. But characters don’t have to be likeable for a book to be good or even great. (See Desert Spear for that) While I still think it’s a toss up between Boneshaker and Ganymede for best in the series, The Inexplicables is a hell of a read. I’d really like to see where Rector ends up.