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Posted July 8, 2011
What a Wreck of a Story
[CAUTION CONTAINS SPOILERS]
I've never read anything from this author before, however, the premise of this book really appealed to me. I found the mystique of diving into an ancient earth space vessel that leads to another dimension very intriguing. Especially since said vessel's technology dates backs before a time for its own potential to exist.
Unfortunately, this story didn't intrigued me as I had hoped. I was very disappointed with how the discovery of another dimension was handled. It was so blasé. They find a doorway to another dimension and instead of exploring it, they blow it up? What is the point? Nothing really became of the story. There was lack of a sense of adventure you expect to find with stories that concentrate on exploration of the unknown. There wasn't much action and the heroine spent most of her time thinking, researching books and databases, instead of exploring the final frontier.
I did manage to read this entire book, however, I do admit to skipping through the long-winded parts [which were many]. I gave this book one-star because it wasn't entirely all bad [and because B&N doesn't allow you to rate a book ZERO stars]. There were a couple of dives that piqued my curiosity but like the rest of the story they all seem to fall flat.
I honestly don't feel like I'm missing out if I banish this series from my reading list. Basically I found this book a waste of my time and I will not be reading book 2 in this series. In addition, this book is way over priced; thank goodness I checked this book out from the library instead of buying it. What a waste of a potentially brilliant storyline.
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Diving the Wreck Goes in the Tank
This is a dismal outing all around. Readers of Rusch's other SF works will know that the science part of her science fiction is sketchy at best, and it hits a new low in this novel. The plot and characters fare no better.
Despite its far future setting, where humans have prowled the depths of space for many thousands of years, spacesuits are fragile things that can be easily damaged, and apparently can only carry enough air for a couple of hours. Our current astronauts can manage better than that (apparently re-breather technology has been lost in the misty past along with the "stealth tech" that forms a focal point of the story.) In most places where technology is mentioned, it is glossed over as quickly and opaquely as possible.
Part of the joy of science fiction is in imagining the technology of the far future. Rusch instead tries to mumble her way through it and hope that no one notices. This lack of technical acumen is tolerable in the Retrieval Man series, where the characters are stronger and more interesting, but here it guts the already weak story.
The main character is a mess of contradictions: a renowned wreck diver, she is not a very good spaceship pilot or explorer; sometimes she's timid to the point of exasperation, other times she is reckless. She shares the paranoia of another Rusch protagonist, the able Miles Flint of the Recovery Man series, and after seeing some of the same character traits recycled here, one begins to think that Rusch's bag of tricks is quite small indeed.
In passages where "The Boss", as the main character is known, interacts with her crew, she seems completely inept. She keeps having insights about other characters' facial expressions, then fails to make any sort of lucid comment that plays on that character's divined mental state.
Well before I got within spitting distance of the conclusion, I no longer cared what happened, because I no longer believed in the characters or the setting. I've read plenty of books that were just blah, but this one is so aggressively bad that it actually reached out and killed my suspension of disbelief.
A huge disappointment, and best avoided.
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