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Griffin’s Egg, Michael Swanwick, St. Martin’s, 1992, ISBN 0-312-06989-8

The protagonist is a loner on the Moon who wants nothing more than to be left alone to commune with virgin territory, but circumstances throw him into proximity with others as well as wake him up to responsibility. This is a grand theme in the old SF tradition–in fact, except for the explicit sex and the up-to-date science references (specifically, nanotech), this is something that wouldn’t have been out of place in 50s SF. This is a short book, technically a novella, that oftentimes seems rushed. The pacing was kind of a jump-up and wait proposition, very irregular feeling. I noticed a particularly egregious bit of plotting on page 73–one of the characters is talking about a dangerous bit of science, and notices a cannister missing, and says aloud to the other two characters:

…’That’s curious. Why are there two cylinders missing?’

‘What’s that?’ Ekatarina said. ‘I didn’t catch what you just said.’

‘Oh, nothing important…’

Yeah, right. Nothing important, my ass; the other cannister deprived half of the colony of their sanity, and it’s not important that there’s still a cannister missing? Michael Swanwick has done much better than this in both characters and plot.

[Finished 21 January 1993]


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