Sometimes I have a small craving for science fiction, and it kicks in especially when reading regular fiction drama (in this case Lorrie Moore, in one of her slightly more serious novels, which I am 3/4 way through and was just getting depressed and not looking forward to reading, so I decided to switch). I randomly picked up On the Steel Breeze, by Alastair Reynolds, at Recycle Books in San Jose, our local used bookstore. My assessment: it definitely was a break, but frustrating. poorly written and poorly plotted, this space opera has a lot of interesting elements (3 clone central character, several levels of AI interacting with humans, super-advanced but silent “alien” intelligence). But the science, the character development, the plot, were all underwhelming, and I found myself engaged in reading drudgery that quickly leads to skipping. So, a decent airplane or resort sci-fi if expectations are low, but this is no Ted Chiang. The readers of Goodreads appear to have liked it more than I did.
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