Saturday, December 22, 2007

I read a book co-written by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston. Ooo. Ouch. The first fiction novel I read in the past year and a half had to be the worst one ever written in the English language. Just my luck.

I'm not being fair. I bet thriller, and especially techno-thriller, fans loved this work. It did many things right, including good pacing, the fate of the Earth in the balance, and characters who aren't too well-developed so the action isn't slowed at critical points to consider the gray-shaded morality of real life, etc. The problem I have is that I'm part of the audience Mr. Card developed by writing a very different thing. Science Fiction, at its best, is full of ambiguity, characters, complex alternate worlds, and all sorts of things that would interrupt the movie-like experience of a great page-turning thriller.

Aaron Johnston wrote this book, which I should have known because I've never heard of him. Not only has he already had a better career than I will ever have as a writer, he'll have continued and future successes.

The problem comes from having Orson Scott Card's name on the cover. Anyone - by which I mean me - buying this book expecting a novel worthy of Card's previous body of work (by the measure of those who value the aspects that made Card's work great), would be sorely disappointed.

Note to self: Don't buy two-author books in the future where the more famous one is the writer I like. Lesson learned.

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