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Old 28th Oct 2004, 10:30   #1
Bertie
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Default Adam Roberts

Salt was a magnificent book. A group of colonists are sent out to inhabit a planet only the survey got it wrong. A group of weirdo space hippies and religious bigots are left to survive in inhospitable conditions. Misunderstanding combines with prejudice and the whole society starts to fall apart. None of the protagonists are particularly likeable, but it's a fantastic book. Wow, I thought to myself, a new sci fi author with talent and ideas and the ability to combine the two into amazing novels.

Next was On. After being blown away by Salt I couldn't wait to tear into this book. How very glum I was. It was absolute pants. People cling to life on little ledges, if you fall off the edge you die. There's a sciency bit at the end of the book explaining it all, but to me it read like bunkum. And the actual ending of the book was nonsense.

So then I read Stone. The only living criminal in human space is living inside an inescapable prison. Can you guess the next bit? Yes, he escapes to commit one last crime. It was more sciency than Salt, but the people weren't as richly drawn and the plot didn't really draw me in at all. An ok book, better than On, but still lacking that undefinable 'something'.

So I just finished reading Polystom, which is what prompted me to start the thread. It was really incredibly boring. Adam Roberts seems to have turned into a substandard guess the twist author. Only he's of the don't give them all the necessary infomation until the very end school, so you can't guess the end and I just find that really annoying. It's cheating.

I have The Snow waiting to be read. It has a lovely, intriguing blurb on the back cover. But that's the main problem with his books. They have such wonderful descriptions and with the exception of Salt they all fail to live up to them. The Snow is a post-apocalyptic novel and I'm sure there'll be some disappointing twist there somewhere. It's all so very depressing.
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Old 28th Oct 2004, 10:40   #2
John Self
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Are these in chronological order, Bertie? If so, then Roberts (I think I saw The Snow being praised somewhere recently, perhaps being 'personally recommended' in a local Waterstone's) seems to be suffering from what we doctors call Banks's Disorder - a tendency to produce such a good debut (or in extreme cases such as with the originator of the syndrome, several good early books) that otherwise sensible readers continue to read the later output even as it becomes clear that the ideas have dried up, the enthusiasm has gone and the editor is on holiday. When will we learn??
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Old 28th Oct 2004, 11:23   #3
Bertie
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They are in order, yes. And I know I shouldn't continue reading, but I also know that I will. It's inevitable. I did give up on Banks at least. His contemporary stuff anyway, I still enjoy his sci fi. A Song of Stone was the final nail in the coffin. But with Adam Roberts, Salt is still good enough to keep me going for a while and I'm still enjoying my righteous indignation at being so very cheated.
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