Wednesday, December 28, 2011

[JD's Take] Unfinished books 2011

Well as the year comes to an end, I thought I'd do some very small reviews of the books that I didn't manage to finish this year. Hopefully there aren't so many that this goes long.

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton
I got about a third of the way into this before giving up on it. Lisabit liked it a lot, but I just couldn't get into it. While the idea for the world was original and well executed (it's a world where dragons are the primary and dominant species, and the details and implications of that are interestingly explored and well though out) the actual plot and characters just didn't draw me in. It's very much "Pride and Prejudice and Dragons" and the whole drama of manners things just didn't do it for me.

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
I tried. I really, really tried. I read 393 pages of this and I can see why it's such a classic, but... ugh. This shares many of the flaws of Heinlein-esque hard science fiction that drive me so crazy. The engineering, physics, terraforming, and other science are extremely well though out, well presented, and fascinating. I loved those parts! However, so much of this book is taken up with the worst kind of interpersonal melodrama that I just couldn't bring myself to read another page. It's the worst kind of overwrought, badly charecterized, soap-opera style nonsense. There are also pretty serious pacing issues, if I recall, but the "science writer trying to be dramatic" is what killed it for me.

Well, that wasn't so many failures this year! Of course, that's likely because I didn't read so very much this year. I suppose my year-in-review post will tell.