Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Nanoreviews [books]: Runtime, Forest of Memory, Central Station

Divya, S.B. Runtime [ Publishing, 2016]

An adventure race featuring cybernetically enhanced competitors is probably part of our reasonably near future and it's a concept I'm happy to visit and revisit as many times as folks want to write stories about it. Divya works with the idea that most of the competitors will have corporate sponsors and state of the art equipment, while her protagonist will be desperate to bootstrap herself and her family out of subsistence living and put herself through college. Runtime mostly works for me, but I'm having a difficult time putting my finger on what doesn't. I wanted perhaps another twenty or thirty pages to dig in, either as part of the race or the aftermath, but I also somehow wanted less and I'm not sure how to put all of that together. It's good. I think I wanted it to be more.
Score: 7/10

Kowal, Mary Robinette. Forest of Memory [ Publishing, 2016]

In a not too distant future everyone live streams every aspect of their life. It becomes a weird public record, but what happens when you can't record, can't verify what you claim to have happened? Like, when you are kidnapped in the forest and after your eventual rescue, try to tell an implausible story about what happened during that lost time? Forest of Memory is written with Kowal's easy flowing prose and is a top notch novella.
Score: 8/10

Tidhar, Lavie. Central Station [Tachyon, 2016]

This is an instance of the reader and the book not meshing at all. I expect that Central Station will receive heaps and heaps of praise and will be lauded and nominated for awards. All that may even be justified, but I am so clearly not the reader for this book. While I was able to mostly follow the meandering stories of the various characters as their own distinct entities, they never coalesced into a whole that I could grab a hold of and engage with. Tidhar's setting of a future Tel Aviv renamed as Central Station, a major spaceport, is open for any number of stories to be told in and around the teeming ideas he has filled the city with, but for me, Central Station is far too diffuse to appreciate.
Score: 6/10

POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Writer / Editor at Adventures in Reading since 2004. Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2015, editor since 2016. Minnesotan.