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Bookworm 2012: Bloody Murder

Posted on | December 16, 2012 | No Comments

James SA Corey - Leviathan WakesSuddenly, things got personal.

Leviathan Wakes by the merged duo unified under the moniker James SA Corey is a lightly written though heavy and dark in tone planetary space opera, with just a smidgeon of hard SF underpinning and a detective story smeared on top. It was to be an ideal beach book (space zombies!), treating subject matter I enjoyed, but sufficiently lightly so as not to overstrain my brain as I’m dipping my toes in the brine.

Well, it did not overstrain it. It snapped it.

About half way through, it became clear to me that Leviathan Wakes was slowly morphing into the novel I have been trying to write for the past two NaNoWriMos. Not quite a one-to-one match, with the exception of the chief antagonist which was literally identical, but sufficient that if I continued writing, everyone would think I was aping their story, writing poorly masked teenage fanfic.

James SA Corey - Caliban's WarAnd so, reading became simultaneously a joy and a torture. Joy, because that was, more or less, the book I wanted to write, and hence, it was a subject matter close to heart. Torture, because of the cold, harsh feeling in the back of my mind as I realized the unfinished manuscript would remain forever so. The second book in the series, Caliban’s War, only made things worse, correcting tiny differences, such as transplanting certain key events from, essentially, a space station, to the surface of a planet. A different planet from what I had in mind, but still, a gods-damn-motherfucking-planet. It was a disaster.

Yet, at the same time, a well written disaster, slightly pulpy in style and so perfect for beach reading, unless you are easily put off your piña colada by lengthy descriptions of space-zombie gore and/or radiation poisoning vomit shenanigans. Spaceflight and space combat are rendered sufficiently believable not to require active engagement to suspend disbelief, and, particularly in the second book, our protagonists are, thankfully, not always right, a plot feature often missing in novels such as this one.

So, well written space detectives, space war, space diplomacy, space spies, space aliens and space zombies, and that’s just the first two books, with likely more cool space stuff to follow in the concluding part of this trilogy. Now that I am pretending to be over my murdered novel-to-be, I can’t wait to read it.

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  • Goodreads

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