Velocity Weapon by Megan O’Keefe, Orbit Books, June 2019 trade paper
I read a September 6th post on the Black Gate blog about this book in which John O’Neal said:
“The last book in [her previous] series appeared in 2017, so I’ve been keeping my eye out for something new from her, and it finally arrived early this summer. And it looks like space opera, my favorite genre!”
Plot: The last thing Sanda Greeve remembers is her ship being attacked by rebel forces. She’s resuscitated from her evacuation pod missing half a leg — and two centuries — as explained to her by the AI of the rebel ship that rescued her. As The Light of Berossus — aka Bero — tells her, she may be the only living human for light-years around, as the war wiped both sides out long ago. Sanda struggles to process her injuries and her grief but finds friendship with the lonely spaceship itself.
But there are two other plots, mingled together with Sanda’s story. One is a flashback narrative about the war’s effects on her brother, Biran, the second is about a heist gone terribly wrong for small-time criminal Jules.
So, three locations, three time frames, three sets of characters, between which the novel jumps at will. That’s not my favorite set-up, as many of you might know. I prefer straight-ahead storytelling.
Kirkus said this was “Meticulously plotted, edge-of-your-seat space opera with a soul; a highly promising science-fiction debut.”
Well, no. I got a copy from the library and was glad it was free. I’d rate it just okay.
Have you read this book? What are you reading?
I finished two books in the last week: Dissolution by C. J. Sansom, and an Ed McBain book, Killer’s Choice, #5 in the series. Both were good.
Next I will be reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. Just a novella, so it should not take me long.
Barbara has read a ton of McBain books, but I have read just one, and can’t recall the title. That Capote is one I haven’t read, though I have seen the film more than once.
This Week I read A Life in Movies by Irwin Winkler, a producer and sometimes director who has worked a lot with Martin Scorcese. It was mildly entertaining. Also the well reviewed Future of another Timeline by Annalee Newitz. A feminist SF novel. Well written but after a while I got tired of all white men being misogynist rapists and racists. Right now I’m reading The Return of the Incredible Exploding Ma by Dave Hutchinson who wrote the excellent Europe quartet. I’m about 3/4 thru it and am enjoying it a lot despite the silly title. Next up the new James sallies, and Debbie Harry’s autobiography.
That seems to be the trend, Steve: men are slime, white men doubly so, especially by women authors and even more by “feminist” women authors. We’re all being pilloried by the actions of a few.
I saw a review of the Harry autobiography in the paper, but skipped past it. I’ll just listen to the music instead.
“All white men being misogynist rapists and racists.” Only in the White House, these days.
Reading MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER which is pretty near perfect, Short, tight, interesting in its setting. Likable protagonist. Next up in the Kent Kruger book. Also still reading RULES OF CIVILITY, which has won me over in its second half.
Debating buying YOU PLAY THE BLACK AND THE RED COMES UP (Richard Hallas), which Megan recommended. also THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS, about Salka Viertel. I have so many books Megan has enthused over and I bought because my library never has them.
Back in the mid-80s (I believe) someone started a line of “classy” hardbacks and YOU PLAY THE BLACK was one of them. (It was also reprinted in paperback by Black Lizard, and ABE has copies for $5 plus postage.) I bought it and read it and, from what I can remember, Megan was right. I think you would like it.
Agree on MY SISTER, a very good book.
All of Barbara’s friends have been raving about BEING MORTAL by Atul Gawande, so she got it from the library and just started it. Have you read it? She read the Krueger and liked it a lot, as we do all of his books. I haven’t heard of THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS.
Is the Kent Kruger book not in the KK book.
Fixed. The Krueger is a stand alone, not a Cork O’Conner.
It’s funny you mentioned that, as I had two Space Opera type novels downloaded from the library, and had read a chapter of each, when I suddenly realized that no, I wasn’t really in the mood for SF at the moment, and returned them both. I have several mysteries on hand but not sure which I will read first. In the meantime, I finished four books I’d been reading at the same time, all in two days:
First was Richard Russo’s STRAIGHT MAN, an entertaining academic comedy set in central Pennsylvania. The Crippen & Landru 25th Anniversary anthology, SILVER BULLETS, which I enjoyed a lot, had only one story I’d read before, and plenty of fine stuff by Brendan Dubois, Carolyn Wheat (a hippie commune near Woodstock in 1970 is the setting), Terrence Faherty, Liza Cody, Michael Z. Lewin, etc. A disappointing title was A FIELD GUIDE TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE by Dave Barry, Adam Mansbach, and Alan Zweibel. Read Dave’s BOOK OF BAD SONGS instead. Fourth was THE RAIN by Dervla McTiernan, set in Galway, Ireland, and an excellent debut. I already have the sequel from the library. Yesterday I finished SARAH JANE, latest by the superb writer James Sallis. I am reading THE BEST OF MANHUNT (which Rick mentioned a week or two ago) now.
Jackie is mostly reading books on the Kindle or the phone (Cloud Reader), as it hurts her wrist to hold real books open for too long.
Jeff, I’ve been having bad luck with books of late. I read a review, think the book will be good, get it from the library and am disappointed. Three sf books in a row of late, this being the only one I even finished. So, since I have no more books on hold just now, I’ve decided to try reading some of the many, many short story books I have on the shelves.
I thought about that C&L anniversary book, but I just have too many books already. Since the library never gets their books, I’ll just skip it. I read the first three Sallis books, and liked them, but that’s it. I see they’re all being republished.
Space Opera seems to be the flavor of the year. Not a week goes by without at leas on Space Opera volume showing up on BLACK GATE. And, like you, I’ve been persuaded to buy a few…and found them just okay. I much prefer Space Opera from David Brin, Alastair Reynolds, and Charles Stross over much of the current stuff.
Exactly. Too many of them are readable but no more than OK.
And Charles Sheffield. Yes, most of the fails I mentioned to Jeff above came from Black Gate reviews.
I try to avid reading books only based on their reviews. My personal tastes are just too quirky for that.
I spent much of the week trying to get my books organized and cataloged; There’s well over ninety bankers boxes of them so it should take me a couple of months. (That’s about one-fifth of what I used to own.) Anyway, not much reading done.
My FFB this week was a collection of two round-robin novellas from the 50s by members of England’s The Detection Club, CRIME ON THE COAST AND NO FLOWERS BY REQUEST. Interesting, but nothing major. I’m still wondering where they got the title for the second novella because there was nothing like that in the story. I also read (and greatly enjoyed) Richard Matheson’s THE MEMOIRS OF WILD BILL HICKOK. Is there anything he wrote that wasn’t less than wonderful? J. G. Ballard’s THE ATROCITY EXHIBITION (US title LOVE AND NAPALM: EXPORT U.S.A. is a 60s collection of his experimental, “New Age” stories (sometimes) masquerading as a novel. A collection of dense, often difficult, but ultimately rewarding stories with a vicious satiric edge, these tales explore our fascination with sex, violence, death, and the cult of personality. Not to everyone’s liking, but a very important book.
Just two graphic novels this week: The very confusing 30th anniversary retrospective of DC’s John Constantine, reprinting stories written by various people from Alan Moore on. Sadly, the stories are printed out of context, rendering the entire book meaningless. More coherent and entertaining was BATMAN BY ED BRUBAKER, collecting stories written by Brubaker during his run at the comic book. Brubaker is one of my favorite comics writers and this book did not disappoint.
Still reading short stories, lately early Poul Anderson from ASTOUNDING, always worthwhile. I just started F. Paul Wilson’s DYDEETOWN WORLD, a fairly early novel of his — the fourth in the LaNague Federation series — and things are not looking pretty. Wilson used a heavy-handed future jargon in this tale of a down-and-out P.I. in a world where clones are despised. I’m not sure how m much more I can take of this writing but I may finish it simply because I’m such a big fan of his later writing.
My you have better luck with books this week, Rick.
Thanks, Jerry. I’m moving to short stories, which may be an improvement. I hope so. What is the source of those Poul Anderson stories? I have the NESFA books, but I suspect you’re reading them elsewhere.
What software are you using to catalog your books?
Ah, Rick, Rick, Rick…you forget what a technological Luddite I am. Wouldn’t know how toi load the software and, even if I could, I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I’m cateloging old-school, with pen and paper. **sigh**
I’ve been reading the Anderson stories via scans of the original magazines at luminist.org/achives