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Saturdays in Books

Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.

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The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent
Kathryn Morrow, James K. Morrow

Review: Space Opera

Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

File under "Appreciated More Than Enjoyed." 


The tag line for this is epic and perhaps I set my expectations too high. I expected the long asides, they're the glue that holds together the nonsense ride of a plot in HHGTTG. I liked the referenced, and recycled, but not quite stolen whole cloth versions of the babblefish and infinite improbability drive. I expected the spectacle of Eurovision as illustrated through wildly different alien species. I did not expect the talking cat, but I did like the talking cat. 


I also didn't expect that, after publishing The Refrigerator Monologues, a book dedicated to the female characters of comics who died to provide motivation for male comic book heroes, Valente would center the character motivations of her two male protagonists on the death of a woman and build the narrative around her absence. I thought Trillian got the short end of the stick in Adam's comedy, but at least she was there.


I have other complaints, that the asides are a little too long and the end a little rushed. Mostly, though, I think they all boil down to the same issue: If this had been a novelette instead of a novel length work, I'd probably have loved it. This is just too long for as little as happens, and I had too much time to think about what I didn't like while waiting for anything to happen.