Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sci-Fi book review for Eric Brown's "Engineman"

So, a few weeks ago, I gave you the 5 Sci-Fi Books You Should Read in 2013. In there I laid out some things. First, I am an avid Sci-Fi fan. Now, I didn't say that I am a RABID one...just an AVID one. I have never been to any conventions or anything, but I grew up watching the Classics.

Anyway, I started reading Sci-Fi at a very early age. I try to read as much as I can, though I admit that I don't read nearly as much as I like. I read a pretty verbose spread of Sci-Fi but I find that many times I am not satisfied with books and I wish I wouldn't have spent the money.

So, I decided to review some books. I realize that my opinion is just that, and you should all take it with a grain of salt. After all, I frequently buy books based on their covers.

A few years back, I picked up Eric Browns "Helix". I loved the book and I felt he did a fantastic job. I admit that I am hard on books and if they don't suck me in or they stall in the middle, I have no problem putting them down for good. Helix was unique, easy to read (meaning, not too deep of a plot), and kept me interested.

A few months, I was at The Book Shelf and noticed the Eric Brown book. Having loved "Helix", I bought "Engineman".

The description on Amazon says:
"Once they pushed big ships through the cobalt glory of the Nada-Continuum, but faster than light isn't fast enough anymore. The interfaces of the Keilor-Vincicoff Organisation bring planets light years distant a simple step away. Then a man with half a face offers ex-engineman Ralph Mirren the chance to escape his ruined life and push a ship to an undisclosed destination. The Nada-Continuum holds the key to Ralph's future. What he cannot anticipate is its universal importance-nor the mystery awaiting him on the distant colony world of Reach."
In the first 10 pages, the personality of our protagonist is vividly described as well as his, and all enginemen's, plight. The #1 thing about this book that made it unique to me was that, through is description of the plight, I identified with Mirren. not because of any real reason, just that the helplessness and uselessness of their condition was so well described. I could feel the plight as my be of vast importance and prestige and to be rendered useless and irrelevant in such a short period. It is of particular importance to today's economy where people have lost jobs of high pay and prestige and reduced to unemployment or minimum wage jobs.
The plot is unique, though it conjures images of once proud and now outdated and antiquated ideals like America's rail systems, the Native American culture, and other very real examples of cultures destroyed by technology. It is easy reading with out a complex plot. You can sit it down for weeks and pick it right back up. To some, that may not be attractive, and while I do like a deep and textured plot, I do not like having too many twists and turns that I have to remember.
My only faults with the book are that some of the main characters are incredibly detailed while others who drive the plot are not. The finality of the book itself is wrapped up in about 20 pages, very similar to a Tolkien novel. Many of the driving secondary forces of the plot, like the relationship between Ella and Hunter, are drawn to a close with little fanfare. one of the main complaints I have READ is that it is wordy, but I much prefer a wordy description of surroundings, feelings, etc so that I can more closely identify with the plot.
Over all, I give this book a SOLID 3 star rating, bordering on 3.5