A few weeks ago, Kit described a book she was reading thusly:
'which is so good I can hardly put it down to go to bed on time. Seriously, this is The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress meets the modern Battlestar Galactica meets Firefly with a detective story thrown in for good measure.'
That's a pretty bold statement. The type of statement that a Robert Heinlein/Joss Whedon has to take personally(haven't seen the new Battlestar, but didn't hear much bad about it).
I ran right out to buy it, and finished it yesterday.
Her description was a very accurate way of describing the feel of the book and the setting of the book...I'm just not quite ready to put it next the The Moon is a Harsh Mistress yet...although, in Kit's defence, you can tell from Kit's post that she hadn't finished the book yet, and that it could go down hill at some point.
It's not so much that 'it went downhill'...it just started strong and wasn't quite able to maintain that strength all the way through.
So. In this book an interplanetary drive has been developed which gives the human race easy access through the solar system, but is not quite enough to get us out of the solar system. The book gets it's Firefly feel from the way that the Outerplanet Moons and the Asteroid Belts, settled by prospectors and roughnecks, don't really get along with the Mars and Earth who kind of co-rule in a very uneasy alliance.
When the book begins, a good job is done of getting this fragile situation across. You get a real feeling that everything is a powder keg just waiting for a match. A match that is provided by a missing starship, and then a salvage operation that goes bad.
You get The Moon is a Harsh Mistress feel from the way life is described in the corridors and domes in The Belt, as well as the way they talk about tossing rocks down the Gravity Well.
It's not a bad book...far from it, and I really enjoyed the first 90-95% of it. I just wasn't 100% pleased with the ending. It was a pretty major zig, and I'm not sure it matches the rest of the book.
Worth reading? Yeah...it's a good distraction, and a really good job of painting what I think would a be realistic look at the settling/mining of The Belt and the Outer Moons.