May 11 2007

Zenith Angle

Published by at 4:02 pm under Books

by Bruce Sterling

I picked this book off a library shelf on the strength of the author’s reputation. I’ve heard some interesting podcasts of his talks, and he is a well regarded science fiction writer. However, this book is not a science fiction tale, and overall I was disappointed. The story is a post 9/11 spy, technology and political thriller (satire?). The main character is brilliant as is typical. Somewhat atypically, this brilliant ex professor falls in with a government funded, freelance mercenary and becomes a killer himself. Also atypically, the hero is married, doesn’t chase beautiful women, and stays married. The story has a definite feel of an Ann Rand sort of brilliant individualist against the system.

As it is set in the recent past, it is full of references to real people and real events. That got to be tedious as it felt like too much name dropping instead of plot or character development. Many or the references were somewhat science or technology oriented. I found myself skimming a lot.

The jacket has glowing reviews from other respected authors. Two out of three think it a funny satire and one a manual on government workings enhanced with dry humor. It had some of both, but this book wasn’t for me.

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