Sunday, January 30, 2011

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill

What You Need To Know:  This is a highly-derivative, but fun, fast-paced sci-fi book.

Summary:  Durango is out of luck.  A highly trained Regulator, he should have committed suicide for the disgrace his father brought upon him.  He didn't, and now he has to live on the fringes of Martian society.  His only companions are Vienne, his deadly but beautiful lieutenant and Mimi, the AI planted in his head.  When miners seek his help to protect their settlement from the cannibalistic Draeu, he has no choice.  So he rounds up what crew he can and sets off to the mines.  But the miners are hiding something; something that terrifies Durango.

What Worked:  This is a fun book to read, with lots of explosions, bullets and cannibal attacks. Things move fast, and the snappy banter, mostly between Durango and Mimi, keeps everything light.

What Didn't:  To put it bluntly, there's not much of anything that's original here.  I counted tropes from  Firefly, The Magnificent Seven, Total Recall, Red Mars, Bioshock,  and Star Wars. You could argue that there's nothing new under the sun, but that is a lot of borrowing.  Even the title (which doesn't have ANYTHING to do with the story) is lifted from a popular song.

However: I'm a middle aged geek.  I cut my teeth on some of this stuff.  So to me, this is just an old tale retold.  Your average 14 year old kid?  Not going to notice or care that Durango is basically a younger version of Capt. Mal Reynolds and that the plot is lifted from a 60 year old Western.*

Who Would I Give this Book To:  This is a great guy book, lots of action and a hot chick.  Fans of "space opera" would like it too.

* Yes, I know The Magnificent Seven is based on The Seven Samurai.  I've never seen the Kurasowa film, but I've seen Yul Brenner in that Mexican town more times than I can count.  Dad was a big western fan.

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