19 February, 2013

Pros and Cons

James P. Hogan

I'm still in two minds about Alien Sky, completely unable to decide if i enjoyed it or not; silly me.

Points in favour: The gradual understanding of the past history of Terra and the links with Venusian history and origins; the developing relationship/love interest between the two chief protagonists; the way Hogan slowly develops and reveals his plot, allowing the reader to make the occasional satisfying leap ahead of him and his characters.

Points against: The names ~ petty of me, but i found them difficult, more so than many other SF names i have come across; the sub-plot about the Venusian Progressives, and that of Jenyn, the primary antagonist, if there is such a thing; the chapter of nothing but prosaic explanation Hogan found necessary towards the end, rather than allowing his plot to develop and be revealed through action and conversation; the cavalier fashion in which Hogan treats the current understandings of science, cosmic history and stability, evolution, and assorted other foundational beliefs of current culture.

Overall, i think this is a bit more hard science-ey than much SF i have read and enjoyed ~ Asimov, Heinlein, Dick, for example ~ and perhaps that shows in my feelings of ambivalence. Nevertheless, i have finished it, and will not run a mile if i come across Hogan again, which surely makes it at least a qualified success for me.

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