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Saturday February 25, 2006
Book Review: Boundary, by Eric Flint and Ryk Spoor
I just finished taking a vacation day. I decided to read a book -- Boundary, by Eric Flint and Ryk Spoor. I couldn't resist. It had a picture on the front of dinosaurs fighting over a crashed spacecraft.
This was my kind of story: Hard science-fiction, Heroes-and-Heroines, and a Happy Ending. And it doesn't hurt that "The Tayler Corporation" gets a couple of prominent mentions, along with credit for using "carbonan" to make spacesuits.
The story is set in the near future (mid-21st century), and begins with an archaological dig that uncovers something unexpected and completely unprecedented. There are three things driving the story forward: the characters, who are engaging, funny, and now feel like friends fo mine; the archeo-paleontological puzzle, which is nicely engaging; and the authors' love for explaining how things work.
That last bit may be a bit of a weakness in the book. Sometimes characters explain technology to others who really should already understand it. This is forgivable since only a fellow writer or a critic is going to catch it in this case. There are a whole lot of "narrated" explanations, though, which is less forgivable, because the narrator isn't an especially interesting character (in this book the narrator isn't a character at all). Fortunately, the technological explanations themselves are interesting, and THAT is what kept me going. The book was pretty easy to put down around page 20 (just after the first of the technical narrations), but once I picked it back up I only stopped to eat and excrete.
This is Ryk Spoor's first book with Eric Flint, and his second with Baen books. I've loved Eric's 1632 series, and enjoyed Ryk's Digital Knight. This book establishes them both as fine collaborators (and further establishes them as fine writers, but I've never doubted that.)