Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Firebird, by Jack McDevitt

So now I have caught up on the Alex Benedict series, with its latest installment Firebird, nominated for a Nebula this year. 

This one is quite an entertaining read.  One can see the maturing of the series as it goes along--the characters get better, and more interesting stuff is in the plots.  In Firebird, physicist Christopher Robin (and no reference to Pooh!) is investigating the occasional appearance of mystery ships.  They fade in, but are often so ancient they can't communicate, and fade out again.  Robin himself disappeared mysteriously.  Some of his belongings are brought in for auction, which puts Kolpath and Benedict on his trail.  And solve it they do, though the tension is still simmering between them.  Kolpath is getting somewhat tired of Benedict's moral "flexibility". 

It is still weird reading stories set 10,000 years in the future, with people still using technology the way they did 10 years ago (like setting the password on their notebook to "brane"--goodness).  Not only do things not change, they got frozen in 2001. But the stories are entertaining.  Would I have enjoyed "Echo" if I had read the other four books first?  No doubt.  But I just didn't have time to catch up all the series last year.  It would have been another six books.  Well, I probably could have, but that would be all I would read in the year.  In the future I'll try harder, because a good series does develop from the beginning even if the author assures you you can jump in anywhere.

3 stars for this one, in an old-timey sort of way.

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