Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Builders, by Daniel Polansky

The Builders is another novella nominated for a Hugo this year.  Not available free, but I donated my copy to the local library. 

The author refers to The Builders as a "one-joke" story.  I think that is pretty much the case--and since I have not read anything else by Daniel Polansky, I am not sure I can judge his writing by this story.  Not that it's bad.

The story centers on the Captain and his group of hard-bitten mercenaries, back for another try at a failed conquest.  The characters are set as animals--more than one of the reviews supplied by the publisher in the paperback version make comparisons to Watership Down, but I do not see the connection.  Think of it more as a sort of parody of The Seven Samurai, except that there is no justice in their quest, it's pretty much about revenge.

The writing is very much over the top--the characters are caricatures.  It's fun to read because the irony is right on point--heavy and dark, just enough so to keep the story from being just silly.  Those caricatures, in fact, drive the story--the plot is somewhat secondary, and bears almost no describing without being spoiled.

I enjoyed this little tale, though given the theme of this blog I didn't like paying for it.  But if you can find it at your local library or even bookstore, take a couple of hours (with a coffee if you're at the bookstore) and give it a read.  3 stars.

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