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Sunday, January 29, 2012

A New Favorite Book From An Old Favorite Author

In the year and more I've been writing this blog, I've written one book review. And even that one was only half a post. I've written about books, several times, because books are very important to me, but only the one actual review.

I've been a fan of Diane Duane for years. I started reading her Star Trek novels 25 years ago, when I was a teenager, and her Young Wizards (and companion) series a little later. These in my opinion are possibly among the best examples of books that can be read by children (and are usually housed in the Young Adult or Teen sections of the bookstore along with a lot of other good fantasy, but I digress), but hold the interest of adult readers as well. Diane Duane is the best author at writing non-human intelligences (except maybe Neil Gaiman) I've read. Her non-human characters don't think like us, but are still intelligible enough for the reader to follow. This is a rare skill in an author, and one I try to emulate in my own creative attempts.

I received A Wizard of Mars, the ninth book in the series, as a Christmas gift and re-read the whole series. And loved them again. These books are always on my re-read shelf, but not so repetitive as to be on my comfort-food-of-literature shelf. So there I was, having completed all nine books of the Young Wizards again, and wanting something new to read by the same author, and I looked her up on amazon.com. Glory be, there's a new series, the first of which is already out in mass market paperback. Sign me up!

I got it in four days. I read it in two. I love it. No spoilers aside from the book cover info, but suffice it to say that it contains a number of things I love. There are sympathetic (and not-so-sympathetic) well-written characters. There's a HUGE online game (the titular Omnitopia). There are in-universe acronyms and abbreviations (such as 'cosm) that make sense through context (which just proves what a good writer she is - that's not easy without it sounding clunky). There are interpersonal relationships and corporate intrigue. And a surprise toward the end (I'm pretty genre-savvy, so I saw it coming. But it didn't spoil the story for me at all, because it was handled with Duane's usual sensitivity).

Now how in the 'cosm am I going to be able to wait for Book Two?