I feel bad that I didn't enjoy this book more, since it was a potentially interesting mix of hard near-future SF and spelljammer Georgian sailor/astro..Show More »nauts - even writing that description shows the potential! And it isn't a bad book at all - the story relies on some nice elements of familiar Golden Age science fiction puzzle solving, mixed with more fantastic and swashbuckling adventures. So, there is fun to be had.
Unfortunately, the author can't quite pull off the audacious storyline, mostly, oddly, because of failures of imagination. The overall setting is terrifically good, especially the alternate version of Master and Commander-style swashbuckling among the stars, but Martinez doesn't really do enough with it. Given the initial imagination, one wishes that the author would give us more exotic settings, but instead we get a moderately clever one-to-one translation of the world of the late 18th century to the solar system - Venus as Africa/South America, Mercury as Australia, etc. Similarly, the characters are rather stock, and the worldbuilding just sketchy enough to be distracting (the geopolitics and technology seem remarkably stagnant in the future, for example). This is coupled with clunky descriptions (a mining robot is described as looking like Curiosity rover, a vehicle is described as looking like a 20th century pickup truck, etc.). The overall effect is a book that you wish was written by a bit more capable writer to fully deliver.
The reads are similarly almost good enough. A few accents are flubbed, some readings are a bit off - again, nothing horrific, but you wish for just a bit more.
I certainly don't mind the time I spent with the book, but I kept waiting to get blown away and it didn't happen. In the end, solid enough, but it could have been much more.
Michael Martinez's Story That Sails Into Our Heart
If you happen to follow this blog, you know that I gushed over Michael J. Martinez's The Daedalus Incident. Yes, I confess to being a bit rabid in my ..Show More »love for the book and becoming a raving fanboy of Mr. Martinez’ writing. Now, I was waiting, to borrow a phrase from the Bard, "...with bated breath, and whispring humblenesse" for its sequel, The Enceladus Crisis. Truth be told, however, I was also waiting with a little trepidation. After all, Mr. Martinez set a high bar for himself in his debut novel; could his sophomore effort live up to the expectations it established? It has and then some. His characters and their relationships are even more fully flushed out, his dialog , description of action (I love the first battle scene) and overall handling of the narrative is, if anything, tighter and better.
Before I go on, if you've missed The Daedalus Incident, stop. Do not collect $200. Do not pass go. Head (physically or virtually) directly to your favorite bookstore and get it. I personally recommend the Kindle/Audible combination which I previously reviewed (the narration rocks, see the review for more details). Mr. Martinez actually gives you enough in The Enceladus Crisis to allow you to read it without reading Daedulus, but why? Seriously, go get it or download it now. It's great.
As is my habit, I read this on my Kindle (Paperwhite) and listened to it via the Audible app on my Windows Phone (Nokia Lumia 920). Once again, the narrators, Kristin Kalbli (22nd Cent) and Bernard Clark (18th Cent), do a superb job with all of the different accents of all of the characters. They jump seemlessly between characters and bring a believability to the dialog. If you like audiobooks, I highly commend this one to you.