AUTHOR: Steven Barnes
REVIEW SUMMARY: Surprisingly poor effort by Barnes
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Aubry Knight is a rising star in the sport of nullboxing (zero-G fighting) when his world collapses when he’s arrested for killing a man (it was in self-defense but you know those coppers) and sent to a maximum security prison burried in the desert of New Mexico. Aurby escapes and runs into a plot involving a drugs, the mob, and a girl.
PROS: The story depicts California years into the future that finally suffers the ‘big one’ (I’m coming ‘Ouisy!) in a very realistic way (people scavenging through the burried portions of LA, for example.) I also liked the underground prison and key aspects of the drugs affect on the main characters.
CONS: This book is largely about characters and for some reason Steven blows it in this one. I wasn’t sympathetic towards any of them, they didn’t behave in a way I could understand (well, except for the villians) and at the end I didn’t care what they did.
BOTTOM LINE: I’m dissapointed – I like Barnes other works a lot and he’s much more adept at character development in his other works. Dream Park is one of my favorite books (along with the sequels) and so I was really hoping for a good one here. For whatever reason this one just doesn’t deliver – maybe he needs Larry Niven to help him out?
FYI, this is the first of a trilogy (the Aubry Knight trilogy.) The other two books are Gorgon Child and Firedance.