Once upon a Monday night dreary,
while I pondered weak and…
Dammit! Originality young Greg!
Review of Nemesis Games that I had not originally intended to write – it just happened
Anyway, towards the end of last week my work sucked me dry enough that I barely touched a computer for several days. Hence no blog posts not even much blog reading. Instead I read a science fiction novel called Nemesis Games by James S. A. Corey (pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck).
I am so enjoying the Expanse series of novels. I honestly can say that I have not enjoyed a science fiction series so much since Peter F Hamilton’s Commonwealth Saga (Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained). Well, actually, I also really love Evan Currie’s On Silver Wings series but I feel that the Expanse pips those. Why? I would have to say the scope of Corey’s thinking. While Corey shares Currie’s knack for perfect pace (sorry, but Hamilton can be dead slow at times as far as my tastes are concerned), Corey demonstrates the conceptual grandeur of Hamilton.
Nemesis Games is the fifth book in the Expanse series. Civilisation (as the inhabitants of the solar system know it) has been forever changed. There is a galaxy of habitable planets out there within reach and the political fall-out is perhaps inevitable. The interesting thing about the plot in this book is watching how deftly Corey dismantles his protagonists, sends them to different destinations and then drags them back together. And in doing so you now get the back story of each major character. Love it!
The Amazon reviews are mostly good. Interestingly enough some people really hated this book. Why? Well it all comes down to expectations. His first book was a combination of Star Wars style action heroes, Aliens style horror (a bit), and Film Noir detectives. This book is not about frills – it’s about solid human emotion and interaction. Characters do a lot of reflection, but somehow not in a way that slows the novel down significantly. There is also definite character development. So yes, very different from his first few novels and therefore disappointing to anyone who wanted more of the same. Me – I just revel in the variety.
Recrafting my own novels
Pari Azar is back to having her own novel – Tempting in Shade. She was the original sole protagonist before I ambitiously began expanding scope. Her story is more complex now.
The original version had Pari being the daughter of two very powerful magi within a magical community called Shushtar. Her father is suffering from a strange plague that threatens his very life. Pari vows to find the cure to her father’s ailment while on her Tempting – a rite of adulthood where she must go out into the world of Shade for forty days. These has remained the same.
What’s changed is 1) the drama and 2) the plot of the quest. I read a piece somewhere (sorry, I cannot remember where) where the author said that we novelists should constantly up the anti and put our characters in trouble/peril. No longer is this merely “boo hoo, Dad is dying, must find a cure”. Now it is much more dramatic and deadly. Won’t tell you how though :) One thing though, it hints at the resurrection of an ancient deity.
The sorcerous Pilot Verdant is now the protagonist in Abomination’s Passage. Most likely a 50 thousand word novella, this tracks the battle that Verdant undertakes with ancient demons to save a convoy trying to enter Shade. In the original version of the novel this part set the scene for what was to come. The problem was that it was disjointed, serving a purpose to inform and introduce. I have added a dramatic tale to this that once again hints at an ancient deity.
Demon Run will be a novel. The original novel had a very strong element of horror revolving around another young magi (Samin) from the same community. She shows resourcefulness against an ancient demon whose motives appear clear but perhaps are not. Not only is Samin’s own life in terrible danger, failure could see Shushtar destroyed.
I have a number of other novels and novella’s that I hope to create, but I have yet to structure them significantly enough to tell you about them yet :)