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A pretty much spoiler-free review of Temporary Duty

I had a schizophrenic experience reading Ric Locke’s Temporary Duty. As I read it through, a little voice kept telling me, “oh, now, a proper editor from a publishing house would so make him change that.”

And then this other voice would say, “yes, but do YOU think he should change it?”

Like, the pacing is uneven. Wait, no it’s not — it’s logarithmic. The set-up and introductory part runs long (background stuff about the ship’s engineering and the aliens’ language and that — I like that flavor of sci fi, so I wasn’t put off). Then it picks up when they get moving. And then it picks up some more. And then it moves really fast to the end.

There are two protagonists, and I found it difficult to tell them apart for a long time. An editor would surely insist he pick one and make us identify with him from the start.

But I have to wonder how much of that I noticed because I was reading it for somebody, instead of just reading it.

I liked it. It was very Andre Norton-y — with a touch of the Chronicles of Gor and a pinch of the Waltons.

I hesitated to describe it that way to Ric. Critics are so snobby about good old-fashioned Norton-style space adventure, but I’m a great fan. Happily, it seems he is, too.

Oh, and dude was definitely in the Navy.

So who won the schizophrenic contest? Well, Voice #1 would’ve made him smooth it over until it was exactly like every other scifi book of its type I’ve ever read. Voice #2 thought that would be a damn shame.


New Dead Pool tomorrow, 6pm WBT. You’ve read about dicks in the news all week, now win one of your very own!

sock it to me

June 2, 2011 — 9:40 pm
Comments: 39