Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dark OrbitDark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this more than I thought I would, rounding up to a 3.5 stars, but even though the big ideas were pretty interesting in themselves, it didn't quite reach the level I thought I wanted.

These big ideas came pretty fast and furious after a certain point, which I have no problems with. The novel begins with solid characterization, fairly interesting first-contact scenarios including the normal fish-out-of-water plots on both sides of the glass.

There's dark matter and interesting gravitational effects, but lest we get complacent with our word play, the most interesting part of this novel was the whole society of the sightless.

Orbits. As in Orbital Sockets. Pretty funny.

Is the world-building interesting and complete? Sort-of. Perhaps I'd have preferred a bit more in-depth exploration of the possibilities rather than just rolling around the surface of the blindness. The traversing of Branes was definitely interesting, but I don't know. Something about the novel felt too glitz and glam, relying on the surface of the ideas rather than the depth of the consequences.

There is a lot that happens on the idea side, though. Don't get me wrong. The novel isn't a slouch in that area. It's just that something didn't quite click with me on the sheer *story* side. It didn't wow me the way I was beginning to feel it might. Some of the conclusions were rather interesting, but it felt more like a rehashing of the old idea that certain senses or strengthened when a big one is lacking. Maybe I just wanted a little bit more.

Overall, I kept feeling like the novel kept coming closer to something really great, but it just missed that one little ingredient to push it there.

On that idea, I'm more than happy to check out the author's other books. She has certain strengths that I feel are kind of lacking in our modern SF. She's trying to make great characters and situations mesh with the great Idea realm that SF has always been known for. I can't deny that it's a great goal to strive for.



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