I'm not sure if I'm being fair to this book. I'm honestly not sure if I'm capable of being fair to it, since I've waited 20 years for it. I doubt there's any way that any reality could measure up to my expectations. That said....there's the level of disappointment you're willing to overlook, and the level that you can't, you know?
The "Eight Worlds" series has always been special. Varley is, on the whole, an exceptionally good genre writer, but he was at his best in those stories and/or books (Full disclosure: There is some definite and deliberate squick-inducing stuff in the Eight Worlds, so don't just jump into 'em expecting Star Trek or Sunday School cleanliness). Here....he's just not. There's a lack of inspiration here, a lack of the sense that this is a story he wants, nay, needs to tell, an idea he NEEDS to tell, something so cool he just needs to get it out there and share it. That's all missing. This book was, for me, pretty much sugarless. It felt more like, "Well, I've put this off as long as I can..."
Golden Globe was honestly the best book of his career. A hundred years from now, when they talk about Varley, that's the book they'll make college kids read. I don't want to sound all artsy, but honestly I'd say that book reaches above being just-another-genre-story and qualifies as honest-to-gosh literature. Golden Globe wasn't as good, but it was so much fun, such an engaging romp, that you really don't even notice that until after the second time you've read it.
Blues simply doesn't measure up. I mean, it's not a BAD book, it's just...you know...a book. Stylistically it doesn't feel much like the rest of Eight Worlds. It feels like his Thunder-and-Lightning series, honestly. Particularly the last couple books in that series. And honestly, there are some very cool ideas in here. I don't mean to give the impression that Varley suddenly sucks, because he doesn't. He has more original ideas blowing his nose than Heinlein did in his entire career. (I know Varley himself would hate that, but honestly I never liked Heinlein. I know Varley loves the guy, but if Heinlein had twice the talent, he still wouldn't be half the writer Varley is. Heinlein may be Varley's hero, but Varley is the writer Heinlein always wanted to be. That's my bias) It's just that somehow, here, like I said, sugarless.
Also distracting: He has incorporated the Anna-Louse Bach stories into the Eight Worlds timeline (Or at least the Steel Beech Trilogy Timeline, which is somewhat different). Those stories were not set in Eight Worlds, and he really has to kick the hell out of his chronology to make them fit. There's a lot of retconning going on there, or so it seemed to me.
So, again, I don't know if I'm being fair. I'll reread it in six months and see how I feel. As for now, though, well, I'm sorry to say I'm a little bit disappointed.
- Paperback: 289 pages
- Publisher: Ace Books (28 August 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1101989378
- ISBN-13: 978-1101989371
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 249 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 234,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)