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Salt Paperback – 1 October 2001
About the Author
- Publisher : Gollancz; 1st edition (1 October 2001)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 185798787X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1857987874
- Dimensions : 10.8 x 1.91 x 17.15 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from other countries
Two competing philosophies fight it out against a bare unforgiving background. Both main protagonists are deeply unpleasant. One is a military man with homo-erotic fantasies about one of his subordinates and the other is an equally sociopathic individual displaying all the most negative traits of Asperger's syndrome and none of the good. Both are vainglorious and totalling indifferent to the feelings of others, though for different reasons.
My main difficulty was that I was halfway through the book before I began to appreciate that there were two different individuals relating their versions of events. I didn't `hear' separate voices. This may have been intentional by the author and it certainly reinforces the similarities in their behaviours, if not their motives, but I found it confusing. I really couldn't understand what they were trying to say. I am quite prepared to admit the fault is mine but for me the result was an almost total lack of creative tension. There was no plot. There was an awful lot of self-justification and some descriptions of amateur war making but I found that I just didn't care. For me the ideal conclusion would have been pistols at dawn and both killing each other.
Having said, other reviewers have commented on the density of the writing and complexity of the ideas. I do not entirely buy into that view but I do think there is enough merit in the book to read it again, this time knowing what to expect. Thinking back on it there is an exploration of the functional urban life compared to the wild beauty of the unspoiled natural landscape which is quite compelling even if it does read at times like a hippy tract by Charles Manson.
However, perhaps the most disturbing thing about the book is the complete lack of desire by either party to understand the other. One can think of all sorts of unfortunate parallels, from the insignificant (Republicans v. Democrats, Tories v. Labour) to the totally scary, (Islamists v. Non-believers). The point being, I suppose, that we carry our prejudices with us, even to other Worlds. When both sides revel in war you begin to suspect that there is something wrong with the human condition which allows such people to control the lives and destinies of their fellow man.
This was only ever going to be a 1 star or 5 star review. After much reflection............................
The answer is, he doesn't. Everything is just left hanging in the air.
Some reviewers think the star ship is amazingly convincing. It isn't.
Some of the scenery is nice.
Enjoy the first half of the book, but don't get too excited about the ending.