Friday, December 14, 2012

JD's Review of 'And the Stars Will Sing' by Michelle Browne


I don’t read much science fiction these days. I find a lot of the books in the genre too derivative, sitting on the shoulders of the great science fiction writers of yore. I particularly get frustrated with the lack of attention to basic psychology, and hence to my mind a lot of character motivations and actions have no credibility or depth to them.

Sci-fi novels written in the first person have an additional challenge inasmuch as the technologies and worlds described by the narrator would be familiar to them while being unfamiliar to us. This presents the writer with a technical difficulty of conveying to the reader what is different to them without undermining the narrator’s credibility. Imagine the situation of a current-day narrator describing a journey by train. Exactly HOW fascinated would that person be with how the carriage was laid out or the technology of railway tracks? The answer is not very, particularly if they’d already travelled by train hundreds of times before.

I am pleased to say that Michelle Browne handles these structural issues with apparent ease while engaging her readers in a compelling narrative along the way. The descriptions of the future are handled almost as asides (which is as it should be) without getting in the way of the story.

Ms Browne’s narrator, Crystal Weiss – a copper-haired Martian - is a delightfully snarky creation. “Glass” as she is known to her workmates is difficult, argumentative and with an offbeat sense of humour. By way of a diary, Weiss records her experiences as a mapper on a deep space project to create a wormhole for interstellar travel.

Without getting into spoiler territory, I will say there is plenty going on to engage the reader’s attention. The only nit-pick I had with the storyline was a credibility issue as to why internal transporters would be left operational in a particular circumstance (I’m not going into detail on this, as it would give too much away).

The writing style is sparse and spiky, as befits the storyteller herself.

Well done, Michelle Browne. “And the Stars Will Sing” gets my vote for novella of the year, regardless of genre.


You can learn more about Michelle Browne by visiting her blog http://scifimagpie.blogspot.com/ or catch her on Twitter @SciFiMagpie

"And the Stars Will Sing" is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk 


2 comments:

  1. Thanks fr the review. Need to check out 'And the Stars Will Sing.

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  2. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, John. I hope you enjoy it - and the price won't break the bank either! Happy reading!

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