June 26th, 2003

Brian and Anne

(no subject)

I finished reading David Brin's The Kiln People the other day. I was pretty disappointed. It starts out well, but I rapidly got impatient with the splitting narration. Especially because at the beginning he implies that first-person narration indicates continuity of memory, i.e. that golem survives to upload its experiences into the "archie" or "original" person, but then later he realises that won't work and dispenses with it with the somewhat awkward pretense of personal recorders and recited reports. I mean, that pretense is integrated into the plot, but it feels annoying from the reader's perspective.

Switching between POV narratives is nearly always a little frustrating, and in this book Brin pulls cliffhanger after cliffhanger as he rotates between 4 to 6 different points of view. Then near the end he slows everything down to be philosophically preachy while also covering any plot holes with a time-travelling soul that can apparently control people but only gives them little nudges, really...

One of those books where fairly near the beginning I started asking "why am I not progressing through this book faster?" and near the end I was thinking "why aren't I done with this yet?" As Rikhei said, I'm unlikely to vote for this one for the Hugo.