Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: S. M. Stirling - Blue Tyson

S. M. Stirling is an author of science fiction and fantasy and has written many novels, a lot of which have an alternate history flavour. He would appear to have written more novels htan short stories. He has also worked with Jerry Pournelle in his CoDominium Future History. With all this, it was a wonderful surprise to see him come up with the Lords of Creation series. This puts a modern twist on the Brackett and Burroughs planetary romances. What if we did discover that Mars and Venus were inhabited as these past authors suggested? In fact, there's even a cute scene in the Mars book at the start with Brackett in it. Just as the authors suggested, Venus is a hot jungle planet. With dinosaurs and primitive tribes. Mars is a dying, cooling dusty world with ancient races and the odd super science trove. It is interesting that like the past series, the Mars novel is considerably superior. Each follows the exploits of an Earth man and a local woman. The people from Earth do have some physical advantages because of the lower gravity, but of course are not as well adjusted to the local climate on Mars. There are missions on each planet of people from Earth. Full of astronaut types of course, so you have athlete scientists and hence people that can fence. Mind control, killer cave creatures, Chessmen competitions, and plenty more fun stuff like that as our heroes try not to get killed while sorting out the local situation to the betterment of all. The Mars novel is one of the few I have wanted to read again immediately after finishing it.

You'll find generous excerpts of each at the author's website. The problem being that these books of Stirling's are also afflicted with the Macmillan manacles but there are mass market paperbacks, so the Book Depository is worth it for the In the Courts of the Crimson Kings, thanks to their free shipping.

The Sky People

In the Courts of the Crimson Kings