A little light reading...


Categories: Personal

So, one of my habits is genre fiction. I love genre fiction. I know it’s not “real literature.” I don’t care.

I recently picked up a book called Digital Knight, published by Baen books. The author, Ryk E. Spoor, is a guy I know from Usenet, which is what got me to buy the book.

I found it fascinating, and I thought I might as well give it a mini-review. I read the book on my trip to Hawaii, and finished it while I was there.

The basic substance of this book is a variant on a theme we’ve all seen before; non-supernatural guy encounters the supernatural. What makes this one interesting, I think, is that the guy uses modern research tools and techniques, and takes the claims seriously. He does this instead of either trying to suppress all such theories, or suddenly going psycho and taking up swords and armor. The net result? I think it’s more convincing than a lot of these books have been.

I got the impression while reading the book that parts of it may have previously been seen as short stories, or even sort of long stories. I’m told this is correct. In the entire book, there’s exactly one paragraph of recap that I’d associate with the conversion to novel form; the rest struck me as well-integrated.

Is it literature? I don’t think so, but it never claimed to be. It’s a fun book, with interesting characters, good plot, and some neat twists on traditional monster mythology. If we are to assume that the author will improve with practice, it’s a very promising start to a career. Even if he never improved, he’d be solidly better than average. :)

If you like Laurel K. Hamilton’s books, you might like this. It’s a bit less spooky, and I personally liked the characters better. It reminds me a little bit of Rick Cook’s writing; it’s most similar to Mall Purchase Night, although not as silly. It even reminds me a little of Metanoia. Computers and vampires; what more could you hope for?

I would definitely buy another book by the same author, based on this one. If you like one or another of the genres it’s arguably in (bits of mystery, bits of fantasy, bits of science fiction), give it a look.

Comments [archived]

From: Ryk E. Spoor
Date: 2003-11-14 12:50:02 -0600

How can an author object to such an accurate and positive review? Thanks very much!

I love seeing comments about my work, of course; I also like talking about it, so anyone who reads Digital Knight and has questions is always welcome to Email me. If I’m fortunate enough to have a decent-length career, Digital Knight in a sense serves as a compressed introduction to the universe; every major, important concept of the multiverse intersects with Jason Wood’s life at some point; even if many ideas are only mentioned peripherally, they have a much larger part to play in the wider universe.

Thanks again!