35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Pleasant escapist fare,
This review is from: Distraction (Mass Market Paperback)
Bruce Sterling eats Neal Stephenson's lunch with Distraction, a near-future techno-political thriller that's strongly reminiscent of Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and Interface (which Stephenson and his uncle wrote under the pen name Stephen Bury). I don't mind this because I loved those other books, though it's strange to see Sterling borrowing rather than being borrowed from.
Sterling's technological and political speculations are interesting and plausible, and his plot moves right along, propelled by informal but evocative language and a lot of humor. The best part of the book, though, is its protagonist, Oscar Valparasio, who combines the genius and audacity of Lois Bujold's character Miles Vorkosigan with a personal reserve and opacity that makes us even more interested in finding out what he's really like. Sterling actually manages to keep Oscar mysterious even though we're seeing through his eyes throughout the book.
Distraction is mostly about the ride -- like another of my favorite Sterling books, Heavy Weather, it has little pretension to epic scope or deep literary meaning -- but it has enough depth to make it a worthwhile read. My chief complaint is that it drowns in cynicism towards the end, leaving us with a downbeat and overlong ending and nothing much in the way of climax. A classic character like Oscar deserved a better sendoff.
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Initial post: Nov 3, 2014 10:58:24 PM PST
Han Jie says:
How anyone could review this novel and not discuss the politics and then say it's "mostly about the ride" is beyond me. In this case the book and the reviewer appear to be mismatched.
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