Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice try, but not very good., November 23, 2009
This review is from: Rolling Thunder (Mass Market Paperback)
I used to be a big John Varley fan, but am now pretty disappointed. Some of the older books are very good, and it's obvious he greatly amires Heinlein. Personally, I don't understand the infatuation with RH, as the guy writes the same stories over and over, but what the heck, I'm sure there are some good reasons, and the guy is practically a god in the sci-fi pantheon.

The protagnist is an 18 year old cadet in the Martian Navy. Only she's 18 going on about 40 in her understanding of the world. Seriously, if human 18 year olds were this worldly and understanding that would be truly amzing. So while this is hard sci-fi, and that by definition stretches the bounds of practicality, it seems that only the Garcia-Strickland and Broussard clans are born of such stock, and the remainder of humanity is much more average (or worse - there are some good parts like when Poddy discourages a vapid "Earthie" from emmigrating to Mars).

There are also some parts, especially towards the end of the book where it looks like Varley just got tired of writing or something. There are several plot lines or story arcs that end more or less abruptly, and he just sums up what happened. This is the kind of stuff I expect in excessively complicated stories (Robert Jordan), or very long movies. But an average length paperback? What happened there? Did he run into some kind of deadline from an advance or contract?

Varley's books are definitely written for adults, complete with adult language, themes, sex, violence, and all the details you can imagine. For the most part I regards this as a good thing because so much of life and civilization is not rated PG-13.

I wouldn't call this the worst ever or even a waste of money, but John Varley has written some *much* better novels and short stories than Rolling Thunder.
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