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Diving into the Wreck: A Diving Universe Novel Paperback – November 24, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Rusch (the Retrieval Artist series) delivers a page-turning space adventure while contemplating the ethics of scientists and governments working together on future tech. Boss is a middle-aged loner who searches ancient spacecraft for historical data. Driven by the memory of her mother being lured to a mysterious station called the Room of Souls, Boss believes humanity is haunted by old science, the kind that could kill us because we don't understand it. As Boss carefully builds a crew of spacers who are mostly loners with secrets, their notions about old and new tech, and about each other, must be re-evaluated as they first dive a 5,000-year-old ship for clues and then head for the Room. Rusch's spare prose sometimes flattens the characters, but admirably suits both the adventure and the deep moral questions she raises. (Nov.)
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"Tense and gripping.... The endlessly enjoyable terror of dark, alien, empty spaces brimming with unknowable danger and impenetrable mystery should keep fans of the genre hooked." --Internet Review of Science Fiction
"Rusch takes the dangers inherent in deep sea diving and memorably puts them into the deep dark vacuum of space, making the exploration of the hulk a much more complicated issue than tends to be the case in the SF." --Best SF Reviews
"Science fiction fans should expect to be hooked." ----Publishers Weekly on The Recovery Man --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
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The characters range from flat to unbelievable caricature- supposedly we're looking at seasoned veterans and experts in the art of wreck diving, but they have nothing like best practices and gaping holes in their methodology. The technology demonstrated in the universe is glaringly inconsistent (and I'm not talking about the special lost technology, just the stuff that you see day-to-day). I can't even summon the energy to spend more time warning others away from this book, it's draining just to think about it. My belief suspenders are broken.
Not sure who this book would be for perhaps that teen who is just getting into sci fi?
Where it succeeds is character development and background. The protagonist learns more about herself as the story proceeds, and the people she worked with have also developed too.
Where I think it fails is that the science of the stealth technology is always left to be voodoo, never explained or really explored. It remains a McGuffin, despite the apparent work on it. We never really learn anything new about the technology and so the novel becomes more fantasy than science fiction. The ending is also a bit of a tease.
I would have to say that I preferred the novella. It was a compact story with emphasis on the drama. The novel veers away more towards action, especially in the last section, and I think it is clear that this is not the author's strong writing suit.
Overall this is a good, but flawed novel. Rusch is clearly a talented writer and I would like to see some more of her successful novellas novelized, especially if she can keep the lengthier prose under control.
The book feels like the last two short stories from a collection of five; as though we'd spent a lot of time learning who these characters were, and what they did, and the experiences they'd had that informed their later behavior. Instead, we're...*told* all that stuff. We're *told* that the main character has a long history, we're *told* about the other character's experiences, we're *told* what Wreck Diving is and how it's done. I like the notion of conflating contemporary deep-sea wreck divers with spacesuited treasure-hunters investigating derelict ships in the far future...but the author *tells* us that's what they do, presenting it as an established fact. We're shown a character at the end of her career, and we're *told* about all the interesting and fascinating things that she's done. The only ones we actually *see* are the last two, when it all goes off the rails.
Indeed, that's the key disappointment for me. The characters in the book are all horrified at what they find in the wreck; it's presented as new and unique. But to the *reader*, well, we just walked in. *Everything* is new and unique to us; why should one more bit of mystery be more exciting than another? I felt like I needed more time to understand the characters and their world before having it all turned upside-down.
I enjoyed reading the book, but in the end I did not feel it was worth $10. I feel that $4 or $5 would better represent the length and quality of the experience.
Boss is a pilot and professional explorer who seeks out derelict ships, in space, for the express purpose of learning about their history and she has an appreciation for the significance of these wrecks that I loved. She is not a pirate or scavenger picking the carcass of the ships, most times she keeps the best finds secret. Not so she can profit but so no one else, who doesn't appreciate the history in these old things, can pick the bones for precious metals or fame. She approaches every ship with caution and respect. When she gathers a crew to dive her newest wreck she only appropriates those who are trustworthy, cautious, and experienced. This may make some people bored but I really appreciated a realistic approach to something so dangerous and unpredictable. I also found her to be a kindred spirit in her dislike of authority, fanatic need for privacy, and her need to keep people at arms length. More background would have been nice but I think that keeping the past hidden really fit with the theme of the characters in the book. What I really didn't like was how each part of the book was more novella that wove a single story together instead of a single thread on its own but that is a personal thing and didn't really take away much. The supporting characters were moderately shallow and the plot was very simple. I am more of a hard science guy and I would have been thrilled to have about 300 more pages to give the characters background and give me some serious explanation into the stealth tech. One thing I was glad for is how death was approached. Even shallow characters with only a few pages and little dialogue were not just throw away lives, they actually were felt and affected the future of everyone involved.
This book is a great read if you enjoy light space adventure, historical salvage type books (like Clive Cussler), aren't put off by never knowing the main characters name and complete background, don't need fully realized characters or much dialogue. Go into it with an open mind and don't expect anything heavy and you will love it.
Most recent customer reviews
What a thrill to be (if you'll pardon the expression) diving into another Kristine Kathryn Rusch series!Read more