I have to wonder to myself, are these books dense or disliked? Why else would three hundred page novels from the early eighties take me so long to read? I have to ask the questions, because while I have observed myself putting Cruiser Dreams off, I am still enthralled once I do settle in to read. Which then begs the question of why I’d be putting the book off.
Cruiser Dreams is, of course, book two in the Kerrion Empire and continues the tale of Dream Dancer as well as elevating the stakes and scale. As the title indicates, we do dive deep into the question of what is sentience, but I find it hard to focus on that alone. There is so much going on in these books. Not just philosophy, but politics, history, love, hate, and everything else as well. I think there may be just as much going on here as in one of the Safehold books that takes place over the course of a year and covers an entire planet’s worth of events. It’s a little overwhelming when you consider that Cruiser Dreams is not even two thirds the length of the shortest Safehold book, and less than half the longest ones.
That’s another reason I ask myself if I dislike the book. The longer I work on reading it, the more I think about other books and series that I might choose to reread next. I finally placed an order for books (then discovered another one I’ve been waiting for is out, so a B&N trip should be in my future), and considered whether or not I want to reread the Hunter books once or twice this year. Oh, and debating whether I’d rather reread all or part of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan or watch favorite episodes online.
To be honest, I am not entirely certain of the whole of what I just read. Which is no doubt why my mind is prone to wandering. The face of Kerrion space has changed, but in a way that may not actually change the whole of human space…yet. Despite the grand scale, the book doesn’t actually feel that big, as it is very tightly focused around a few key characters. Occasionally we dip into the heads of secondary characters, but mostly it’s all through the lenses of the primary characters. And it’s not like our main characters are nobodies. They are the very forefront of the changes being made. Still, the book is more about the characters than the events and settings. We see that with the technology too: the year is now 2251 and everything is so very advanced beyond 2017. Yet all these marvelous advances are sidenotes – secondary to the character-driven plots.
Science-wise, this is a good book for those who don’t need to understand all the science in the fiction. The only explanations for how things actually function are scanty and rare, and only placed where the book absolutely needs them. Maybe not even as often as I might prefer. Not to mention that magic appears in this science fiction as well. Nor can we doubt that it is truly magic as opposed to an unknown science, despite at least one character trying to insist this is so. I suspect this will come into play with the next book.
I’m sorry if this is a disjointed and rambly post, but there really is a ton going on here. It doesn’t help that not all our characters are sane, nor that I feel like I’m reading up on particularly noteworthy families of the ancient world – you know, the ones who ruled empires and slept with their siblings? Based on the Roman philosophers that have been mentioned here and there, I think that Janet Morris may have been hinting at just that.