Dave Freer, Eric Flint
Rating: Buy, Paperback, New
Friday was my fortieth birthday and Mrs. Bugbear bought me my first dedicated e-book device, a Sony Touch Reader. I spent most of Friday morning loading books on the reader. My only complaint is that the touch screen is much more prone to glare than the non-touch screen reader. In a common TAANSTAAFL tradeoff, I like the touchscreen interface and the larger screen that comes with it but the glare is inconvenient.
The first novel I read on the new e-reader was Slow Train to Arcturus co-authored by Eric Flint and Dave Freer. Overall the book wasn't too bad, I did find that it seemed to wander a bit between being tongue-in-cheek and being serious.
I think that I'd rather read a prequel to Slow Train. You see the concept expressed in the book is that a colony ship would be rather like a train. In this case as the train passes the station/planet rather than stopping the train just drops the last car and continues on its way. The last car takes care of decelerating and deploying the colonists and equipment on that car. I'd be much more interested in reading a book that developed the concept and built the Slow Train. Instead Slow Train introduces the concept and then examines how the multi-century journey effects the societies that are embarked in each 'car'.
The colonist selection is outlined in the epigraphs which are framed as communications between various bureaucrats in the Sol system government. Of course each 'car' is a mono-culture of misfits that the government deems as 'suitable' as a colonist. Nor is inter-car communication facilitated. These points are were the hardest for me to suspend my disbelief.
Overall I enjoyed the book but I was hoping for more of a big project book than a sociology experiment in space.