RogerBW's Blog

Finder, Suzanne Palmer 02 April 2021

2019 SF, first of a series. Fergus is a finder, a probably-reformed thief turned repo man for (in this case) a stolen starship.

Above the airlock, in at least twenty different human and non-human languages, a faded sign read, Management Not Responsible For Losses Due to Depressurization or Alien Interference. Fergus Ferguson considered, not for the first time, whether the life choices that had brought him to this place had been entirely sound.

This is at least two books in one. On the one hand, we have Fergus's personal story; the details gradually become apparent, but it's clear early on that he has some major unprocessed trauma that he's trying to deal with by never getting close to anyone. On the other, there's the essentially procedural adventure of starship repossession, which immediately affects the politics of a poor and remote cluster of space habitats in a backwater system: the guy who stole the ship is one of the local faction bosses, which means that whatever happens the balance of power is going to be upset.

And then there are the enigmatic aliens.

It's perhaps a bit much for a single book, though that's a standard first-novel problem. I was slightly reminded of Rusch's Diving Into the Wreck, where the very first expedition that we see into a wrecked spaceship turns out to be the one that kicks off the Big Plot; there I'd have liked to see what a normal expedition looked like, and here I'd have liked to see what a normal repossession looked like, in other words what our heroes had been doing before their personal stories were forced to start moving again. That way, when things started to go weird, there'd have been more of a feeling of things being different from the norm.

Maybe I just want to read about a starship repossessor in this very interesting world.

There are some oddities of scale. Human space is apparently pretty huge, but everyone seems to have an opinion about the political situation on Mars… while at the same time most of them don't seem to have heard of Scotland or indeed that Earth has subdivisions at all. Cernee, the cluster of habitats that's the site of most of the action, doesn't seem to have any particular reason to exist given how easily people can go elsewhere in the system. And the interesting multipolar political tension seems to collapse rather too easily into good guys and bad guys, which isn't a satisfying resolution.

All that said, there's a sense of fun which makes up for a lot; I've enjoyed some of Palmer's short fiction and while there are definitely rough edges here I'll come back for more.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Series: Finder Chronicles | Next in series: Driving the Deep

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1