RogerBW's Blog

The Runabout, Kristine Kathryn Rusch 05 June 2022

2017 science fiction, sixth of its series. "Boss" is leading dives in the Boneyard, the stockpile of abandoned Fleet ships, in the hope of recovering hardware and learning more.

Whenever this series gets away from its core conceit, of "diving" into ancient and hazardous spaceships, I get irked with it. And this is, at last, a story that is wholeheartedly about that, and one that quite revived my interest. Yes, it still has mostly competent people with flattened affect doing the things they do – there's no conscious opposition here, just the hazards of the job – but it does at least admit, unlike many stories of competence porn, that even people who know what they're doing can differ on just what should be done next, and on how much weight to assign to an unknown hazard.

There's also a connection to The Falls, the previous book in the series, but this won't be apparent unless you've read that – and not knowing it won't noticeably impair your enjoyment.

There's introspection and danger and, for all the forgotten technology that's a large part of this series seems to be awfully plot-convenient at times, a genuine sense of the gradual understanding of something initially incomprehensible that's the reason I keep coming back to this series. If the whole thing were like this I'd be much more enthused by the series in general.

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Previous in series: The Falls | Series: Diving Universe

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