Book Review: Strings by Dave Duncan (three stars)
“Need anything?” “Liberty. Explanations. I’d like to be treated with a little consideration for my feelings once in a while.” “So would we all, son. So would we all.”
An ingenious hard science fiction involving then-cutting-edge theory. Duncan posits a novel means of interplanetary travel without faster-than-light propulsion. Surprises abound. Even casual events early in the story pop up later as major plot points.
“Even if ends justify means, the means don’t have to like it!”
First published in 1990, the story weathers the intervening scientific revolution well. Most of Duncan’s canon is fantasy, but he handles science fiction with equal ease.
She let that one go, but her conscience was squirming: He had saved her life, and paid for it with a smashed nose and all-over bruises. Injury deserved compensation.
Casual sex as the “price” of a desired outcome is off putting. Love—or even lust—at first sight is better handled than this cold calculus of paying with one’s body. Walks close to making people into commodities. Cost him a star. Of course, Duncan raises that very issue with a plot thread which any reference will spoil the surprise.
“Everyone does it. Accountants did it to bookkeeping, lawyers did it to the law, teachers to education.” “Did what?” “Tangled it all up so it became meaningless.”
I like this review. Thanks!
I suspect our values are aligned in this area. Keeps me from reading it, if forewarned. Thanks.