Wednesday, May 11th, 2005
9:47 am - Improbability Drive...  
Any lingering doubts I may have had that David Drake modeled Daniel Leary and Adele Mundy on O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin were dispelled by the title of their most recent adventure, The Far Side of the Stars. It's a simple little adventure. The war between Cinnabar and the Alliance is over, and Daniel and Adele have been paid out of service. Their former ship, the corvette Princess Cecile, is purchased by a rich pair of foreigners, who then hire Daniel to captain their new yacht they go off exploring the backwaters of the galaxy in search of lost treasure. The plot is structured much like an Infocom text adventure, all nice and linear as they travel from planet to planet, solving a minor mystery of some sort on each, eventually climaxing with their confrontation with an Alliance cruiser guarding a secret Alliance base.

I do like the books, even though one could easily pull a muscle trying to suspend so much disbelief, most of which involves trying to overlay a template of early nineteenth century technology and sociology on top of an interstellar civilization. Drake's ships are propelled by winds of phlebotinum, using masts and sails to capture other dimensional radiation that pushes them through the hyperspatial "matrix", guided only by the trained eye of the sailing master, surely the most nonsensical notion of interstellar travel since the original Battlestar Galactica. The societies on the planets they visit all seem remarkably akin to those a sailing ship might've visited in 1800. The hand waving here is that there was a hiatus in human history following a great war, and no human space travel occurred for a thousand years. Because of the hiatus, we are asked to believe that some pockets of humanity might regress into the caricatures of jungle natives found in old Tarzan movies.

Still, it's all in good fun. Daniel is his usual confident, convivial self, wining and dining beautiful women one minute, rousing his crew to defeat the enemy the next, and brilliantly sailing his ship to carry out his careful plan after that. Adele is worldweary and dour, also as usual, but she still joyfully geeks out when she comes upon a new library. It'll be fun to see what happens next time out.

Dodgers won a wild one last night in St. Louis. Scott Erickson was lousy. It looks like Sunday is going to be his last chance to demonstrate that he deserves to stay with the team.
 
 
Current Mood: bookish