Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Review::The Backworlds(Book 1) by M. Pax
This book really entertained me.
I love character driven stories and I frankly thought at the beginning that there was no way a shallow self absorbed character like this was going to get me through the story.
The problem is that for the most part the story is well written and the style of writing drew me into the story.
It took a while for my thick head to figure out that Craze was some sort of gene-engineered made for space being. And as I read I began to wonder if perhaps he wasn't a victim of some bit of inbreeding. Craze reminds me of a few people who at the age of 30 were still sponging off their parents. But, it might be in this case that his parents may be overly opportunistic and have continually used him and this time they gave him the boot and his father stole his girlfriend. Also, unless I got things wrong I think all of this happened with the approval of his mother.
These things come out throughout the narrative and some of Craze's inner dialogue.
Reluctantly Craze leaves. To be honest he's forced out by use of some sort of electronic prod. He has to go to Elstwhere and from there he has to make his own life. Craze wants to own a bar and his thoughts constantly return to the orderliness of his racks of exotic liquors. I think that Craze may be a bit OCD. On the way to Elstwhere he meets Lepsi and Talos some Aviarmen who are on their way to obtain a ship to begin their own enterprise. Craze gets involved with them from the point of view that he too must make his own life now. He sees them as a means to his end.
They also seem to have the same revenge filled nature that Craze is beginning to acquire.
This whole story begins to become of comedy of errors with most of the characters coming off as being users. They are using each other and any one they can to obtain their goals.
Craze meets the -possibly bisexual -Gattar, a Jax who introduces him to a scheme to obtain chocolate- which is precious. Lepsi and Talos recognize the Jax and clue Craze into how the chocolate might be a red herring for the trafficking of prohibited weapons from Earth or the Fore'worlds.
Add in the involvement of local authorities and all the best laid plans....
As a forewarning to everyone even though this book is long enough to be considered at least a novella and probably a novel it completes with the air of being incomplete because it's part of a series and because the author chose to end it as she chose to end it.
All I can say is if her engaging and humorous style prevails throughout the series I'll have no problem with these stories. It kept reminding me of the Retief stories by Keith Laumer- except lacking the strong sensible character that was Retief.
Nonetheless Craze has some redeeming qualities and his associates prove to be both a foil and a balance for him.
Nice Entertaining Sci-Fi and Strange alien fiction- these characters are not human and for the most part don't act any more human than a bit of anthropomorphizing here and there like salt an pepper for flavor.