Ruler of Naught is the second book in Sherwood Smith and Dave Trowbridge's Exordium series, following The Phoenix in Flight. It's hard to know how much to say about the plots of these, especially since I know most of my readers haven't read them; I'm already spoiled to the extent that I read the back blurb of each volume as I got them, which I somewhat regret.
So instead I'll talk about a couple of notable non-plot items. The first is the kind of hard sf idea that made me say, "Why hasn't anyone else thought of this?" (Someone might have, but not that I or Chad have come across.) The idea is this: a FTL-capable ship discovers that something happened, say, five hours ago, that it needs to know about. It then jumps six light-hours away from where the event happened, and after it sends out a bunch of smaller ships to function as a telescopic array—voila! a window into the past. Maybe not one with the best resolution, but a window nevertheless. Cool, huh?
Any number of the characters in these are notable, but I'll just mention two here. Brandon, last surviving heir to the Panarchy, is one of the more interesting and also one of the more enigmatic, as we rarely get sections from his point of view. We see many of the events affecting Brandon from the point of view of Osri, who is shaping up nicely; he was rather annoying in the first book, but is now starting to grow up a bit. I like having the coming-of-age person be different from the questing-for-the-throne person; while it's not a universal cliche to make one person play both roles, I still think it's a refreshing change. (Because, you know, Garion would just never survive among space pirates . . . )
Now I must tear myself away from this very promising NetHack game long enough to get started on book 3 . . .
[ In booklog news, a couple of days ago I asked "if some PHP expert can come up with a way for the "e-mail" and "homepage" links to not appear when someone doesn't enter anything in those fields" when submitting a comment. Some PHP expert did: thanks to Steve Cook for providing the hack (and to Sean Miller for independently taking a look at the problem). Yay, a more elegant commenting system . . . ]
#1 :: wrote on September 12, 2008 at 12:21 AM:
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