Prisoner’s Hope – David Feintuch

I had run out of books during a holiday in the Greek islands and had to scurry to a second hand bookstore before I lost my sanity. I had seen the “Hope” books in bookstores before, and hoped (ahem) that the books would be more or less good copies of the Honor Harrington series by David Weber.

I gave up after a hundred and fifty pages or so. The main character is a total bastard, who takes offense at the smallest slight. The author seems to think that military command entails being a despotic father figure. There may have been a story. And don’t get me started on all the religious stuff. Steer clear of this one and go buy the Honor books instead.

The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story – Stephen R. Donaldson

This is the first of the Gap series of five 5 novels, a grand space opera loosely based on the Nibelung Ring operas by Wagner (of which there is a synopsis at the end). A mere 184 pages, it is an idea piece that introduces three characters, and delves deeply into their psyche, especially that of the villain.

Donaldson’s space opera aspects are a constant mild annoyance, since he has taken the very worst of all clichés in the genre, without making even a token effort to be original. It’s like being inside a video game with similar thematics. The plot was barely enough to get me through this novelette length tale, as was the knowledge that it would soon be over.

Dhalgren – Samuel R. Delany

Considered by many to be Delany’s literary masterpiece, I didn’t get very far in this weighty tome. The story, as far as I could make out, is about a traveler to the city of Bellona, a place which has suffered a great disaster. A disaster so great, in fact, that space and time no longer work as they do in the outside world. Very literary, in all the bad ways.

Foundation’s Fear – Gregory Benford

Some genius came up with the idea that three different writers should write a new trilogy about Asimov’s Foundation. While I admire the sentiment, I would say that it’s a very tall order. I only got as far as the first book. Correction: I only got as far as the first third of the first book, because I kept falling asleep from boredom. It is utterly dull and as far as I can see there is no story. Go read the excellent original Foundation series instead.