Analog, Crossfire

It’s finally over - “Shootout at the Nokai Corral” has come to the traditional yet satisfying conclusion of all Westerns. The stereotypical Western characters didn’t evolve much to speak of over the course of four issues of Analog, but that’s sci-fi Westerns for you. “The Monopole Affair” wasn’t bad, and I highly recommend “A Good Offense” by Don D’Ammassa, a tale about the diplomatic challenges of dealing with aliens who communicate entirely in insults.

I read the first volume of Otherland by Tad Williams, but those first 800 pages were barely even a start. I realized 300 pages from the end that the margins would not allow space for a conclusion at the author’s current pace. I’ll have to wait until Book 4 for a proper, reviewable ending.

Desperate for something that concludes, I decided to read Crossfire by Nancy Kress. I figured she could be counted on for a simple, one-novel, ends-at-the-end plot, and I was almost right. Most of the book was good - wacky characters and mysterious aliens, a little space travel, more than one moral conundrum, and a running Quaker theme. The only trouble was the end, in which a vital and somewhat vague plot point happened off-stage. In fact, for all I know it didn’t happen at all, and there will be a sequel dealing with the non-event.

One Response to “Analog, Crossfire”

  1. liz Says:

    I’ve read the entire Otherland series. A spoiler free review: well worth the energy. The final volume is somewhat rushed — it was originally going to be 6 volumes, but Tad Williams came to his senses. In my opinion, one rather hurried final book is better than three plot-thin books. The second volume is a touch episodic, but very imaginative. I love the whole series.