Freedom’s Gate by Naomi Krivitz is the next up. It was part of the recent WorldCon swag, and while it was above-average for the books that get handed out there for free, I’m not sure I’ll continue with the series.
I can’t really say why, either, which bothers me. Usually if a book leaves me cold (or luke-warm, in this case) I can easily point to a reason. For whatever reason, I just found it hard to care about this lead. Maybe it’s the new geographical hotspot (is it just me or are there suddenly a huge number of fantasies based in the myths of Kazakhs and their immadiate neighbors?) that just doesn’t reach me. Consciously, the biggest fault I can see with the book is that I felt smarter than the lead. Since the story was really unfinished (it’s part one of a cycle) I can’t be sure I truly am, but that’s the way I felt.
And maybe that is part of the problem. It’s Yet Another Epic. I declare, is there some sort of publishing conspiracy that forces writers to pad out their stories to make multi-book epics? I suppose it’s an easier sell than simply tripling the price of a single, well-crafted book, but I’ve [tried to] read too many novellas masquerading as novels int he last few years. I’ve decided it’s time to go back to the magazines. At least there I can get real short fiction, instead of artificially lengthened stories.
This complaint doesn’t apply to all writers in Science Fiction today, but to a depressingly large proportion of them.