Feb 15, 2003

That feeling of a sore behind must mean I’ve been spending the weekend at a science fiction convention, where the main pasttime, at least for me, is sitting in relatively uncomfortable conference room chairs listening to panels. This year’s Boskone has David Brin as guest of honor, whom I’ve seen a couple of times before at Worldcons, and who is definitely a smart guy and an engaging speaker with a good sense of humor, although sometimes he can be a bit preachy. Half the time I’ve seen him in the past it’s been in conjunction with Greg Bear, who also very much likes the sound of his own voice, and when the two of them get together it’s quite the ego-fest, so this has been a good chance to hear Brin by himself, or on panels where hardly any of his fellow panelists can keep up. I’ve had Infinity’s Shore sitting on my shelf to read for years, and since I read Brightness Reef when it was a Hugo nominee several years ago, and it was such a tough slog, I could never bring myself to attempt the next book in the series. So recently I went back and acquired Sundiver and the Uplift War (I read Startide Rising in college), and am in the process of systematically reading through them to make my way up to Infinity’s Shore sometime in the next six months or so. His books are crammed full of ideas, probably the best-written alien biologies of anyone I’ve read, and so varied are the various alien races he uses that it’s hard to keep track of them all sometimes. His prose definitely has a way with words, and much like in his public speaking the sound of his own voice sometimes seems to be more the point than what he’s trying to say. As a result the books are probably on the long side, and somewhat unfocused, but unlike Vernor Vinge not such a mess that you lose sight of either the big picture or the attention to detail. So far it’s been a fun weekend. Hope to have more convention info tomorrow.

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