July 31, 2005

Very Bad Deaths by Spider Robinson

head only portraits of the three main characters above a Pacific Northwest island sceneAnother Endeavour contestant, though I'd already bought a copy so I would have read this one anyway.

Spider Robinson has been stuck in sort of a rut for 20 years, but it's a rut that I like. Almost all of his books depict lovable misfits who save the world through luck (often bad), hard work, inspiration, and getting psychic. The threat changes, but the pattern of figuring out the solution doesn't vary in flavor all that much. In Very Bad Deaths, the threat is from the king of all psychopaths who's got a nasty plan that must be foiled. The foilers are an aging suicidal newspaper columnist, his college friend nicknamed "Smelly" who has discovered the plot (through means which are a spoiler despite the fact that the jacket copy describes them in detail. Don't read the jacket copy! Of any book. At least until you're done with the book.), and a woman they enlist who's a cop.

What makes Spider's books fun, though, is the outrageous details he weaves into these tall tales, and the way he makes it seem reasonable that real-seeming people make intuitive leaps that belong in a Heinlein novel. If you like Spider's stuff you'll like this book. If you haven't read him before you might like this book if a humorous SF thriller sounds like fun. If you're one of the many people who got tired of Spider's schtick a long time ago, it's not safe to come back yet. As I'm in the first group, I had a ball reading this book.

Posted by jeffy at July 31, 2005 08:29 PM