Apr. 3rd, 2006 05:00 pm
threemonkeys: (Waxlion)
Something to remember, don't write the review before you finish the book. I have been reading Crache by Mark Budz in small chunks over the last week or so. Somewhere along the line I pretty much had a review written in my head. As I imagined it, it was a very clever examination of the overlapping areas between hard science fiction and space opera. Discussing the drift of the technical aspects of the book compared to the more static position of an earlier work. But the last 30 pages changed my view of the book so much that it is a different review.

Taking a step back, Crache is a cyber/biotech novel which is set in a post (eco)apocalypse solar system where biotechnology and cyber networks interact and shape a society composed of many smallish groupings which have limited overlap. Much of this was explored in Budz' first novel Clade, but Crache is not really a sequel, it just shares the universe. The story centres around a plague and how three individuals are drawn into combating it. The science/technology is clever but does tend to drift into the space opera "just invent the gadget you need" rather than the extreme extrapolation of existing ideas which is the starting point.

The thing about these story driven cyber (and now biotech) books in general is that the characters tend to get a bit lost. This seemed to be the case with this work too. You could see Budz trying to create characters with back stories and depth but it just didn't seem to take. The effort was being lost amongst the technology. But then as the book was coming to an end, all these bits and pieces of back story and character building came together and it made sense. It added a lot to what is really a story and technology driven book up until then.

So my opinion of the book changes, so the way I want to describe it changes a little - just enough to mess up my review. Such is life. If you like work where societies have really been restructured, where the extension of current technological trends changes the way we think and interact with people and society, If you like lots of cool sounding tech jargon, if you like all the Gibson, Sterling, Cadigan etc cyberpunk stuff then you may well like Crache. But I still think that Clade is the better book, so read that first.


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