threemonkeys: (Waxlion)
I have not been well the last few days - some virus getting the better of me. This means my Buffy marathon has been on hiatus, what with watching TV being too much for my sore brain. But in my more lucid moments I have been able to do some reading.

Many (many many) years back, I was a regular reader of Sheri S Tepper's work. I liked the characters, the world-building, the odd bits of social comment and the promise of the storyline. But after a while I stopped reading her books. I think it was that while the plots had promise, it was never delivered. I would start a book that began really well which would then lose its way, often with a very unsatisfactory ending. It wasn't a conscious choice, but I just found myself passing on her newer titles as hey came along.

With the above in mind, I decided to read Sideshow. As I started, I had a "wow" reaction. This book was really really good - even better than anything I remembered from all those years ago. Interesting characters, great worldbuilding, just a few sociopolitical barbs and the promise of a fascinating mystery. But the thing which really impressed me was the way the character interaction was handled. The point of view eased from one character to another so you were in the heads of all the cast. The transitions for this pov change were always clear which is a big deal as usually when a writer attempts this I keep missing them and having to backtrack to verify who is who. The alternative is to make the pov changes very obvious to the point of being clunky. But Tepper gets it just right - I love it when an author manages to be clever and clear at the same time.

Ultimately this book does suffer from the same meandering plot failures and intellectually unsatisfying endings as her other work that I had read. But this isn't a particularly recent title and yet it shows growth in technique and skill over earlier work. There has to be hope that even more recent works will be better still. I am sure I will have to try again at a much shorter interval than the last.


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June 2015

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