I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately—a lot, like binging. 22 books this month alone. I don’t know if I’m addicted, feeding some beast, just bored, curious about something, or avoiding something else. The point, though, is that I’m almost where I’ll read any-old-thing. Once that happens, if it does, I won’t bother with the library, as my own home has plenty of books in it to last me the rest of the year, or until this habit dies off (isn’t there a World of Warcraft patch coming out soon?).
But until I reach the critical-mass of any-old-thing, I’m trying to keep up my momentum by sampling the genres. I was in the mood for sci-fi, so I browsed the shelves at my local bookstore, and found The Restoration Game. The cover looked intriguing, the opening page looked compelling, and so I took it. Started reading it yesterday afternoon.
The Restoration Game is not sci-fi.
But then, I mean, I don’t know what else it is. A spy novel, more or less, a thriller, a political thriller maybe. There’s the first few pages, which are very sci-fi, and the last few. And a speculation on page 136, and the big “reveal” on page 211. But that hardly makes up for the fact that 97 percent of this book is not sci-fi.
I mean, it’s a fine story, I guess. Gets really bogged down in the history and politics of the former and present Soviet states, especially Georgia and South Ossettia. I have no education in this area whatsoever, and reading those portions was more or less impenetrable. That’s all backdrop for a story about this girl who comes from a lineage of spooks and who is recruited to do some spooking of her own for nefarious, mysterious reasons.
But it’s just so unsatisfying. The “big reveal” is handled almost flippantly. The main character takes it all in stride, comes up with an on-the-spot and shrug-worthy idea to exploit what she finds, and the end result is, well, nothing. Life goes on.
I wanted to read a sci-fi novel, not a novel that had a sci-fi book-ends placed on it and was tweaked in a few places to make the book-ends fit. Who knows, maybe this is a whole sub-genre of sci-fi that I’m not aware of. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of the philosophy that comes with a sci-fi novel, lots of manifesto-filling commentary on the world’s political systems. But I expected… well, I guess it’s my own fault, I wanted something stupid and fun.
You know, to keep up my momentum, which is born on a compulsion the root of which I don’t really understand right now.