Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In the Country of the Blind

In the Country of the BlindIn the Country of the Blind
Michael Flynn
Tor Science Fiction, 2003
ISBN-10: 076534498X
ISBN-13: 978-0765344984
Let me start my review by stating that the cover of this book does not portray the contents; sorry. 
I believe this book was Michael Flynn's first novel.  I have read some of his Firestar Novels and enjoyed them.  He seems to like the ensamble cast with multiple plot lines that diverge and all lead back.  I do to.  He also likes to write about strong female characters. 
This book is about the study of Cliology.  Think Asimov's Foundation psychohistory, or a direct translation, the science of history.  In this book, an algarithim is discovered by Charles Babbage that will allow the prediction of the future.  A secrtet society is formed around this secret.

150 years or so later, Sarah Beaumont finds a slip of paper in an old home she is renovating that leads her to investigate some turning points in history.  Her digging atracts the now split Babbage Society and the adventure begins as one group tries to help her while the other hunts her.
The book is interesting, but it long winded at times.  The characters are a little flimsy with Sarah being almost superhuman in her skillset and knowledge base.  She comes off as too perfect.  The rest of the characters are almost two dimensional.  The story is kind of dated.  I believe it started as a short story in the early 90's and he didn't really change much of his lingo on computers for the novel. 
The weak point of this novel is editing.  It could have been 100 pages shorter, easily.  I like diverging plotlines but Flynn almost loses control in this book.  Character development is also weak.  I found myself not really caring about the characters and wanting the book to get back to cliology. 
This book probably won't be for everyone.  Flynn lets his politics into his books and he is pretty conservative.  Liberals probably won't like the conservative ideals that he eschews in the book, but at the same time some of the characters are gay.  This book is fairly tame on the sex/violence/language scale and would probably be okay for 13+ crowd.  Results may vary.

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