Sunday, December 15, 2013

In the Courts of the Sun, by Brian D'Amato - post-humanist bio-punk essay as novel

In the Courts of the SunIn the Courts of the Sun by Brian D'Amato
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Michael Crichton meets Neal Stephenson meets Frank Herbert with a Mesoamerican flavor. Good stuff about game theory and lots of fun tech in the beginning. Unfortunately, for my taste anyway, it bogs down in the middle with an endless journey to the horrors of 6th century Mesoamerica. It's very interesting in an academic way, but the long drawn-out descriptions of every little thing, including multiple acts of violence, really killed the pacing in my opinion. It was like he was channeling Jules Verne or Herman Melville, with laborious illustrations of Mayan culture and folkways and ceremonies and architecture ad nauseam.

I did enjoy the protagonist and his tongue-in-cheek approach to life, and although his relationships with other characters are a bit odd at time, this fits with his Aspbergers and other issues. Overall it's an amazing novel, but when I find I'm just waiting for it to be over, then I can't give it five stars. The last few chapters were so heavily philosophical that I felt like it sucked all the energy out of the plot and just became a treatise on post-humanism or something.

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