On My Bookshelf: SF That Often Doesn’t Get Finished

I’ve had a particularly difficult time reading science fiction these days. A few days ago someone in real life asked me for a recommendation, and I struggled to think of one.

I remember a passage in a recent novel of a fairly prolific sf author. He mentioned a crescent moon rising. This can happen if one is up just before dawn. Alas, this sight was enjoyed by people having dinner after a long working day. It was on the planet Earth, where the full moon can be seen rising in the early evening. The evening crescent moon sets in the west a bit after sundown.

I read a first novel earlier this year. A crew was on a long-duration mission in the solar system, and on their way home. There were flashbacks to their exploration of Jupiter and its moons, where they spent two weeks. There were circumstances driving the book’s plot suggesting this wasn’t unusual. Problem is: Jupiter is a fairly big system. And it’s also a long way from Earth. These astronauts would have needed a minimum of a month to explore the way they described. And if you’re going to spend a year or two round-tripping to Jupiter and back, you might as well spend several months when you get there. Not a biggie in terms of the story, but that just made the whole thing more distracting and needless.

That other novel I finished this week, Sirius: I found no howlers to distract me. Good editor there.

I know that established authors sometimes get a pass from their editors. Editors unfamiliar with science fiction let a lot of silly errors pass. Is it just me or have novels gotten sloppier these days?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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