Wednesday, July 11, 2007



L.E. Modesitt

Date: 28 June, 2005   —   $7.99   —   Book

product page


Fiction, Science Fiction

I was telling my mother about how good Modesitt's science fiction is, using comments such as "they're all about people trapped by difficult ethical choices." She remarked that they sounded horrible.

Well, hmm. I guess maybe that's not the best way to recommend a book to someone, is it.

I know that most people aren't that concious of ethical choices. But in every well-plotted book, there are obstacles to overcome before the protagonist can get to the end. Modesitt merely internalizes some of those obstacles, and I have to emphasize that he does it well.

In his science fiction, as with his fantasy, his hero figure has to deal with the thought of becoming a monster in response to monstrosity. A simple utilitarian answer— give one life to save ten— doesn't work with most people, and it doesn't work with his protagonists either. So when, for example, you can slow the destruction of society by some unsavory actions... you think... the dilemma becomes a little more interesting, a little more acute. And perhaps there is family in danger, but will you really help them by creating destruction? Or will you only put them in greater danger?

And once again, spoilers intervene. I'd love to go into detail, but that would ruin the action-intense plot. (Action and ethics. Two great tastes...) If you like Modesitt sci-fi, this is another good one.

Flash is set sometime after Archform: Beauty and long before Gravity Dreams. As Modesitt seems intent upon hitting most of the high points in his science fiction universe, clear up to the point where some "angels" get bumped into another universe and lead to the founding of Recluce (nice little gambit there, could have been cliched but very smooth indeed), I look forward to some more of the intervening books between the ad-saturated world of Flash and the nano-infested Gravity Dreams.

No comments: