martes, 22 de marzo de 2016

Insistence of vision - David Brin (english review)

Disclaimer: English is my third language,  so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks. You can read this review also in spanish here.

Another great author listed in the blog. David Brin is known for his award-winning Uplift saga (based on an interesting premise but that didn't engage me; of six novels I've only read two), as well as The Postman, which was later made into a film by Kevin Costner. But if I have to choose a previous work to the collection that I present today I prefer Kiln people. I also want to read Existence, his last novel, published in 2012, but it's still waiting its turn in my ereader...so much too read and so little time...

Insistence of Vision is an anthology of stories of very variable length, written over a fairly long period of time and with very different themes. Its irregularity it's inevitable. There are brilliant stories, other interesting,  and several who have not finished to convince me and that I will soon forget.
Insistence of VisionThe structure of the anthology is well planned, as it brings together the stories in thematic blocks. Brin also writes a brief explanation of each story, sometimes at the beginning, sometimes at the end, it is a good complement to the experience. Especially when, very often, it's hard to enter into the stories, they are not easy. And when you get used to the scenario and start getting hooked, they use to end abruptly.
The first block, What We May Become, includes the stories related to the technological evolution of humans. It is the block I liked most with really interesting stories about genetic and biological changes (Chrysalis), about virtual worlds and identity of the IA (Stones of significance) or about technological changes that allow you to change the perception of people (Insistence of vision).
The second block, How we will endure, brings together stories set in a universe in which a far more powerful aliens than us, the Coss,  invade us and dominate us. I hope I can read other stories related to this universe, it has left me very intrigued. Of note is the story  The Tumbledowns of Cleopatra Abyss, with a spectacular location (habitats connected in the seabed of a terraformed Venus) and social setting (a hierarchical matriarchal structure).

From here the book loses strength, and costs more to find surprising stories. In the block When we Overcome are gathered stories about alternative futures. I highlight the story Mars opposition based on the arrival of the Martians to earth, a little annoyed by our tendency to send probes to investigate their planet.
Strangely this story is not included in the block Who we'll meet, centered in the encounters with extraterrestrial civilizations. I had fun especially with Fortitude, which narrates with a lot of humor the possibility of the extraterrestrial origin of life on Earth.

In short: the mixture of themes, lengths and structures of the stories causes that this anthology is very irregular. There are brilliant stories, as you would expect from a writer of the category of David Brin, but there are too many that didn't surprise me or didn't left me thinking about them. After reading this book I think that Brin is an author who is able to take more profit of his brilliant ideas in novels than in short stories.

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