Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Yo! Joe!

Keeping the SF theme rolling, I read the Cobra trilogy by Timothy Zahn since it was all there at the library in a single volume while I was looking for the next Dragonback book. (He's big into reptiles, neh?) It was clear that this was really more than one book, and the first was the best and the last was the worst; one comes to expect such things. I find that when someone starts a series by writing a book that could stand on its own, and then later writes sequels, those sequels rarely live up to the standard of the original and end up feeling tacked on. LeGuin's Earthsea series has this problem, Asimov's Foundation series does too and many others.

The Cobra books deal with the creation of a group of enhanced super-warriors dedicated to leading guerrilla movements on worlds occupied by alien invaders and what happens to them after the wars conclude. The first book deals plausibly (as far as such a word can apply to a SF book) with the scenario, always taking into account that our protagonist will be the hero of each story. And the great power ends up coming with a steep price in the form of a dramatically reduced life-span in which the last few years are filled with excruciating pain. It isn't a ground-breaking work, but neither does it slavishly follow the clich├ęs about heroes. The first is worth a read for SF fans, but the second is less important, and the last seemed to me a frivolous tacking-on.

Listening to: DWP - Canon (by Pachelbel)
via FoxyTunes