Tuesday, September 17 2013

Midnight Girl/Chimera

First, let me say that I’ve been enjoying Will Shetterly’s novels for many years, with the recently-Kindled Witch Blood and Cats Have No Lord being early examples of his fantasy worlds. The well-regarded Liavek shared world anthology is overdue for an ebook rescue as well, but I’m sure the rights are a pain to re-negotiate. One nice thing about his Kindle backlist is the pricing: $2.99. This makes it easy to buy the ones I missed and re-buy the ones that are buried on my shelves somewhere.

Midnight Girl is a short YA novel about a Perfectly Normal teenage girl who sneaks out with her best friend to solve a minor mystery, and ends up in the middle of something much bigger. It’s a light read, charming and breezy despite the occasional bloody death. I think I’d have liked it even more when I was around twelve, but it still works.

Chimera would have worked better whan I was twelve, too, but that’s because I likely wouldn’t have been repeatedly jolted out of the story by the hamfisted world-building that pins All Bad Things on libertarianism, capitalism, christianity, and gun ownership. There’s a fairly decent near-future detective/catgirl story in there somewhere, but unlike his fantasy worlds, Shetterly seems unable to keep his socialism out of his SF, resulting in a world that sounds like the fever dreams of a Daily Kos commenter. The tech is also a mishmash of Cool Stuff dropped in with no apparent thought about how it would affect society if all of these things co-existed.

[note that Chimera predates the Tea Parties, or I’m sure they’d have featured prominently among the Reasons Everything Went Wrong. I mean, with a powerful Libertarian state crushing the common people and enslaving human/animal hybrids, and a theocracy ruling Arizona, I’m sure there’d have been time for some literal teabagging.]