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June 3rd, 2008 - Phil's Rambling Rants

June 3rd, 2008

June 3rd, 2008
09:55 pm

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Book review: Bug Park
Today's book review is Bug Park by James P. Hogan.

This is a complete story and as far as I can tell not connected to any other books.  It is YA, both in the sense of not having any explicit "adult" material and also, sadly, in the sense of not quite bothering to write a plot and characters up to the standards of an adult novel.

The tech speculation is somewhat interesting.  We have one major McGuffin which is a little hard to swallow as an invention that seemingly sprang fully developed from the brow of Zeus, but is fairly believable as something that could develop incrementally, plus we assume some rapid advances in the world of millimeter-scale machines that I think defy physics.  Ultimately, it's a fair taste of just how useful and powerful robots the size of bugs would be, but rather lacking in imagination in just how important the main McGuffin would actually be.  But it's all kind of fun.  The weakness of the novel is in the motivations and actions of some of the characters; the villains are oversimplified considerably, and the heroes do things they shouldn't get away with but then by a lucky chance the bad guys get their comeuppance.

There is some hint of the ranting against scientific orthodoxy that has spoiled several of Hogan's recent books, but it's much less extreme and doesn't get in the way of the story.

Amusing for the most part, but disappointing, because if he'd put as much attention into making the corporate/financial shenanigans that are important to the plot realistic and the plot solid as he did into the tech, it could have been really good.  6 out of 10.

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