I haven’t read much lately. With traveling, writing, playing musical instruments, and watching “Stargate SG-1,” I haven’t had a lot of time for it. That’s why it took me weeks to finally finish another book.
Remember how I said I was going to reread the Darkover series? I started. The book I chose to read first was Stormqueen, which is neither the first published nor the first to occur chronologically in Darkovan history. I read it first because it’s the one I felt like reading first.
Stormqueen, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
It’s hard to judge books from different genres of literature on the same grading system because you expect different things from different types of books. This is a good SF book. Yes, a lot of the big hitters in literature are going to get A’s and this book can’t possibly compete with them, but for what it is, it is well written and I just can’t bear to give it a lower grade. It’s like comparing a boy’s first dog, a mutt, with a prize-winning purebred. Which is the better dog? The answer depends on whom you ask. MZB, who wrote a lot about caste systems and breeding programs, might have found the dog simile amusing. In any event, I like the book, hence the A, but I recommend it for SF fans only.
An interesting thing about this book is that one of the main characters has a form of laran (psi powers) that allows him to see the future, not directly, but rather as images of all the potential outcomes of each choice or action, including the choices and actions of other people. Here’s a description from the book.
It took all the discipline of his years at [the monastery] to move securely through the bewilderment of what he now saw, legions of possible futures branching off ahead of him at every step, like different roads he might have taken, new possibilities generated by every word and action. As they traveled the dangerous mountain passes, [he] could see every possible false step which might lead him over a precipice, to be smashed, as well as the safe step he actually took. He had learned at [the monastery] to thread his way through his fear, but the effort left him weak and weary.
Yup. I’ve felt that way myself at times. The good news is that the character learned to control the power and it turned out to be rather handy eventually, but not before he almost died in a variety of unusual ways, which is also part of the fun of the book.