Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Book Report: Duplicate Effort, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

This was the latest book in the Retrieval Artist series, which is being marketed as a Sci-Fi CSI. I disagree with that. What I don't disagree with is that it's a very good book. It's a mystery in a sci-fi setting, and a true sci-fi book according to the strictest definition: if you removed the future tech, the story would collapse. The characters are well drawn, most of them familiar from earlier books in the series, and the story is really the impact of a murder investigation on those characters.

The ending tone of the book makes me think it may be the last in the series. If so, I won't be disappointed. Mrs. Rusch has told some great stories in this milieu and if she feels she has no more good ones she can tell here, then I'm satisfied.

Beyond that, I don't know what more to say.

Except this little personal anecdote: back in the early 90's when I was flogging a lot of short stories, I sent one to the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. KKR was editor. After some time had passed (less than the stated, "we'll reply by" guideline), I received a phone call from her husband. They had read my work and decided it wasn't quite right for F&SF.

I didn't know what to say, except thank-you (I'm Canadian. It's a reflex). I was receiving an actual telephone call from an actual magazine editor (well, her husband). For a rejection. More than a decade later, I'm still trying to figure out why they bothered (if he told me, I don't remember it). I'm pretty sure I included an SASE with IRC, since I'm pretty anal about those things. And I could see calling me to let me know they were interested, but calling for a rejection? Wow.

Since irony is the most abundant metal in most of my posts, let me state categorically that I was impressed and flattered, and look back fondly on their kindness (which I took as encouragement).

Ulysses Rating: 4 - I loved this.

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