Friday, 3 July 2009

Fiction Book Review - Keeping It Real

NB - I will be posting this review on and as well


"Keeping It Real" by Justina Robson is a fun read. It's one of those Science Fantasy novels that blurs the distinction between Science Fiction and Fantasy even more than it already is. That the female main character is a cyborg and the male main character is an elf kind of sums that up.

Premise - in 2015 a Supercollidor in Texas explodes and rips a hole between dimensions. Six years later humanity is having to deal with magic, elves, demons, faeries and elementals. And Special Agent Lila Black, a young woman who's half-robot after nearly being killed by an elf (and who thus has 'issues' with elves) has just been assigned as bodyguard to Zal - an elven rockstar.

Yes, it's fun, but it's certainly not high art. It has no pretensions of being high art.

This is, however, a book in serious need of an editor. I've read in many writing books that the major publishing houses are neglating editing and publishing stuff that they think will sell without editing. And bloody hell, I think they're right. This could have done with both editing (the plot flags in places - but not too many) and copy-editing (hello, traditionally published book with more gramatical errors than some self-published books I've read). Clearly Gollancz are neglecting editing.

It's sad, because this is a good book that could have been very good with some tight editing. It's still a good read anyway as long as you can tolerate the slight sloppiness of the execution, and as long as you take it for what it is (extremely silly fun) and don't expect more than that.

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