Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Offworld 3: Weak points and conclusion

There aren't that many weak points of Robin Parrish’s Offworld when taken by category.

Science. I found myself wishing that Parrish had simply invoked the supernatural to begin with, since that's where we wind up anyway. The invocation of "quantum determinism" is very odd, given that one of the hallmarks of quantum physics is indeterminism. (That's one of the things Einstein didn't like about it, in fact.)

Gadget logic. There were various aspects of the mysterious effect and its use that bothered me. Though it would be involved to explain, the loss of life would almost certainly be extremely high, and scientists ought to realize this. Also, anything that could identify a chromosomal pattern should be able to distinguish between weapons-grade fissionables and the other kind. (Of course, given that non-weapons-grade fissionables could be refined and upgraded, the easy route would've involved turning it all to lead.)

Bad-guy logic. I said the characters were believable, and the good guys are. The bad guys, not so much. If Roston is telling the truth about his motives, he shouldn't have someone like Griffin around--and yes, he should know very well what Griffin's like. This seems to derive from the old "evil military" meme, which I admit ticked me off.

To Whom It May Concern... There's a lot of basic prayer here (Commander Burke asks for "a little help" several times), but no mention of who it's directed to. God? Allah? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? There's clearly something mystical afoot, and on the whole it's not incompatible with Christianity. But neither does it point to Christianity so much as to the simplistic Man (Person?) Upstairs idea.

Don't Talk to the Dead Guy! This should be obvious: Christians do not get mission objectives from dead guys. Biblically, messages are delivered by angels (which means "messenger" anyway). This pushes the ambiguous theology away from Christianity into something else rather disturbing.

Conclusion While the story is a good yarn, the resolution is disappointing and the theology troubling at best. If you're aware of these issues, it may not be such a problem.

The Other Conclusion. This will be my last CSFF post for the foreseeable future. I'll explain that in my next post.

Meanwhile, check out the rest of the CSFF tour:
Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Gina Burgess
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Linda Gilmore
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen (posting later in the week)
John W. Otte
Lyn Perry
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Elizabeth Williams


Rachel Starr Thomson said...

What? You're not coming back? I am really going to miss your posts.

I also wished the book had "invoked the supernatural" from the start; as I said in my own review, the climax was too mystical for the rest of the book. The dead guy point I hadn't thought about.

UKSteve said...

Does that mean you'll be handing on the post of Genuine Fake Reviewer? As someone who hardly ever reads the books anyway, I might put in an application...

Steve said...

I had considered sticking around to do GFRs, but it's probably better just to drop the whole thing.

"It was another exercise in futility. Unfortunately, futility had had so much exercise lately it had turned bully and was beating me up for my lunch money."
Genie Reborn (League of Superheroes 5)

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