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Readings and Ramblings

This is Readings and Ramblings. It is readings because this is a site for blogging about books and I intend to do that. It is ramblings because I might want to write about something else now and then.

The Darkling Plain - L.A.  Wilson I was expecting a science fiction story and got a detective story. There is really nothing original about this book. It is a very common crime fiction motif for a prostitute to turn up horribly murdered and dismembered. It is not unusual for the prostitute to be the daughter of a powerful man, a congressman in this case. It is common for a large and powerful corporation to be involved with shady deals and practices being discovered in the murder investigation. It is standard fare for a detective to go around collecting evidence and interviewing people with possible connections to the murder victim. It is not even unusual for all these crime fiction trophes to be set in outer space making it a science fiction mystery novel. This book is purported to be science fiction, but one of the definitions of science fiction that I have heard is that the story must contain references to some aspect of science or technology so integral to the story that if it is removed there is no story. By that definition this is not science fiction. Everything could be removed from its setting in an interplanetary space opera and the murder mystery detective story would still be there.
So why did I give it four stars? I gave it four stars because I enjoyed it. I was tempted to say that I enjoyed it in the same way that I enjoyed movies like "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" or "Plan Nine from Outer Space," but that is not quite true. In the case of those movies I enjoyed them because of how bad they were. I reveled in their badness. This book is not really bad though. Despite its shortcomings it is entertaining. The four stars simply reflect the degree of entertainment I got from it. And, besides, isn't entertainment what fiction is really all about anyway?