Thursday, February 5, 2009

Deadly Relations - Bester Ascendant

The second book in J. Gregory Keye's Babylon 5 Psi Corps trilogy, Deadly Relations - Bester Ascendant, was a marked improvement over the first. I think the first was necessary to provide the complete background to the Psi Corps itself but it involved a lengthy timeline, and multiple characters that all served to set up the story of Alfred Bester himself. And afterall, most readers of this trilogy will be fans of the TV series and Bester is who we want to read about.

The book itself was very nicely written. We get to see Bester from the age of six all the way up until his first visit to the Babylon 5 station. It effectively captures the essence of his younger life and the circumstances in which he grew up, leading us to understand how he evolved into the character on the TV show. It answers many questions on how he came to be so ruthless, how he came to allow himself to bend the rules to get things done, and, most importantly, how he came to be so prejudice against non-psi powered humans (homo sapiens vs homo supremes).

I do tend to like it when "villains" get to have their side of the story heard. Bester, in this book, is a sympathetic figure, more of an anti-hero than a villain. I've read some background on the book and it apparently ties in with other B5 novels and comic books just as well as the TV series. Of course, J. Michael Straczynski has fleshed out the history of his B5 universe far more than most other writers...far beyond what is even hinted at in the TV series. And since he provided the outline for this novel as well as approved the final version, it is no wonder this novel ties in so well. Between his care in building the universe of B5 and the superb writing of Mr Keyes, this book is a winner!

So I finished that book last night and I was able to complete another Deaver More Twisted short story this morning. Afraid was at first very predictable. When I got to what I thought was the "twist" I was thinking "Oh no," I can't believe this made it through the editors...but then I got to the actual twist. This time the twist was not in the suspense story itself (the predictable one) but in the fact that what was happening to the protagonist wasn't what she (and I) thought. It turned out to be a Lady or the Tiger ending, the reader not knowing what the protagonist decided. Those always frustrate me but my complaint on this one is more of the same I have had for other stories in this book...the twists are just a bit too contrived.

Next up...a long past due Carrie by Stephen King.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire