Monday, March 9, 2009

Final Reckoning, The Fate of Bester

I have enjoyed reading everything I've read so far by J. Gregory Keyes but he has remained one of my "B" list authors. His stuff has been enjoyable but not so fantastic that I just can't wait to read his next work. However, after completing Final Reckoning, The Fate of Bester, the third and concluding volume of his Babylon 5 spin-off series, that status might very well change...for the better. Whereas the second book ended with Alfred Bester just about to step foot on the Babylon 5 space station for the first time, this one begins after the television series is complete. It helps to have seen all 5 seasons of the TV show, but is not necessary to enjoy this book (or this trilogy for that matter). The references to the events and characters of the show are suprisingly minimal and I believe uninitiated readers will not feel like they are missing something.

Having said that, readers who are familiar with the TV series will be delighted, as I was, to finally find out what happened to Bester. I knew going in that Garibaldi (the former security chief of Babylon 5) would have to play a major role in whatever was to happen, and indeed he does. But despite that interaction, the novel is really about Bester himself. Bester is a villain, no doubt about it. But as with the best villains of fiction, the reader becomes sympathetic to how he became the way he became. The trilogy as a whole is somewhat like a Shakepearean tragedy in that good people can be caught up in circumstances that lead them down the wrong path. Such is the case with Alfred Bester. This is a book (and trilogy) that examines the truism that "one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter."

I'm very glad I took a chance on this TV tie-in trilogy (usually they are pretty horrible). Mr Keyes has moved up to a strong B+ author for me and I'll now seek out his newer works to see if he can bump up to the "A" list.

And I'm also pleased to report that Jeffrey Deaver's short story "Voyeur" is the second outstanding short story in his collection, More Twisted. A good, engaging story, interesting characters, and great plot unfolding. Two great stories in a row...hopefully the string will continue...

Next up: I've already begun The Company of Liers by David Ellis

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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