My Elves Are Different

Tuesday, 15 May 2007


  • Seeker is set approximately ten thousand years in the future. What has changed in that time? NOTHING. There's interstellar travel of course, and people have AIs to answer the phone for them, but apart from that, everyone lives pretty much the way you do today. Middle-class America is the endpoint of human cultural evolution. And almost the end of technological advancement too.
  • This isn't science fiction as pop rocks, or ice water enema, it's a warm fuzzy blanket that says everything is going to be alright, there's nothing radical in the future, no singularity or whatnot. I'd call it mundane SF, but it lacks that puritanical zealotry that the mundanistas have to address real life concerns. And it has FTL.
  • I'm a Jack McDevitt fan. I love the way his novels revolve around archaeological or antiquarian mysteries. But I'm having trouble telling if I've read them before or not. I'd recommend his Hutch novels over the Alex Benedict series any day.
  • I think this was a lifetime achievement award disguised as a best novel award. Jack's a perennial Nebula finalist, and a good guy, I'm sure. This year his turn finally came along.
  • Update: don't forget to subscribe to Scalpel Magazine's feed. You can probably tell from the punctilious hyphenation of the domain name that Gabe Chouinard is involved with the project ;-)

8 comments:

jörn said...

I just wish McCarthy could have won; his novel was the perfect ending for a marvelous trilogy.

Jonathan said...

Jeez Steve, don't hold back whatever you do!

You're right about the timidity though. I really do wonder what yardstick was used to decide that this was the best Sf novel of the year.

Thanks for the Scalpel link. Is it any surprise that the punctuation is correct? whenever anyone mentions Gabe's name they refer to him as "gabe chouinard" with no capitals, as though he's some kind of wine bar or a brand name.

Anonymous said...

The thing about Jack McDevitt is that his characters have to go "brain dead" to advance the plot. I remember one character, previously threatened with murder, who gets in his air car and then notices that it has been tampered with. No problem! Off he goes! Would you believe, big problem occurs!!!
I noticed also that his last book pandered to several political ideas popular with SWFA.
Gray Roger, at your service.

Deep Furrows said...

Meet George Jetson!

Steve said...

jörn - it would have been great to see McCarthy win ... although for me there would have been an element of 'lifetime achievement' in such a decision.

jonathan - someone had to say it! It's an homage to the Scalpel ethos!

Gray Roger - I'm not sure if JM pandered to any ideas, I think he just holds the same ideas.

deep furrows - hehe The Jetsons is quite radical compared to Seeker.

jörn said...

At least you can't blame McCarthy to write the same thing over and over again.

Mind you, since I haven't read any of the other nominated novels, I can't really say whether there were more worthy ones.

ArielUK said...

I had a similar problem with one novel - I forget which one - that was set thousands of years into a galactic diaspora, yet the main character kept harping on about (if I remember rightly) sixteenth and seventeenth century philosophers... as if the whole of human thought had been standing still from that moment on...

WorldWithoutToil said...

Honestly, I get that sensation about real life sometimes.