Saturday, January 07, 2006


This morning I finished reading Nick Sagan's first book Idlewild. It was a book nSilico and I both bought at a recent book fair. He finished reading it a day or so before me but wouldn't tell me what he thought of it until I finished it too. I'm still curious as to what he thought of it, but I liked it a lot.

It wasn't the greatest book ever - it was mostly your standard fare Sci-Fi plot with standard Sci-Fi twists thrown in, but I don't want to paint the picture that it was all so unoriginal. Nick has an unusual writing style, an inexhaustible imagination, and the undaunted courage to not hold any of it back. Even if the story holds the same themes you've read a dozen times before, it still manages to become something uniquely his. A lot of the mainstream reviewers criticized the book for not having an easy to follow pace - and while I'd agree that this book didn't have the kind of storyline that might translate easily into a made for TV movie - I think the story flowed well enough. After all, its continuing weirdness was sort of the point. And I loved the dark mood that permeates the entire novel. Parts of it even reminded me of the feel of Orson Scotts Card's Ender's Game - if only a bit, except Card could never be quite that dark.

All I can really say about the story is that it's about a young man named Hal, who wakes up with amnesia and the certain knowledge that someone is trying to kill him. Everything else is for him (and you) to figure out.

I was most surprised to discover in the about the author section at the end of the book that Nick Sagan is the son of famed Scientist/Sci-Fi writer Carl Sagan. Their writing styles, choice of material and general outlooks are totally different. Without a doubt, Nick Sagan is his own creature and not attempting to be a clone of his father. With that said, I'll try to avoid comparisions of the two.

In the end, Idlewild is a fine start for a new writer, and although still shy of true greatness, it's plenty strong enough to for me to add him to my list of 'to read' authors. I'll be sure to check out the book's sequel Edenborn soon.


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