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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
In The Country Of The Blind

Copyright 2001 by Michael Flynn

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Mediocre (1/5)

I first read this on the 6th June 2003.

Contrary to popular 19th Century history, the Babbage Analytical Engine was built and worked. It was used to power the weighty calculations of the new discipline of Cliology, the science of history. It was used in secret because Cliology gave its adepts the power to rule the world.

Sarah Beaumont is investigating an intriguing historical murder. Little does she know that this will bring to the dangerous attention of the Babbage Society, the world's secret rulers.

I was blown away by his "Stars" series ("Firestar", "Rogue Star", "Lodestar" and "Falling Stars"). These were wonderful novels and will become SF classics. However, this novel doesn't even come close. I finished reading this two days ago and I remember almost nothing of it. I have no idea what it was about.

Interestingly (or not), my inability to remember novels is why I created SF Reviews. No longer would I have to rely on my memory. If I can complete this review I'm clearly going to prove this site a success, if not this novel.

Ah, a little cheating by glancing at the book's back cover and it all comes back to me, just as when you awaken on a Friday morning and head is pounding and your stomach cramping and the memory of your rashness on Friday night begins to return.

Flynn wanted to write a neo-Victorian, steampunk novel, but he also wanted to write a conspiracy thriller. In the end neither is well done. The result is hardly SF and we're left with unconvincing characters stumbling around confusedly for several hundred pages and being very nearly killed very many times.

I was also peeved that the computer stuff, except for "Internet" replacing "national Datanet", wasn't updated from the original 1990s version. In fact it was all a bit of a disappointment.

Loaded on the 29th February 2004.
    
Cover of In The Country Of The Blind
Cover by Allan Pollack