Tuesday, November 10, 2009
R - Fallen Angels by Niven, Pournelle & Flynn
Fallen Angels is a collaboration by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn. Sometimes collaborations come off very well and sometimes they seem to miss a bit. In this case there is more of a feeling of missing a bit. The basic premise is interesting: The earth is pretty much taken over by environmentalist government that opposes technology. A new ice age is developing because of climate change and the governments are blaming it on the few humans living in a space habitat who regularly come down to scoop up a bit of air for the nitrogen in it. One of the scoop ships gets shot down and a bunch of pro-technology science fiction fans decide to rescue the pilots and then try to return them to space.
There's a lot of interesting thoughts in the book about government control and about those who use junk science for their own ends, but I got rather tired of the continual anti-environmentalist tone. The Sci-Fi fans also get a bit wearisome as they just don't have any real depth to them. In fact, if I had to make a single criticism of this book it would be that the character development is very poor. Niven and Pournelle have both written a lot of very good stuff, both individually and collaboratively, but this book is not one to put with their other works. It is trite, strident and ultimately unsatisfying. I can't give it more than a "B" grade and at least part of that is on the author's reputation alone. More realistic is a "C" grade and the suggestion that there is a lot of stuff out there that is more fun to read.