Tuesday, July 20, 2010

CSFF Blog Tour: Starlighter Day Two

Greetings from the future! Er . . . the past. Well, shoot, I'm not sure where I am, temporally speaking, in relation to you, the reader of this blog post. Like yesterday's post, this one also was written a week in advance since I'll be in New Orleans when this post goes live. Confused? Yeah, I am too. Technology has a way of doing that to me.

I bring that up because I think that might be part of the reason why I was put off by Starlighter by Bryan Davis. I just couldn't quite wrap my head around its technology.

When the book started, we see Jason Masters, one of our intrepid heroes, in a sort of gladiatorial game. Swords and shields, that sort of thing. At first, his world feels slightly medieval. That level of technology and societal sophistication. The same can sort of be said for Koren's world as well. There's still a sort of medieval feeling to the story.

But then there are these odd spritzings of sci-fi tropes. Jason's brother is an amateur astronomer (no big deal; they were still studying the sky during the medieval period). Jason finds a "video tube" that needs a genetic sample to unlock it and allow people to watch its contents. The soldiers on Jason's worlds have "photo guns" (a name which really threw me since, instead of taking . . . well, photos, they instead are some sort of hybrid cross between a laser blaster and a flamethrower). And so on, and so forth. And yet in spite of these futuristic embellishments, Jason's society as a whole seems very backward still.

In some ways, the book is an odd blend of fantasy and sci-fi that doesn't quite mesh well enough and I think that's why I ultimately had problems really getting into the book. The setting kept me slightly off-balance and I could never really settle in.

Again, that's probably just me. You can let me know in the comments (keeping in mind that I won't be able to reply for a few more days). In the meantime, go check out what the other tourists have to say:

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Valerie Comer
R. L. Copple
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher


Jill Williamson said...

You raise an interesting point, John. Why did everyone live in such medievally homes if they had such cool technology available? I can't remember, as I read this a long time ago, but it might have been that the peasants didn't get the technology. Still, the castle was quite medieval. If they could make cool video tubes, they should be able to get some nifty electronic locks in the dungeon too, rather than keys. Hmmm.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

See, that's why I think this is fantasy. You don't have to ask "why," just accept that this is the world in which we find ourselves. I don't see this as science fiction or even science fantasy.

There might even be an explanation, but I just don't need it. They have photo guns and DNA-coded keys to courier tubes because they have photo guns and DNA-coded keys to courier tubes.

To me it's like asking how a fawn got goat feet or why a Hobbit is so short. It's just the way things are in Narnia and in Middle Earth.

So in Starlight dragons have technology. That's the way fantasy works.


Bryan Davis said...

Great stuff, John. I agree with Becky. I think the book is squarely in the fantasy category. As I wrote, I didn't feel the need for an explanation about the strange technology issues. Yet, as I continued to write, the thought that a very cool back story lurked gnawed at me.

Since I am a seat-of-the-pants writer, I didn't outline the story in advanced. It came to me as I wrote. So I enjoyed filling in hints about the back story, especially in book #2. The reason for the technology blend turned out to be very intriguing, and it will be fun hearing from readers who will discover the reasons the same way I did, a little bit at a time.