ometimes the parallel between the actual world and the projected world is so direct in a science fiction book, it’s obvious.
And sometimes I don’t care.
In Beacon 23, we have a war-torn vet tending a hyperspace beacon that marks and asteroid field. The guts of the station are in the spherical hub. But the broadcasting unit needs to be a distance from it, so it’s on top of a projection for safety. Kinda like… a lighthouse, right?
Just like The Vagrant from last week, you’ve got a single-point POV from this sorry keeper as he tends his beacon, talking to himself and working things out at the edge of space and the edge on sanity. And it’s very entertaining, from the occasional visitor to the flashbacks of war to the wispy smell of bat-shit crazy he projects, its all a fast and entertaining read. The problems he faces are varied (and, in best storytelling method, the author permits us to play along and try to “solve the mystery”). Needless to say, I really liked this one.
Only the ending had a bit of a milk carton moment: to succeed, the main character must do something that is massively reprehensible (and understandable). Yet the book ends in an uplifting happy spool-down which is nice and all, but I can’t imagine that all those he affected with his action would simply ignore him. I can’t say anything more than that but if you do read this otherwise fine novel, ask yourself if you are really okay with the ending. Just saying.
Otherwise, I think this one will make my Best of 2020 next week. But we’ll see. I’m still considering my options of this lean year.
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