Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Captains and Opera

I'm a real sucker for Horatio Hornblower type science fiction. The best, by far, is the Miles Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. The Naomi Novik series, about Captain Will Laurence (dragons and Napoleonic ships!) is also fun. I couldn't really get into the Honor Harrington series, which seemed like a poor copy of Bujold's books.

And this series, about Captain Nicholas Seafort. Prisoner's Hope, by David Feintuch, is the third book out of five, and I'd read the other four. A fascinating wreck of a character -- a priggish, guilt ridden, martinet Hornblower. Disliked him all the way through -- but the true test, I guess, is that I read them all.

One of the things I really, really liked about the Vorkosigan series is that Miles is shown as a strong, eithical, intelligent character. Whereas it seems to me that Nicholas Seafort seems to fall into situations, showing neither smarts or talent, but nevertheless wins in the end. It's the Lord Foul's Bane compared to Lord of the Rings, if you will.

Death at La Fenice is a well written parlor room mystery, or in this case, an opera house mystery. Set in Venice. Interesting enough, but I've really lost interest in this kind of mystery. Devoured all the Agatha Christie and Josephine Tey books when I was younger, and kept reading. But they seem too mannered and formal to me these days.

I prefer the hard-boiled type mystery -- though I'm well aware that they are just as mannered and formal in their own ways.

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