Monday, March 24, 2014

Review of Bid The Gods Arise by Robert Mullin

Bid the Gods Arise is well-written for the most part, and competently for all of it. There were two reasons why I knocked a book I mostly enjoyed down to three stars: 1. I hate it when God is a character in a book and chats with the other characters. Most people aren't bothered by that, but this is my review, and the practice bugs the snot out of me. 2. I have no problem with fallen-to-primitive-levels cultures, but here we have cultures that use space ships, and they fight with swords???? I suppose Star Wars started it all with light sabers, but grumble, grumble, even the people who weren't Jedi used guns. Japan had guns and then was able to ban them for two hundred years so that fighters would only use samurai swords, until Commodore Perry sailed in with really big guns, and believe you me the Japanese grabbed trains and boats and guns as fast as they could so that would never happen to them again. I could not suspend my disbelief on that issue. Another thing that was not high enough to make a separate bullet point on the list of irritations was the inconsistency of the actions by the bad guys. That inconsistency brought to mind the words of Alan Dean Foster who said about movies: A good visual will always trump science.
On the other hand, there was some lovely metaphysical discussion that brought to mind the eldil in Out Of The Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis. I especially liked the finger in the fishbowl metaphor. And there are lovely other kinds of teaching in the book as well. I should warn you that if you are the type of person who finds that anybody anywhere believing in God makes you miserable or angry, this book is not for you.
Another thing I did like was the invention of some of the animals on the worlds. I'm a sucker for such things, and Mullin made me happy there, until we reached the flying monkeys. For some reason I would not accept that. Just, no. And I can't even tell you why. The Greylands bothered me until we were given an absolutely wonderful explanation for the phenomenon. Over all, a plus for his inventiveness as well as for interesting good characters, and understandable weak characters. The evil characters, well, this is space opera
I was dismayed at the end by the loose strings untied until I realized there is another book, which I would have known if I had been paying even a particle of attention, so that's all my fault.
All in all, if you like space opera and don't mind a few buckets of blood, you should really like this book.

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