I bought an e-reader specifically so I could read this book.
Seriously, I spent about $215, plus the other twenty bucks for the books, so I could read THE BIG BOOST. This is perhaps an indication of how much I wanted to read it.
I must have read Daniel Keys Moran’s THE LAST DANCER the year it came out, 1993. That means I’ve been waiting pretty close to two decades to read the next book in the series. I re-read the first three books in the series and then forbade myself to read TBB until I’d finished at least 2 of the 3 work projects I needed to do, and in fact finished all of them, wrapping up with a 2200 word short story that I wrote entirely today so I could Read. This. Book.
THE BIG BOOST is dedicated “to everybody who waited.”
That affected me more than it should have, probably, but there you have it. I’ve been waiting a long time, and had in February of this year posted a sad little thing saying that I had finally accepted that there were in fact never going to be any more Continuing Time novels. And, unbelievably, after eighteen years of hanging on and hoping and finally giving up…six weeks later there was one.
It wasn’t worth the wait in the sense of “this is the most mind-blowing piece of fiction I have ever read and my life will never be the same.” Probably no book is worth a twenty year wait in those terms. However, in terms of “I am deeply glad to have gotten to read this” and “yes, by God, I still love these characters intensely”, it was absolutely worth reading, and therefore was evidently worth the wait.
It picks up three and a half years after THE LAST DANCER, and is a Trent story, and heavily features at least one character I should have, but didn’t, expect–and holy crap, what a great storyline that character had, too. So did the main antagonist, which is–
–this is one of the things I love about DKM’s writing, see. I understand his characters, whether they’re nominally good or bad. Very few of them are actual bad guys, even if our heroes are presented as pretty unquestionably the good guys (who, er, you know, steal things and telepathically change peoples’ memories and things). Most of them are people dedicated to different end games, and that puts them at odds with one another, at war with each other in fact, and as a result some of them spend a great deal of time trying to kill others of them. But it’s almost impossible to see Trent’s main antagonist, Mohammad Vance, as an evil or bad man. He’s a very good soldier, and Trent is a real pain in the ass, and it’s very easy to see Vance’s viewpoint. To sympathize with him even though his goals, as presented by the entire voice of the books, are pretty much the wrong ones.
A writer who can do that (nevermind, as I said earlier, can make me want to read entire books about an otherwise totally unknown character simply by a single mention of her name) is a hell of a storyteller, and twenty years from the last book all I am is damned, damned glad that there’s a new one.
DKM very sensibly left an author’s note saying he had no predicted publication date for the second book of the AI Wars, but I can absolutely promise I’m going to buy it the minute it’s available, because after twenty years, after re-reading stories I wasn’t sure would hold up to my twenty-something-self’s fondness for them, I can say without reservation that I. Love. These. Books.
Go on. Treat yourself. Buy the Continuing Time omnibus. And an e-reader, if you need one. :)(x-posted from the essential kit)