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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey

Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey
This is volume 4 of a series. I read the first three and they were pretty good, but I had a problem with this one. We have a space expedition, and on this expedition we have a security chief, and I don't think I have ever taken a dislike to anyone faster or with less evidence. I got about half way through this book and I'm wondering why doesn't somebody just shoot this guy already? He is just loathsome. It got so bad I had to put the book down.
    A couple of months ago I started using the treadmill at The Zoo. That worked okay for a bit but then one day I come in and they are all occupied, so I look around for something else to do and notice that a recumbent exercise bike is available. I 've been using it ever since.
    Exercise machines like treadmills and bicycles are inherently boring. All this work and you are still stuck in the same place. Many people use music to combat this, but that requires earphones of some sort, some kind of magic box to hold your tunes, and a bunch of tunes to listen to. The first two are simple mechanical problems. Compiling a list of tunes would be a bit of a chore for me. Make that dang near impossible. I just don't see it happening.
     So I read. Reading while cycling takes a bit of concentration, but it seems to be working okay for me, and it doesn't have to be a great book, even medium books are tolerable in this environment. So a couple of weeks ago I picked up Cibola Burn and resumed reading it.
     Security Chief Murtry isn't any less loathsome now, but he doesn't get as much of my attention since I have to keep pushing on these pedals and so he is not as annoying. The worst part of this is that for most of the book Murtry isn't doing anything wrong. He's the security chief and he's charged with the safety of a group of people. There are other people in the arena and some of them are not playing very nice, so Murtry has reason for his hard line attitude. What amazed me, and still does, is that it didn't take very many words to make me hate Murtry. What does that say about the reports we get from mass media, AKA 'the news'?
    Towards the end of the book there is a big fight scene. It reads like a script for an action-thriller movie. We've got the good-guy / hero embarking on a perilous journey to save the world, we've got a couple of cute girl scientists wandering into the scene, we've got a good guy thug doing his best to stop the evil villain, and naturally this all plays out in spectacular setting. That would be okay, except that the hero got there by traveling for hours on a high speed mag lev train and everyone else got there by driving dune buggies overland. And they caught up to the hero. You'd think people who could navigate spaceships would be able to see the problem with this scenario, but nobody does.
    All in all, pretty good. Except for Murtry. I still hate him. And he's still alive. Have we got some ethicist watching the outcomes of our fictional police actions? I would feel a lot better if these patently evil characters were executed before the end of the story.

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