Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Growing Up Weightless by John M. Ford

Once again, in my continuing search for new authors to read, I picked up a novel by Mr. Ford. Growing Up Weightless is vaguely reminiscent of Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and some of Allen Steele's near-Earth novels. The protagonist, Matt, is a teenager with far too much leisure time on his hands - spent hanging out at the lunar equivalent of the mall with his friends, playing RPGs on the omnipresent computer network and watching the spaceships (which he'd dearly love to run away on) land and take off from the spaceports.

Behind the tale of Matt and his friends endless pursuit of juvenile amusements, Ford hangs an elaborate tapestry of lunar life and culture. I'm a little perplexed by some of it, but perhaps he wrote some earlier novels in the same setting that might enlighten me when I get around to reading them. There's also some interesting political machinations and intrigue which Matt's father, Albin, is involved with. He's a member of the lunar council responsible for obtaining and managing precious and rare resource of water.

There's some conflict in the relationship between Matt and his father that never really gets explained, though. It nagged at me like a piece of popcorn stuck between my teeth throughout the novel. We see no evidence of abuse or of being overly controlling within the novel to cause Matt's attitude, so maybe it's merely hormonally driven paranoia.

Actually, there's a number of events that are never sufficiently explained, from my point of view. I wondered if the entire novel wasn't an out-take from one of his other works, merely telling a story already told from another point of view.

Worth reading, but not a landmark in the genre.

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