Friday, March 25, 2011

Out of the Dark by David Weber

Out of the DarkSo, I guess David Weber got bored playing around in the Honorverse, and things were getting a little crowded with all his friends hogging the swingsets and slides there, so he decided to branch out again and try a new world on for size. For all of you over the age of fifteen, would you please raise your hand if you've ever read a science fiction story about technologically advanced aliens from outer space, part of an alliance, or hegemony, or federation, who have decided that it would be a good idea to pretty much wipe out the human race and take over planet Earth. Really? All right, if you've read those stories, you've read this one, too.

I'm very sorry, but there's absolutely nothing new or novel here from Weber. It is Weber, however, and so the writing is good, and the characters somewhat interesting, and all the details are nicely taken care of. It's a pleasant way to spend a few hours...but not much else. The way the "flavor" of this book tasted to me within the first fifty pages or so, I thought Weber had written it on spec for Baen books. Seemed just like all the Ringo/Kratman/Williamson/Drake/Flint potpourri of alien invasion that just all blends together. Thank God I didn't pay hardcover price to read it.

Ok, so there was one really odd twist that came into play about two thirds of the way through, when a slightly different character gets introduced late into the plot line, in a chance meeting under the trees in Romania, which is significant. A local warlord shows up, whose followers look like nothing but peasants but can move silently and quickly through the forests like great silent predators. He doesn't quite swirl his cape and disappear into darkness, but the vibe is definitely there. And if you figure out in about two paragraphs who and what this guy is, like I did, you'll still not be any closer to understanding why Weber chose to rescue Earth in the rather improbable way that he does to wrap things up, than I am. The only thing I can figure is Dave just felt like he wasn't getting a piece of that undead love that permeates the literary landscape these days.

I certainly hope this isn't the beginning of the end for Weber's output.

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