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Eris R Lebeau

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A phrase is not just a group of words in search of meaning; it is much more than that; it is the synthesis of a way of looking at life and the world. They are abstract se..  
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Review: Dust by Elizabeth Bear
By Eris R Lebeau   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2008

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AI angels, sentient tools, and a world in peril...

“Dust,” by Elizabeth Bear, is sure to become a classic work of speculative fiction. The premise takes staples of fantasy, such as angels and warring factions of nobility, and situates them brilliantly in a science fiction world of nanomachines and space travel. The result is an entirely original, completely absorbing world populated with a fascinating cast of characters, which includes disembodied AIs, machine-augmented, genetically-modified humans, and a sardonic cutting torch that fancies itself a beast from ancient legend.

Bear's writing is smooth and efficient. She manages to unveil the details of a very complex world without ever making the reader feel lectured. Each character has a unique voice, and since different parts of the book have different protagonists, the varied perspectives give the book variety. The pacing is optimal, never rushed or tedious.

The plot is a mixture of intrigue and adventure that readers will not find lacking. It begins with a strong-willed servant girl being asked to care for a mysterious prisoner who has been captured and mutilated. The prisoner's identity and the nature of the factions who wish to use or destroy her are revealed through the events of the story. Each revelation provides another clue about the true nature of the world the characters occupy and the danger that faces it. The sense of discovery is what makes “Dust” such an enjoyable read, so I won't spoil it with further details.

“Dust” is a must-read for all fans of science fiction, as well as readers of fantasy. Elizabeth Bear is now firmly in place on my mental list of favorite authors, and I am greatly looking forward to reading the sequel, “Chill”.

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The Deep Dark Well by Douglas Dandridge

A Kuiper Belt Miner jumps through a wormhole 40,000 years into future, to an enormous space station that was once the center of a Galactic Civilization. She must discover what has..  
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Sometimes the Dragon Wins by William Walling

The successful deployment of a space elevator system allows China to virtually monopolize international commerce, and U.N. Intelligence Agency Asset Rudy Cateel is blackmailed into..  
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