Monday, July 16, 2007

S.M. Stirling; "The Sky People"

Mr. Stirling is a prolific writer. His works range from exceptional to wordy and anticlimactic. However the ‘The Sky People’ was an extremely satisfying read; and once again, Mr. Stirling does an excellent job describing an alternate history that is believable and three-dimensional.

The author does fall into his usual habits of creating characters that are based on the common stereotype of their nationality; the hickish swamp-dwelling Cajun, the African-American chick with attitude, the Brit with the stiff upper lip. The author tends to pour his characters into these molds instead of just exploring their own personalities, and the stereotypes can sometimes be tiresome.

The story follows an alternate timeline, where humanity discovers that the planets Venus and Mars are populated with humans, Neanderthals, dinosaurs and all manner of other beasts. It doesn’t take long for Humanity to create a foothold on the planets, and for the rivals America and the USSR to pursue their own agendas in doing so.

The main character, a brash and quick-witted Cajun by the name of Marc Vitrac, is embroiled in a heroic rescue effort that takes him deep into the wilds of Venus, and into a war between the Venus native humans, and their Neanderthal enemies. Marc faces a powerful alien intelligence, an army of cavemen armed with Kalashnikovs, the untamed, dangerous wilderness of Venus, and the captivating eyes of a beautiful Shamaness.

This book is an easy read. It’s hard to put down, and once you do, you spend the day hearing that little voice in the back of your head compelling you to find out what’s going to happen next. Despite some similarities to his other works, it is a singular story, with incredible visuals and a wonderful flow. Odyssey Reviews gives ‘The Sky People’ a four and a half medallion rating, and recommends it to anyone who enjoys a good Science Fiction/Alternate History read. Odyssey Reviews also recommends you seek out other titles by this author, including “Dies the Fire” and “Conquistador”.

Publisher: Tor Books (November 14, 2006)
ISBN: 0765314886
Author: S.M. Stirling

(This is a general review, not from an author-submission)