Sunday, March 27, 2011

Diving the Wreck

I just finished reading Diving the Wreck, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. This is a novel that grew out of a couple of Reader's Choice Award-winning novellas published in Asimov's. I liked it fine. It's about a woman (called only 'Boss') who dives wrecked spaceships, largely for historical interest. The book is really focussed on the dangers of those dives, playing up the tension pretty effectively. This is not science fiction where people happily don spacesuits and whip about the place safe and secure -- oxygen is scarce, suits rip easily, and a single mistake can cost you your life.

The writing is straightforward, which makes the book easy to read. I also liked Boss' story arc. She spends time throughout examining her own motivations and mistakes, in a way that makes her come across as very capable, but completely believable. Maybe not likeable, but admirable.

The book, I feel, is an excellent demonstration of an author keeping her promises. For example, Rusch makes it very clear that diving wrecks is dangerous, that people can die. And then people do. That's satisfying, but it also means (at least in this case) that there wasn't any point where the book particularly surprised me.

You could do far worse than pick up Diving the Wreck, but it probably won't change your world. Sometimes, though, that's exactly the sort of novel you're looking for.

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