John Barnes – Classic Heinlein Science Fiction

I’ve been talking up a book called Directive 51, and it’s sequel, a post-apocalypse novel, with eerie links to what’s going on now in some areas. Anyway, It was by John Barnes. I had never read him before (he’s SF), and found the book in the uncatalogued section of the library where they shove a few romance, mystery and SF PBs. They do shelve some. Another one of his I found later on the shelf in PB form. Apparently Directive 51 didn’t rate enough to make it to cataloguing or they no longer do any PBs. I read the second novel in the series and was in love. Then I read The Return by Buzz Aldrin and JB. Great story. Next it’s A Million Open Doors, a novel of the Thousand Cultures, which I am almost through. I discovered, after reading all of them, and ascribing what I found to various other things, that his books are very warm-hearted, and cozy. They make you believe in people, in hope. That people are basically good, a few bad apples, and that companions, and comaraderie are an important part of a satisfying life. I have a few more in the stack, and will be reading as many as I can find. I find him a sort of SF Nevil Shute, whose belief in humanity simply poured through his novels. I wish I had “discovered” him many years ago..

Found two more books in the Thousand Cultures series (A MIllion Open Doors), so I will be happy. I figured out, as I finished that book, that what he does is take a group of people, disparate, but basically good, most of them, and take them on a voyage of self-discovery through various ingenious means, and sends them out at the end, new and improved versions, stronger and more understanding of the world and people. In this last one, he never really explained how the culture in which the hero lived worked, but did describe the new culture, but on the hero’s terms, through his eyes and conversations – we discovered how it worked as he did. Then when he went home, (and that’s another story), he saw what made up his culture, and why it was there, and what it gave to others or not. He never tells you things directly, but leads you on a voyage of discovery along with the characters. In the Daybreak series, you had to learn how to adapt, how it happened, why, etc., the same as everyone else. No cheating. The major reviewers kept comparing him to Heinlein. Classic SF, done right. I have no trouble recommending him to anyone who likes SF at all, and even though this one was hard to understand at first, you still “get it.” So far the ones I’ve read start off slowly, since you are working your way through understanding of everything and the world-building, etc. Then suddenly it creeps up on you and it hugs you back.

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3 responses to “John Barnes – Classic Heinlein Science Fiction

  1. Your review makes me want to go out and buy the whole series RIGHT NOW :))
    *When* are you going to go professional, Ms L?? 🙂 I enjoy reading your reviews :))

    • Well thank you – If I had the money, I’d go out and buy everything I could get my hands on by Mr. Barnes. I love when I discover a new and exciting author with a backlog of books to read. New ones are nice too, but you have to wait a year or more for the next one. But older writers, who’ve been around for a few years, have ones already waiting for you. As for going “pro,” I wouldn’t have the faintest idea of how to, and my reviews aren’t that “reviewey.” In other words, I don’t use the standard phrasing, and compliments. I just tell what the book is about and how it made me feel about it. From the heart. But the professionals seem to be all on the same wavelength, going on and on about the prose, the depth of the story, the emotionally charged atmosphere, etc. That’s just not me. I’m straight from the heart because I love to read. But thanks for the encouragement!Kristin

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