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Mistress of Molecules by Gerald M Weinberg

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Mistress of Molecules

Mistress of Molecules is the first eBook I have reviewed on my Kindle as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme. I was rather disappointed with it as a Sci-Fi novel and then, about two thirds of the way through, it struck me that it is not really science fiction so much as superhero fiction.

It certainly has elements of sci-fi: humans living on alien planets, using alien technology and doing science. However the science, especially that effortlessly carried out by the Mistress of Molecules herself, Libra, is sufficiently advanced to be indistinguishable from magic. It doesn’t require the reader to follow any detailed explanation of how things work; one just has to accept that another gifted scientist, of the calibre of Reed Richards or Victor von Doom, is at work.

Once I got that preconception out of the way, I was able to stop measuring it by the yard stick I had initially taken up and just enjoy the story, which brings together Libra and Andre (who, viewed as a superhero, fits another recognisable archetype) with a little help from the beneficent Zgaarid and despite the best efforts of the dark parody of the church that blights both their homeworlds.

I still found the style of writing plain rather than evocative and struggled with the choice to intertwine two stories, each told from different first person perspectives with a few chapters developing the story in the third person. That served to make each story feel more detached, certainly until the point when the protagonists meet. However, while not quite soaring with the eagles it isn’t dribbling through sewers with the rats either and I give this a respectable 3 / 5 as a decent piece of superhero pulp fiction.

31 December, 2010 by Wulf Forrester-BarkerBook Review

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