I recently read a blog post by Charlie Stross where he was discussing sci-fi cliches. Unfortunately, Sean O’Brien manages to draw on a fair number of them in Beltrunner. It is set in the future, focusing on an independent asteroid miner, Col, and a life changing discovery he makes on a prospecting mission but the story is more fantasy than science. I didn’t develop a soft spot for any of the characters and the writing, while happily propelling the story along, didn’t make my imagination dance.
It reminded me of some of the science fiction I read as a child and young teenager. I wonder if one or two of the scenes could have been toned down to make it fit that kind of audience? I have a feeling that, if I hadn’t read a lot of sci-fi since, and a certain amount of science, I might have been more easily satisfied? It wasn’t a bad story and, if I’d picked it up from the library rather than getting a review copy I’m sure I’d still have finished it – not a particularly high bar but there have been a few books that haven’t made it.
Judging from the other reviews I’ve read, many people like it so perhaps I’m being too picky but I’m afraid I won’t be rushing to see if the untied thread at the end of the belt leads to a sequel.