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Sun, 25 Mar 2012

Fallen Angels, by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn

In my review of the Kindle I mentioned Baen books's enlightened attitude towards Digital Restrictions Management, for the e-books that they sell are blessedly free of DRM, even those of other publishers that they sell through the Baen website. But they're even more enlightened than that. They also give some of their older books away for free in unrestricted digital formats, including this one through the Baen Free Library. The library's manifesto makes it clear that DRM is a solution in search of a real problem, and that giving away selections from the back-catalogue is a very effective way of both selling more books but also of introducing readers to new writers. If on the strength of my Kindle review you then use it to read lots of DRM-free books from Baen and Project Gutenberg, authors and progressive publishers will thank you!

So what's this book like? It's a comedy in which Our Heroes get into and - of course - escape from all kinds of scrapes while being hunted by a parody Green movement in a Luddite dystopia. It is not, as some say, an attack on the Green movement, but only on its more extremist members and on authoritarians in general. But more importantly, it's a panegyric to science fiction readers, personified in the attendees at a sci-fi convention. I don't go to cons myself, and they really don't appeal to me, but I do recognise what it is that makes people go to them: shared enthusiasm for a topic, camaraderie, and most importantly fascinating conversations with interesting people all of whom can teach you something.

It's one of those books that, while I thoroughly enjoyed it, I recognise that it's also trashy. I recommend it for hardened sci-fi readers, but not for mundanes.

Posted at 21:47 by David Cantrell
keywords: baen | books | sci-fi
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