Discussion:
A Talent for War - Jack McDevitt
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Default User
2018-08-27 01:09:01 UTC
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The mention of McDevitt's novel The Hercules Text had me checking the
library's e-books to see if they had it. They didn't, but they did have
the first book in the Alex Benedict/Chase Kolpath series, A Talent for
War. I had missed that previously.

McDevitt's far-future books sometimes get a ribbing for being a little
too familiar. Even though 9000 years in our future, with humanity
spread over a number of systems, things like they'd be pretty
comfortable for most current US citizens. We'd probably more at home in
one of those cities than modern-day New Delhi.

This book begins with the disappearance of a passenger ship, the
Capella, that never came out of instellar jump, an event that happens
on occasion. On that is Alex's uncle Gabe, an archeologist. This is an
important plot point in later books.

When Alex became a dealer in artifacts, he and Gab became estranged.
Despite that, Alex finds himself the sole heir to Gabe's estate. Alex
becomes obsessed with finding out what the mysterious mission that Gabe
was setting out on.

I enjoy these kind of stories, so in spite of the flaws in the books I
have liked the Alex/Chase books quite a bit.

At any rate, it's interesting for me to read this as a prequel (even
though not of course). The initial meeting of Alex and Chase wasa bit
contentious. She was unimpressed by him and is mainly looking to get
paid for the work she's performed for Gabe. This helps set off Alex's
quest. Gabe was a pilot himself, so why did hire Chase and where were
they going that he needed a pilot. She doesn't know.

Compared to later books, this one has been somewhat moody and
philosophical. There's a lot about the war with the "Mutes" (as
telepaths, they have no spoken language), the only other intelligent
species around. I expect the action to pick up.


Brian
Dan Swartzendruber
2018-08-27 02:50:30 UTC
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My POV on the 'too much like the 20th century (21st now)' issue: I don't
mind. I get irritated with books where I have to figure out how to
pronounce some funky language, and read about characters I can't relate
to. YMMV of course...
Default User
2018-08-27 05:17:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Swartzendruber
My POV on the 'too much like the 20th century (21st now)' issue: I
don't mind. I get irritated with books where I have to figure out
how to pronounce some funky language, and read about characters I
can't relate to. YMMV of course...
It's not horrible, just amusing sometimes. Once in this book Alex is
back where he used to live with Gabe and muses about the parks,
athletic fields, hardware stores . . . I means, is the year 11000, or
1950?


Brian
James Nicoll
2018-08-27 13:34:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Default User
Post by Dan Swartzendruber
My POV on the 'too much like the 20th century (21st now)' issue: I
don't mind. I get irritated with books where I have to figure out
how to pronounce some funky language, and read about characters I
can't relate to. YMMV of course...
It's not horrible, just amusing sometimes. Once in this book Alex is
back where he used to live with Gabe and muses about the parks,
athletic fields, hardware stores . . . I means, is the year 11000, or
1950?
No soda fountains?
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Default User
2018-08-27 17:09:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Default User
It's not horrible, just amusing sometimes. Once in this book Alex is
back where he used to live with Gabe and muses about the parks,
athletic fields, hardware stores . . . I means, is the year 11000,
or 1950?
No soda fountains?
Not so far anyway.


Brian
Kevrob
2018-08-27 17:13:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Default User
Post by Dan Swartzendruber
My POV on the 'too much like the 20th century (21st now)' issue: I
don't mind. I get irritated with books where I have to figure out
how to pronounce some funky language, and read about characters I
can't relate to. YMMV of course...
It's not horrible, just amusing sometimes. Once in this book Alex is
back where he used to live with Gabe and muses about the parks,
athletic fields, hardware stores . . . I means, is the year 11000, or
1950?
No soda fountains?
Maybe everyone has a SodaStream at home?

The mark of a truly great intergalactic civilization should
be the ability to get an authentic egg cream, no matter where
in the universe you are. :)

Or, excuse me, Dr A, a "chocolate soda."

https://tinyurl.com/Asimov-egg-cream

https://books.google.com/books?id=mATFyeVI7IUC&pg=PT77&lpg=PT77&dq=isaac+asimov+egg+cream&source=bl&ots=ZZv6-iQZwH&sig=Trr7FK6SQMT6glZVfmogUqEOkGg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj0vtr63I3dAhUkUt8KHSd-BgsQ6AEwC3oECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=isaac%20asimov%20egg%20cream&f=false

I can get Fox's U-Bet syrup at local grocery stores, so, I
can approximate one.

Kevin R
Robert Carnegie
2018-08-27 21:25:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Default User
Post by Dan Swartzendruber
My POV on the 'too much like the 20th century (21st now)' issue: I
don't mind. I get irritated with books where I have to figure out
how to pronounce some funky language, and read about characters I
can't relate to. YMMV of course...
It's not horrible, just amusing sometimes. Once in this book Alex is
back where he used to live with Gabe and muses about the parks,
athletic fields, hardware stores . . . I means, is the year 11000, or
1950?
With or without segregation?
Default User
2018-08-29 00:46:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Default User
The mention of McDevitt's novel The Hercules Text had me checking the
library's e-books to see if they had it. They didn't, but they did
have the first book in the Alex Benedict/Chase Kolpath series, A
Talent for War. I had missed that previously.
I was inordinately pleased to see, at somewhere past the halfway point,
the first of many times in the series that a sabotaged “skimmer” almost
kills Chase.


Brian
Default User
2018-08-29 21:10:56 UTC
Permalink
At one point in the book, Chase and Alex have a physical relationship.
My recollection of subsequent books is that they are platonic partners
in the artifact business. Do I misremember, or was this a one-time
thing?


Brian
Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-08-29 21:29:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Default User
At one point in the book, Chase and Alex have a physical
relationship. My recollection of subsequent books is that they
are platonic partners in the artifact business. Do I
misremember, or was this a one-time thing?
That's my memory, too, but it's been quite a while.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Default User
2018-08-29 23:40:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Default User
At one point in the book, Chase and Alex have a physical
relationship. My recollection of subsequent books is that they
are platonic partners in the artifact business. Do I
misremember, or was this a one-time thing?
That's my memory, too, but it's been quite a while.
Yeah, that’s the problem. I see that the library has e-books for
Polaris and Seeker, the ones right after this. I might grab those and
skim through.


Brian

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